Time Warner 3Q earnings beat Street, revenue short

Friday, November 2, 2012, Vol. 36, No. 44

NEW YORK (AP) — Time Warner said Wednesday that its third-quarter earnings grew 2 percent, as a strong performance in its cable television channels offset declines in the Warner Bros. movie business following the final Harry Potter movie last summer.

Net income was $838 million, or 86 cents per share, higher than the 82 cents expected by analysts surveyed by FactSet. That compares with $822 million, or 78 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 3 percent to $6.84 billion, short of the $6.89 billion expected.

Television networks such as HBO and TBS saw a 7 percent growth in the fees paid by cable and satellite distributors to carry the channels. Advertising revenue fell 1 percent at the networks, partly because of the timing of certain sports events on its channels.

The Warner Bros. studio had a strong quarter with the release in theaters of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." But that wasn't enough to match the comparison period in 2011, which benefited from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" and license fees for "The Big Bang Theory" and "Friends" in reruns. The recent quarter saw an increase in video-on-demand revenue.

At the Time Inc. publishing business, revenue fell 6 percent as the company made less money from newsstand sales and advertising.

Time Warner Inc. is also reaffirming its full-year outlook. It said percentage growth in adjusted diluted net income will be in the low double digits above the $2.89 last year. The company said "Argo" was doing well in theaters this quarter and should get a boost from the long-awaited launch of "The Hobbit" movies next month.

Its shares finished at $43.11 on Tuesday. That is down 7.5 percent from its 52-week high of $46.59 on Oct. 9. Its shares traded as low as $32.09 last November.