It's a name most consumers know but few investors consider owning, as evidenced by the stock's 40% pullback over the course of the past 12 months. That may be about to change, however, for media and entertainment giant Paramount Global (PARA -0.95%). Bank of America (BofA) recently upped its opinion and price target on PARA shares, pointing out something the rest of the analyst community has been too timid to say up until this point.

Now that BofA has broken the ice, other banks' equity research arms can comfortably echo the idea.

Unappreciated, underestimated, and undervalued assets

Let's face it. Most upgrades and downgrades aren't exactly bold calls. Since it's risky for analysts to end up being alone when they're wrong, they often just echo the prevailing opinion of a stock.

That's not the case with Bank of America's most recent call on Paramount Global. While the current consensus stance on Paramount shares is slightly below a hold, BofA analyst Jessica Reif Ehrlich now deems PARA a buy, upping the bank's previous neutral rating. In conjunction with the upgrade, BofA raised its per-share price target on Paramount shares from $24 to Wall Street's highest target of $32.

The basis for her bullish call? Ehrlich explains, "It is our view that PARA has a unique collection of assets that would generate significant buyer interest if ever put up for sale -- either in pieces or whole."

She's 100% right even if few other analysts are saying it.

Paramount isn't holding itself up for sale, mind you. Suitors are sniffing around, though. The idea of a sale of its Showtime property was recently broached by a couple of former Showtime executives, and the prospect of a sale of its BET and VH1 cable channels is also reportedly on the table.

Paramount's real powerhouse operations, however, are its television and movie studio, its premium-streaming service Paramount+, and its free-to-watch steaming TV platform PlutoTV. The studio's intellectual property includes the Top Gun movie franchise, Star Trek, and hit television show Yellowstone, just to name a few. Meanwhile, almost 56 million people are paying for access to Paramount+, and PlutoTV boasts nearly 79 million monthly viewers, making it one of the market's most-watched, ad-supported video-on-demand services. Oh, and Paramount owns the CBS network as well.

These aren't just media brands; they're among the leaders in each of their respective business categories. Moreover, they're all under one roof, giving the parent company lots of leverage no matter how it wants to use it.

Built to defy the doubters

Paramount's management is doing everything right with these assets, too. For instance, it's positioning itself with free and premium streaming operations to offset the slow demise of cable television. At the same time, it's making new movies that will bolster the entire company. As CFO Naveen Chopra explained last year, "All these number one films are currently, or will be, available on Paramount+, which means that they generate additional returns through our streaming service on top of what they already earned in theaters." The comment suggests the company's separate arms are working together instead of competing with one another.

The trick to getting the stock moving higher? Getting the market -- and analysts in particular -- on board Bank of America's train and focused on what Jessica Reif Ehrlich just said. That is, the collective value of Paramount's pieces isn't fully reflected in the stock's current price.

It's admittedly easier said than done. Worries about the waning advertising market, doubts that Paramount will ever be able to make headway against streaming players like Netflix or Walt Disney, or pessimism that the company can simultaneously raise prices while culling content expenses are all legitimate concerns voiced by the analyst community.

Analysts have been growing increasingly bearish on Paramount, ignoring its plausible spending and expansion plans.

Data source: Thomson Reuters. Chart by author.

The prevailing bearish opinions have been in place since early 2022, and during this time, Paramount+ has taken the lead as the streaming market's fastest-growing service and has made clear that its content spending and streaming losses will peak in 2023. BofA's Ehrlich is simply looking ahead, while most other analysts and investors are still looking back. Actual results could finally force these doubters into changing their minds.

Buy Paramount before anyone else connects the dots

Given its recent past and near-term plans, Paramount can remain profitable and continue growing in the foreseeable future. That's not really in question.

Paramount Global's earnings should start to grow again next year, driven by continues revenue growth.

Data source: Thomson Reuters. Chart by author.

The bigger question here (and Ehrlich's key point) is one of valuation; Paramount's current valuation doesn't make sense.

As of the latest look, the stock's priced at less than 13 times last year's actual and next year's projected earnings. In other words, Paramount drove more than $30 billion in revenue last year, turning about a tenth of it into operating income, and that was a down year for profits! Even factoring in nearly $16 billion worth of long-term debt, the company's current market cap of $14 billion still seems oddly low. That's especially true in light of its streaming potential, the consistent success of its production studios, and its prospective market value in the event of a sale.

Bottom line? Listen to Bank of America's Ehrlich and step into this underestimated company while it's still underestimated; that won't remain the case forever. Indeed, 2023 may well be the year more investors start to take notice of the balanced growth taking shape here. Moreover, this could be the year the rest of the analyst community finally changes its tune to a bullish one...now that BofA has stuck its neck out first.