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Prior to Jon Stewart’s last show, Viacom’s stock is getting crushed

Jon StewartJon Stewart
Jon StewartPhotograph by Martin Crook

On the day its star Jon Stewart is set to sign off from the Daily Show after a decade and a half on Comedy Central, the owner of the network is seeing its stock plunge.

Shares of Viacom slipped 7% on Wednesday, and fell another 8% Thursday to $43.45 at midday. Earlier in the day, shares slipped as low as $39.50.

On Wednesday investors fled media stocks as shares of Viacom, Time Warner, 21st Century Fox, and CBS slipped. The nosedive seemed to follow Disney’s admission that it’s seen subscriber losses at ESPN, which triggered wider fears about consumers abandoning cable bundles for streaming sites like Netflix.

Viacom’s continued slide on Thursday comes after the company reported lackluster third quarter earnings. The media company’s earnings met analysts’ expectations, but revenue slipped 11% to $3 billion in the three months ending June 30. The company’s results were dragged down by disappointing revenue from the company’s film business; it sank 44% to $479 million, mainly because Viacom failed to release a major movie in the quarter. Fourth quarter film revenues are expected to improve with the release of Terminator: Genisys and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

Thursday would have represented a blow to Viacom regardless of its earnings performance as Jon Stewart ends his 16-year run on Viacom’s Comedy Channel on Thursday evening. When the comedian announced his pending departure in February, the company took a $350 million hit.