Time Warner’s Turner TV unit had slight improvements in advertising revenues and bigger double-digit percentage hikes from affiliate fees in the fourth quarter.
Turner witnessed a 2% hike in ad revenues as a result of Major League Baseball post-season games, NBA and international TV networks -- in line with expectations. Bigger gains were had with affiliate fees -- up 14%. Overall, Turner revenues for the period climbed 10% to $3.1 billion.
Looking forward, the company estimates slight mid-single-digit percentage gains for advertising in the first quarter -- far above the industry consensus, which estimates lower results.
Todd Juenger, media analyst for Bernstein Research, says: “First-quarter scatter pricing is up high-single [percentages], but versus the upfront is not particularly strong.”
He says the fourth-quarter period witnessed Turner’s total 18-49 viewership among its networks down 8%, but that TNT -- where its sports programming runs -- grew 6%.
Time Warner’s pay TV unit HBO posted 13% revenue gain to $1.7 billion. HBO subscribers fees grew 16%, better than industry estimates.
Warner Bros. revenue increased 5% to $4.1 billion, primarily reflecting higher game revenues, including “Middle-Earth: Shadow of War.” This was partially offset by lower theatrical revenues.
Time Warner’s revenue grew 9% to $8.6 billion, with net income at $1.4 billion from $293 million in the 2016’s fourth-quarter period.
Finally, Time Warner’s acquisition by AT&T is still under judicial review; a court date is set for late March.