If you're an income investor, you're probably used to a steady diet of utilities and real estate investment trusts. Maybe you'll even pepper your portfolio with an occasional pharmaceuticals giant or a financial services provider.
What if I were to tell you that you can find some surprisingly head-turning yields in unlikely areas like wrestling mats, roller coasters, and even adult films?
Yes -- in an effort to return money to their investors, unusual companies are becoming aggressive about payout policies. Let me go over a few unlikely companies generating the fattest of yields.
New Frontier Media
Nothing spins the moral compass like pornography, so there's a chance that you may balk at learning that smut can pay. As a producer and distributor of adult entertainment, New Frontier Media delivers erotica through pay-per-view cable TV and websites.
Despite the industry's volatile ways and the growing popularity of free amateur alternatives, New Frontier remains consistently profitable. That should keep the dividend from disrobing in the near term.
Even social networking can pay. United Online owns Classmates.com, the original campus-driven reunion site. Obviously Classmates is no Facebook. It took a wrong turn, hoping to cash in by selling premium memberships for folks looking to reestablish contact with their fellow alums instead of providing a free, wide open platform for current classmates like Facebook.
There is more to United Online than Classmates. The company's bread-and-butter business is providing Internet access through Juno and NetZero. That isn't much of a growth industry these days, but United Online also runs MyPoints.com, a popular and profitable customer loyalty network where Internet users receive gift card rebates by shopping through its portal and generating sponsor leads.
Growth at the company's Classmates and MyPoints subsidiaries helped offset a logical decline in the fading access business. It had to postpone the IPO spinoff of its growing properties back in December given the weak market, but that is always a potential catalyst for the future. Patient investors can enjoy the fat $0.20-a-share quarterly dividends until that day arrives.
World Wrestling Entertainment
If the antics of Vince McMahon's grapplers seem a little over the top, how about a yield that tags in at nearly 8%?
Yes, the WWE is still popular. This past weekend's WrestleMania event set attendance and ticket sales records. That's just part of the revenue mix, as the wrestling entertainment company relies on television, merchandising, and video games for gobs of no-holds-barred profitability.
It's all coming together, as a healthy close to 2007 led to the company hiking its quarterly dividend by 50% to $0.36 a share last month. No one can suggest that WWE's appeal will be eternal, but the McMahon family has certainly been able to produce consistent growth for ages now.
You probably think of amusement parks as great places to spend money. Between the turnstile clicks, you know you'll fork over money for snacks, games, and merchandise, and that's after paying for park admission to hit the rides and shows. Regional amusement park operator Cedar Fair also makes sure that its investors are rolling in the pocket change.
The company behind several popular parks -- Cedar Point, Knott's Berry Farm, and Kings Island -- is set up as a partnership, with investors as unit-holders instead of shareholders. The company distributes most of the profits that it doesn't need to spend on adding new attractions, resulting in a yield that may be as high as some of its signature coasters.
Cedar Fair's steady performance made it a recommendation to readers of the Income Investor newsletter service three years ago.
Metal detectors, everywhere
It's hard to find a sector that doesn't have a high yielder or two. Restaurant stocks are tightfisted? Tell that to Star Buffet
You don't have to stick to the basics to be a dividend-collecting shareholder. There's a big world out there, and Income Investor subscribers know it with every new batch of monthly recommendations of high-yielding stocks. A free, 30-day trial offer will let you explore all the newsletter has to offer, especially the appetite to seek out yields in unlikely places like Cedar Fair.
There's nothing wrong with that diet of utility stocks and REITs, but sometimes you're just hungry for something more.