For the second day in a row, a major media company says its TV operations helped make up for losses at its studio operations.
Time Warner says its fourth-quarter 2012 revenues were essentially flat at $8.2 billion -- with TV networks gaining 5% to $3.7 billion, while filmed entertainment dropped 4% to $3.7 billion. (Walt Disney reported steady TV financials versus lower film entertainment results on Tuesday).
For TV, Time Warner says there was a 3% gain in advertising revenues (or $38 million) and a 7% hike in subscription fees ($144 million.). Higher ad revenues came from domestic TV networks' higher program pricing, an increase in the number of NBA games and higher ratings at CNN, due to the 2012 U.S. presidential election.
Stronger subscription revenues came from higher rates overall, as well as an increase in domestic subscribers at HBO and international growth, partially offset by the negative effect of foreign-currency exchange rates.
Time Warner's Warner Bros. studio operations had difficult comparisons to the year-ago period, when the studio had the home entertainment release of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2" and from the video game release of "Batman: Arkham City." On the plus side, Time Warner did well with the theatrical release of "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey" and "Argo."
Publishing continued to decline, including a 4% or $24 million reduction in ad revenues. Overall revenue sank 7% to $967 million from $1.04 billion.
Overall, Time Warner's fourth-quarter revenues were $8.16 billion, virtually the same as a year ago when it was $8.19 billion. Net income was up 51% to $1.17 billion.
Investors seem to like the news. Time Warner's stock was up 4.5% to $52.21 in midday trading.