Time Warner’s Turner unit witnessed a 9% rise in advertising in the first quarter, mainly due to NCAA Basketball.
The NCAA’ Final Four games pulled in 5% of its overall advertising revenues for the period.
Turner revenue improved 8% (up $256 million) to $3.3 billion. Subscription revenues were 8% higher, adding $125 million. Content revenues grew 9% (up $18 million).
At the same time, operating income declined 7% to $1.1 billion, as a result of higher programming and marketing expenses. Programming costs were up 21%, driven by the NCAA Tournament Final Four games and higher overall costs at Turner’s U.S. entertainment networks.
HBO had 3% higher revenues to $1.6 billion. Subscription revenues grew 10%, with content revenues down 29%.
Warner Bros. was 4% lower to $3.2 billion, primarily due to lower television and theatrical revenues. A year before, in the same period, the movie studio released “Kong: Skull Island” and “The Lego Batman Movie.” Its operating income hit $322 million.
Time Warner revenues were up 3% to $8 billion, with net income up 15% to $1.6 billion. Mid-day trading of Time Warner stock was down 1.7% to $94.65.
AT&T’s $85 billion deal to buy Time Warner is still in litigation, given a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit.