The stock market has seen a pattern emerge lately. On many days, the Nasdaq Composite (^IXIC -1.09%) is lagging the rest of the market. That was the case on Friday, as the Nasdaq was down about 1% at 12:45 p.m. EST even as other benchmarks were modestly higher on the day.

Many of the favorite tech stocks among investors were down on Friday, and that's helping to lead the Nasdaq lower. However, there's a surprising area of the market that's actually doing well, and it's boosting the prospects for Nasdaq stocks in that industry. Media stocks are rising on optimistic outlooks, and two in particular are seeing big gains.

ViacomCBS can't be stopped

Shares of ViacomCBS (PARA 1.38%) were up another 9% on Friday near midday. That sent the media giant to another record high, and it continued a long string of gains for the stock.

Old-style television with static and antenna on wood shelf with wood paneling behind.

Image source: Getty Images.

Streaming television has been all the rage lately, and companies that already have an impressive store of valuable content are finding plenty of interest from Wall Street. ViacomCBS announced earlier this year that it would join other television and movie production companies in offering a streaming service of its own. Paramount+ will have roughly 30,000 television episodes in its library, as well as 2,500 movies, 1,000 live sporting events, and various news programs. ViacomCBS will start out charging $9.99 a month for a premium version of the service, while ad-supported subscriptions will carry a cheaper $4.99 monthly rate.

Yet some might think the media company's stock has come too far too fast. Shares are now trading more than 30% above where they were in 2017, before worries about television streaming started to eat heavily into cable revenue. For now, though, momentum investors seem to have the upper hand.

Discovering popping shares

Elsewhere in the industry, shares of Discovery Communications (DISCA) rose 5% on Friday. Like ViacomCBS, Discovery has seen its stock rise sharply so far in 2021, with shares having more than doubled in just over two months.

Discovery is the company behind popular networks like Animal Planet, HGTV, TLC, the Travel Channel, and its namesake channel. It also recently joined the streaming TV melee, with its Discovery+ service offering full access to its range of content.

Discovery+ has gotten off to a strong start. Recently, the company said it had brought in 12 million viewers in its first two months, and while that might seem small compared to the larger audiences that some longer-established streaming TV services now have, Discovery+ has ramped up more quickly than most of its competitors did at this stage in their development.

Valuations reflect extremely high hopes for Discovery+, however. Discovery Communications stock is now 50% above the company's previous all-time highs in the early 2010s. Investors are expecting a smooth and more highly profitable shift from a cable-reliant business model to having its own distribution model. Whether that plays out will take longer to see, but shareholders have extremely high confidence right now.

Banking on media

The media industry is going through a major shift, and it'll be interesting to see how it plays out. If companies like Discovery and ViacomCBS can get the big wins shareholders expect, then there could be more share-price gains down the road.