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Why Movie Theater Stocks Are Down, but 1 TV Stock Is Up Today

By Rich Smith - Mar 17, 2020 at 12:19PM

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AMC and Cinemark shares tumble on cinema closures, but Central European Media is thriving.

What happened

If it's Tuesday, and the coronavirus is in the news, stocks must be down. But for a change this morning, not all stocks are down.

On the one hand, at 10:55 a.m. EDT on Tuesday, we find movie chain operator Cinemark Holdings (CNK 4.45%) and its rival AMC Entertainment Holdings (AMC 14.34%) down 22% and 21.5%, respectively. But on the other hand, Central European Media Enterprises (CETV) is up 26.7%.

Red arrow swoops up and blue arrow swoops down

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Early this morning, AMC announced that it will close all U.S. locations for 6 to 12 weeks beginning today in an effort to slow the roll of the novel coronavirus. Rival operator Regal announced a similar move Monday night. Both companies also confirmed that they will suspend charges on customers who have enrolled in their movie subscription plans, AMC Stubs A-List and Regal Unlimited.  

This means the chains forgo ticket and concessions revenue, as well as the recurring revenue streams from subscriptions that they've been feuding over ever since MoviePass forced them to offer subscriptions.

At this hour, smaller cinema chain Cinemark hasn't followed suit, but with these two chains leading the way, the chances are greater than 50-50 that it will do so soon.  

Now what

Thus, the revenue bonanza that movie theaters might have expected to reap from bored students being sent home from shuttered schools seems unlikely to materialize. Instead, these companies will face an even worse fate than their restaurant peers, since there's no "take-out" or "home delivery" for movies.

But as shares of American movie chains plummet, shares of Central European Media Enterprises are rising today. The company broadcasts on 30 television channels spread across Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Romania, the Slovak Republic, and Slovenia, and operates the Voyo streaming service. So investors (in Europe at least) have just figured out that when movie theaters close, people will find their entertainment on TV and streaming services instead.

Good news for Central European Media Enterprises stock, and perhaps for a few streaming providers here in the U.S. as well.

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Stocks Mentioned

Cinemark Holdings, Inc. Stock Quote
Cinemark Holdings, Inc.
CNK
$15.72 (4.45%) $0.67
Central European Media Enterprises Ltd. Stock Quote
Central European Media Enterprises Ltd.
CETV
AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc. Stock Quote
AMC Entertainment Holdings, Inc.
AMC
$11.88 (14.34%) $1.49

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