Restructuring Costs Cut Time Warner Earnings

Time Warner reported lower fourth quarter earnings because of restructuring and programming charges.

Net income was $718 million, or 84 cents a share, down 27% from $983 million, or $1.06 cents a share, a year ago. Excluding programming charges at Turner along with restructuring and severance charges, adjusted EPS would have been $1.14 compared to $1.07 a year ago.

Revenues fell 1% to $7.5 million.

The earnings beat lowered Wall Street expectations while revenues lagged most forecasts. Time Warner also moved to please investors by increasing its quarterly dividend by 10% to 35 cents a share.

Time Warner said that for 2015, it expected adjusted diluted income per common share from continuing operations to be between $4.60 and $4.70. Adjusted earnings per share were $4.15 for 2014, up 18%.

"We had another very successful year in 2014, with solid revenue growth and robust 18% adjusted EPS growth — our sixth consecutive year of at least high teens adjusted EPS growth," CEO Jeff Bewkes said in a statement. "Our financial performance reflects the strength of our position as the world's leading video content company."

At Turner, adjusted operating income rose 5% to $921 million despite $44 million in charges for programming it will stop airing and $26 million in restructuring and severance charges.

Revenue rose 2% to $2.6 billion. Subscription revenues were up 5%, hurt a bit by Turner's carriage dispute with Dish Network. Advertising revenues were down 1%. Ad revenue at Turner's domestic entertainment networks was down because of lower ratings and fewer baseball playoff games. Ad revenues were up at CNN and Turner's international networks.

For HBO fourth quarter operating income declined 4% to $394 million because of higher programming, distribution and marketing costs. Programming costs were up 15%. Revenues rose 6% to $1.3 billion.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.