Time Warner 1Q Results Beat Estimates

Time Warner (NYSE:TWX) beat Wall Street’s first-quarter estimates and raised its full-year forecast on surging revenue from the global hit “The Lego Movie” and the popular HBO series “Game of Thrones.”

The New York-based entertainment company said revenue rose 9% to $7.55 billion compared to $6.94 billion a year ago. Analysts had forecast revenue of $6.61 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Time Warner's shares rose 0.4% to $65 in pre-market trading.

Net income from continuing operations rose to $1.29 billion, or $1.42 per share, from $754 million, or 79 cents per share. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 91 cents per share, beating Wall Street estimates of 88 cents per share.

Time Warner’s Warner Bros. studio unit reported operating income of $369 million, up 40%, primarily due to the worldwide success of “The Lego Movie,” which has grossed about $450 million worldwide since it opened in February.

In addition, the popularity of shows like “Game of Thrones” on Time Warner’s premium cable channel HBO has also generated increased revenues.

Licensing paid to Time Warner for its cable channels rose 7% at Turner, which includes CNN and broadcasts of NBA basketball games on TBS, and 8% at HBO, with its full complement of sports, movies and original series.

“We are off to a very strong start in 2014,” CEO Jeff Bewkes said in a statement accompanying Time Warner’s earnings report. “Warner Bros. picked up where it left off after a record-breaking year in 2013, with ‘The Lego Movie’ launching yet another franchise for us.”

Time Warner also updated its 2014 full-year business outlook. Taking into account its scheduled separation from magazine publishing unit Time Inc. in the second quarter, the company said it expects adjusted earnings per share percentage growth “in the low teens,” higher than an earlier forecast of “low double digit” percentage growth.