This should be a good day for the media giant with the strong results and an updated forecast that projects low-teen growth in its 2014 adjusted per share earnings after it spins off Time Inc — expected by mid-year. Time Warner generated $1.3B in net income in Q1, +71.4% vs the period last year, on revenues of $7.5B, +8.7%. The top line came in ahead of the $6.6B that analysts expected. Adjusted earnings at 91 cents per share also beat forecasts for 88 cents. The company’s release says that if you exclude Time Inc then earnings would have come in at 97 cents. “We are off to a very strong start in 2014 with results that demonstrate both the returns we can achieve on our investments in great storytelling and the growth potential of our businesses,” CEO Jeff Bewkes says.
Time Warner’s fortunes largely depend on its Turner cable networks where operating income increased 6% to $895M on revenues of $2.6B, +5%. NCAA March Madness basketball helped to lift ad sales 5% while pay TV company payments increased 7%. The unit also collected $13M from the sale of a news aggregation platform, Zite, which contrasted with the quarter last year when Turner had a $20M charge for its international operations.
Warner Bros also can look back warmly on the quarter: The LEGO Movie and 300: Rise Of An Empire contributed to a 40% gain in operating income, to $369M, with revenues +14% to $3.1B. The studio also saw growth in video game and international TV sales. But home video sales of theatrical films fell 16% while those for TV productions dropped 23.5%. With its “promising slate of movies for the rest of the year and strong lineup of TV shows to be unveiled at the upfronts, Warner Bros is positioned to have another excellent year in 2014,” Bewkes says.
HBO showed strong growth although its results are complicated by the consolidation of HBO Asia and HBO Nordic. With them included, operating income increased 11% to $464M on revenues of $1.3M, +9%. Time Warner says the unit’s revenues, and costs, increased with home video sales of Game Of Thrones: The Complete Third Season.