April 17, 2024

Cable Advertising Helps Time Warner Top Forecast

Time Warner, the media company, posted better-than-expected quarterly results on Wednesday, with revenue rising 6 percent alongside a surge in advertising sales at its cable TV networks.

Time Warner, which owns cable networks like CNN and TBS, as well as magazines and a movie studio, is the latest media company to benefit from the strength of the advertising market. CBS, Viacom and Discovery Communications have all reported exceptionally strong results this quarter.

“I love the advertising numbers,” said Laura Martin, an analyst with Needham Capital. “It was an excellent number — really, they did a good job.”

For the first quarter, Time Warner reported net income of $651 million, or 59 cents a share. This compared with net income of $725 million, or 62 cents a share, in the quarter a year ago.

First-quarter adjusted earnings of 58 cents a share came in 2 cents above analyst expectations.

The decline in profit was largely because of higher programming costs, specifically those related to its deal with CBS to share coverage of the NCAA basketball tournament, which carries costly rights fees.

But the flip side is that the deal helped drive a big jump in advertising sales at its cable networks at a time when corporations appear willing to spend more on national campaigns, particularly when it comes to so-called event programming.

Overall revenue rose 6 percent to $6.7 billion, the media company said. Analysts had expected the New York company to post revenue of $6.44 billion, according to Thomson Reuters.

Stronger TV ad sales were the major contributor to revenue growth. At its cable networks, ad sales rose by 48 percent.

In its movie division, revenue dropped 3 percent to $2.6 billion, partly due to several big hits that came out during the quarter a year ago, including “Sherlock Holmes” and “The Blind Side.”

In publishing, home to Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated, revenue was basically steady at $798 million.

The company also repeated earlier forecasts that its 2011 earnings would be up from those in 2010 by “the low teens” in percentage growth.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=af4ae9fc2511f9e0ead38e7fdca1e2fc

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