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Turner, HBO drive Time Warner revenue beat

Posted by: Admin | Posted on: April 29th, 2015 | 0 Comments

(Reuters) – Time Warner Inc (TWX.N) reported a better-than-expected 4.8 percent rise in first-quarter revenue, boosted by its Turner division and Home Box Office network.

Shares of the company, whose profit also beat expectations, rose about 2 percent in premarket trading.

Revenue at Turner, which owns channels such as CNN, TNT and Cartoon Network as well as NCAA.Com, rose 4.5 percent in the quarter, helped by NCAA Division I men’s basketball championship tournament and growth in Turner’s news businesses.

Revenue at HBO, whose popular shows include hit medieval fantasy series “Game of Thrones”, increased 4.4 percent.

HBO’s standalone streaming service, HBO Now, launched on Apple Inc’s (AAPL.O) devices this month, in time for the season premiere of “Game of Thrones”, reaching millions of viewers who do not subscribe to pay TV.

Time Warner said the fifth season premiere of “Game of Thrones” was watched by a total of 18.1 million people in its first two weeks, over 1 million more than the viewership for the prior season’s first episode.

Turner and HBO together account for more than half of Time Warner’s total revenue.

Time Warner last year spun off its publishing business Time Inc (TIME.N) to focus on its more profitable broadcasting businesses.

Revenue in the company’s Warner Bros. Studio business rose 4.3 percent, helped mainly by higher licensing revenue from subscription video-on-demand sale of “Friends” and the box-office success of “American Sniper”.

The company’s net income, however, fell to $970 million, or $1.15 per share, in the quarter ended March 31, from $1.29 billion, or $1.42 per share, a year earlier.

Net income was hurt due to an increase in marketing costs primarily related to the launch of HBO NOW and higher spending on original programming.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.19 per share from continuing operations.

Revenue rose to $7.13 billion from $6.80 billion.

Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.09 per share and revenue of $7.0 billion.

(Reporting by Sai Sachin R and Lehar Maan in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

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