Time Warner shares are up nearly 3% in pre-market trading after it disclosed that it has joined Disney, Fox, and Comcast as an equity owner of Hulu, and beat Wall Street expectations for Q2 earnings.
The purchase of 10% of Hulu “underscores Time Warner’s commitment to supporting and developing new platforms for the delivery of high-quality content and great consumer experiences to audiences around the globe” CEO Jeff Bewkes says.
There’s no word yet on how much Time Warner paid for its stake.
Hulu’s planned live streaming service, due early 2017, will include Turner’s TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, Boomerang and Turner Classic Movies.
As for the earnings, Time Warner reported net income of $952 million, down about 2% vs last year’s Q2, on revenues of $6.95 billion, down 5.4%. The top line was short of analyst expectations for $7.05 billion. But adjusted earnings at $1.29 a share beat projections for $1.16.
The company says it now expects 2016 adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations to end up between $5.35 and $5.45 — up a nickel from its previous forecast.
In Q2, the Turner cable networks saw sales grow 6% to $3.0 billion with operating income flat at $1.1 billion. Subscription revenues were up 11% due to higher rates and currency growth overseas even though the number of domestic subscribers fell. Ads were up 6%, helped by CNN’s election year lift and the inclusion of the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Champtionship.
But content sales fell 15%. Programming expenses were up 11%, mostly for sports and originals. Marketing expenses also rose to promote new series that the company says were “related to the TBS and TNT rebrands.”
At HBO revenues were up 2% to $1.5 billion while operating income fell 5% to $481 million. The top line was helped by a 6% increase in subscription revenues, but hurt by a 17% drop in content sales. Meanwhile, programming expenses rose 6%.
And Warner Bros probably would like to forget the quarter, with revenues down 19% to $2.7 billion and operating income off 10% to $308 million. It cites the usual culprit: tough comparisons.
Video game sales were down vs. last year which included Batman: Arkham Knight and Mortal Kombat X. Home entertainment was down against last year which had American Sniper. TV licensing also fell vs last year which included second-cycle syndication of The Big Bang Theory and subscription VOD licensing for Seinfeld.
Warner recorded a $90 million gain from the sale of Flixster to Comcast’s Fandango.
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