HBO Growth Boosts Time Warner Revenue

Earnings Reuters

Time Warner Inc reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and profit, helped by higher subscription fees for channels offered by its Turner Broadcasting and Home Box Office businesses.

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Shares of the company, which also raised its adjusted profit growth forecast for 2014, rose as much as 4 percent in early trading.

Revenue from Turner Broadcasting, the operator of channels such as CNN, TBS and TNT, rose 4.6 percent in the third quarter, mainly due to price increases in the United States.

The unit accounted for more than one-third of the company's total revenue.

Revenue from the Home Box Office unit, which runs the successful crime show "True Detective," rose 10 percent and accounted for about 21 percent of Time Warner's total revenue.

Warner Bros, the company's movie and TV studio unit, reported a 3 percent rise in revenue, helped by subscription video-on-demand revenue from its television products.

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Growth at the unit, the company's biggest revenue generator, was partially offset by weaker performance of movies such as "The Conjuring" and "Pacific Rim."

"If you go to an operating income breakdown, the drivers are Turner and HBO more so than Warner Bros," Barrington Research analyst James Goss told Reuters. "Warner Bros is more of a facilitator."

Time Warner said last month that HBO would launch a standalone online streaming service next year to make hit shows such as "Game of Thrones" available to people who do not subscribe to cable television.

"... While the announcement about HBO over-the-top added a little pizazz and got people thinking about what can be, that's not going to be the driver," Goss said.

Warner Bros said on Tuesday it would cut about 1,000 jobs from its global workforce as part of a previously announced cost-cutting initiative.

HBO is also preparing to lay off about 7 percent of its 2,400 employees.

Time Warner in July rebuffed an $80-billion takeover offer from Twenty-First Century Fox Inc.

Time Warner raised its percentage growth forecast for full-year adjusted profit to high teens from low teens.

Time Warner based its forecast on 2013 adjusted earnings of $3.51 per share.

Analysts on average are expecting a profit of $4.01 per share for 2014, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income attributable to common shareholders fell to $967 million, or $1.11 per share, in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 from $1.18 billion, or $1.26 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.22 per share.

Total revenue rose 3.3 percent to $6.24 billion.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 94 cents per share and revenue of $6.16 billion.

Time Warner's shares were up 3 percent at $77.26 on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday. (Reporting by Abhirup Roy in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Kirti Pandey)