Time Warner Bleeding, More Layoffs Coming

arrow downA massive writedown of its media assets forced Time Warner deeply in the red, landing the company with a $16 billion net loss for its fourth-quarter financial results. At the same time, the company announced a round of major layoffs.

The writedown of its assets amounted to $24.2 billion. A year ago, the company had a much brighter period, earning a $1.03 billion profit. The stock market, anticipating the news, offered a shrug--down just 1% to $9.70 in midday trading.

Time Warner's revenue also slipped--down 3%--to $12.31 billion. Media companies have been hit hard recently. The day before, Walt Disney posted lower results, but still reported a profit. It had a 32% decline in quarterly net earnings, as a result of decreased DVD and advertising sales.

While most media companies' broadcast sales have been lower, that hasn't been the case for its cable networks.



For example, revenue at Walt Disney's cable networks Disney Channel and ESPN rose 2% to $2.45 billion. Time Warner also improved 9% in overall revenue to $2.9 billion for Turner Broadcasting and HBO. Ad revenues rose 7% for Turner. In addition, fees paid by cable and satellite operators for Turner and HBO were up 7%.

Still, earnings fell 20% in Time Warner's network division to $682 billion, mostly due to a $270 million charge from a court judgment.

Continuing problems are hitting Time Warner's AOL division. Revenue was down 23% to $968 million, subscription revenue fell 27%, and ad sales sank 18%. Time Warner's publishing division also had a rough time, with a 13% decline in revenue to $1.3 billion, pushed lower by a big 20% drop in ad sales.

The bulk of Time Warner's job cuts come from AOL, which will lose 700 jobs--about 10% of the workforce--due to the slowing advertising market. Separately, Time Warner Cable announced that it would lay off 1,250 people in the coming weeks, hoping to save $90 million a year.

Time Warner Cable revenue rose 8% to $4.4 billion, while filmed entertainment revenue sank 11% to $3.1 billion.

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