Time Warner posted higher revenue at its TV networks for the third quarter -- but its film and TV production units' results pulled down overall company's business.
Time Warner's revenues in the quarter sank from $7 billion to to $6.8 billion, with net income slightly up to $838 million from $822 million.
Revenues at its TV networks -- Turner Broadcasting and HBO -- climbed 4% to $3.3 billion. This came from a 7% rise in subscription revenues from HBO. Global advertising sales at Turner networks were slightly lower -- a drop of 1% or $9 million.
U.S. advertising revenues benefitted from growth at Turner’s networks, due to higher pricing. This was offset in part by the timing of certain sports events in the quarter versus a year ago.
The lower results can be attributed to decreases at Turner’s international networks, due to the negative effect of foreign currency exchange rates and the shutdown of Turner’s general entertainment network, Imagine, in India and TNT television operations in Turkey.
Jeff Bewkes, chairman and CEO of Time Warner, touted stronger U.S. ratings for TBS, which is up 35% in prime time for adult 18-49 viewers this quarter. Analysts say this is mostly due to strong viewership from airings of "The Big Bang Theory," produced by Time Warner's Warner Bros. TV unit.
Time Warner's film and TV production business lost ground -- dropping 12% (or $400 million) to $2.9 billion. This came from comparisons with Q3 2011, which included very strong theatrical revenues from "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" and strong television license fees from the off-network reruns of "The Big Bang Theory" and "Friends."
The company says this was somewhat offset by the $1.4 billion in box office business for Warner Bros. during the first 10 months of this year for "The Dark Knight Rises," "Magic Mike" and "Journey 2: The Mysterious Island."
Warner Bros. continues to be a major supplier of programming to the broadcast networks, with 25 prime-time series announced for the 2012–2013 season. Including cable, animated and first-run syndicated series, Warner Bros. is producing nearly 60 programs.
Time Warner's publishing business continued its slow decline, with revenues sinking 6%, or $51 million to $838 million. There was a 6% reduction ($19 million) in subscription revenues and a 5% drop in advertising revenues to $25 million.