Media advertising at the Turner networks slipped in the third quarter, with the TV group estimating a slight turnaround in the fourth quarter.
The Time Warner unit said worldwide advertising revenue was down 3% -- $33 million -- due to lower viewing impressions for some of its U.S. domestic networks. Looking at just domestic networks, Pivotal Research Group estimates advertising was down 4%.
Turner expects low-single-digit percentage ad revenue gains in the current fourth quarter coming from double-digit percentage increases on CPMs, the cost per thousand viewers, in the fourth-quarter scatter market.
Turner’s subscription revenues more than made up for the ad declines, rising 13%. But the company added that this was offset by a decline in U.S. domestic subscribers.
Overall, Turner revenues improved 6% to $2.8 billion in the period.
“Generally, the network group has managed to secure higher affiliate fees in support of their investments in sports content, while advertising is generally struggling. Large advertisers that dominate national TV in the United States are curtailing their overall media expenditures,” wrote Brian Wieser, senior research analyst of Pivotal.
Sister cable network group HBO witnessed revenue up 13% to $1.61 billion, with a 12% increase in subscription revenues.
Warner Bros. gained 2% in revenue to $3.5 billion from higher theatrical and video games revenues, offset by lower television revenues.
Time Warner revenues grew 6%, with net income rising 17.7% to $1.4 billion. The company expects its merger with AT&T to close by the year's end.