Time Warner Ad Sales Up 11%, Cable Revs Rise 5%

Time Warner reported much better cable advertising growth than expected for its third-quarter reporting period.
Ad sales grew 11% or $96 million, while analysts were expecting a 7% hike. At the same time, subscription revenues climbed 4%, a bit lower than the 4.5% expected number. This was a $92 million increase over the third quarter of 2012.

Overall, cable revenues were up 5.5% to $3.5 billion, and operating income grew 20% at $1.5 billion versus $1.2 billion in the third-quarter 2012 period.

Time Warner said its two major dramas on TNT, “Rizzoli & Isles” and “Major Crimes,” rank as the second-best and fourth-best respective original shows on cable among total viewers.

The company’s film and entertainment unit witnessed a 7% decline in revenues to $2.7 billion. Analysts were expecting a smaller drop of 2%. The division had bad comparisons to a year ago, when it had strong box office results from “The Dark Knight Rises.” This period include films such as “We’re the Millers,” “The Conjuring” and “Pacific Rim.” It also brought in lower TV revenue from theatrical films. Operating income sank 6% to $307 million.

Financial results at Time Inc., its publishing business, continued to slip: Revenues were down 2% to $818 million -- about what analysts expected -- resulting from a 4% decline (or $12 million) in subscription revenues and a 2% fall (or $7 million) in advertising revenues. The company says most of the drop in advertising came from non-magazine business, including Web site revenues.

Overall revenues at Time Warner were about the same versus a year ago for the third quarter -- $6.86 billion versus $6.84 billion. Net income grew 44% to $1.18 billion, well above expectations.
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