Time Warner Reports Higher 4th Quarter Earnings

Time Warner reported higher fourth quarter profits, with gains at Turner and HBO, plus a big benefit from tax cuts.

The increases come at AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner is held up by a Justice Dept. lawsuit.

“We remain excited about the proposed merger with AT&T, pending judicial review, and the potential to accelerate our pace of innovation and connect more directly with consumers,” said Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes in a statement.

Fourth quarter net income rose to $1.3 billion, or 1.75 per share, compared to $293 million, or 37 cents a share a year ago.

Related: Netflix Reports Higher Earnings, Sub Growth

Fourth quarter revenues grew 9% to $8.6 billion.

Operating income at Time Warner’s Turner unit increased 22% to $1 billion. Revenue increased 10% to $3.1 billion. Subscription revenue rose 14% and content revenue rose 32%.

Ad revenue rose 2% due to higher revenue from Major League Baseball post-season games and gains at international networks. CNN’s revenue declined compared to last year, when the election boosted ratings and ad sales.

At HBO, fourth quarter operating income increased 13%. Revenue was also up 13% because of a 16% increase in subscription revenue, offset by a 7% drop in content revenue. HBO’s domestic subscribers rose.

Fourth quarter operating income for Warner Bros. decreased 11% to $512 million because of costs associated with television and games products, plus higher restructuring and severance costs. Revenue increased 5% to $4.1 billion. Television licensing revenue rose.

“We had another very successful year in 2017, achieving our financial goals thanks to the great creative and programming excellence across Time Warner,” said Bewkes. “All three of our operating divisions increased revenue and profits while also investing to capitalize on the growing demand for the most creative and compelling content as well as new ways to deliver it to audiences worldwide.”

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.