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Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

Stocks for traditional media networks are hitting record highs, thanks in large part to streaming.

Why it matters: The COVID-19 crisis has taken a toll on the pay-TV industry, but investors feel optimistic that traditional content companies have value in launching their own streaming services, or producing content for others.

The big picture: Companies like ViacomCBS and Discovery that were once showing little or modest signs of growth have hit new highs on Wall Street.

  • ViacomCBS stock has been one of the fastest-growing stocks this year, gaining roughly 146% since Jan. 1. Its stock was plateauing since it started trading on the Nasdaq as a combined company on Dec. 5, 2019. It has experienced big gains since launching its new streaming service Paramount+ in early March.
  • Discovery's stock has grown 156% since it launched its streaming service Discovery+ last December. Prior to its streaming foray, its stock price was also plateauing.

Be smart: Investors in legacy media companies may also be showing some signs of optimism in response to theaters beginning to reopen.

  • Lionsgate, ViacomCBS, Disney and other companies that rely on theater revenue are rallying in response to reports that movie theaters and parks are beginning to open across the country.

Yes, but: Most stocks have experienced unprecedented growth during this crisis, and the gains aren't expected to last forever.

  • Of note, shares in ViacomCBS and Discovery fell Wednesday in response to analyst downgrades after months-long rallies that have carried both companies' stocks to unprecedented highs.

What to watch: There's no question that for now, streaming is so buzzy that Wall Street is willing to reward any company investing in direct-to-consumer services. In time, it will be interesting to see whether investor optimism remains despite the fact that many of these services aren't profitable yet.

Chart: Streaming service subscriber growth over time

Go deeper

Senate Democrats demand answers on FBI's Kavanaugh probe

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Democrats are demanding that the FBI hand over "all records and communications" related to the FBI tip line set up to investigate Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh when he was a nominee in 2018.

Why it matters: The ask comes after the FBI revealed it received more than 4,500 tips about Kavanaugh when he was awaiting Senate confirmation amid sexual assault allegations. Only the most "relevant" of these tips were forwarded to the Trump White House.

Chip relief on the horizon

Illustration: Sarah Grillo

Good news: The worst of the chip supply crunch might be near.

The other side: Here's the bad news... CEOs say chips totally flowing like normal is still a ways out.

Trump ally Tom Barrack pays $250 million bond to get out of jail

Tom Barrack speaking at a symposium in Tokyo in March 2019. Photo: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Real estate investor Tom Barrack paid a federal court a bond of $250 million to get out of jail on Friday while awaiting trial after he was arrested and charged with acting as an unregistered foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates earlier this week, AP reports.

Driving the news: A federal judge also ordered Barrack, a longtime ally of former President Trump and chair of his inaugural committee, to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet at all times and barred him from transferring funds overseas.