Time Warner 2Q revenue grows marginally

MUMBAI: US media conglomerate Time Warner has reported financial results for its second quarter ended 30 June 2006.

Revenues rose by one per cent over the same period in 2005 to $10.7 billion, led by growth at the cable and networks segments. Adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortisation climbed seven per cent to $2.7 billion, reflecting double-digit increases at the cable and filmed entertainment segments as well as a gain at the networks segment.

This growth was offset partly by declines at the publishing and AOL segments. Operating income rose to $1.8 billion from a prior year loss, reflecting primarily higher adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortisation and the absence of the $3 billion in legal reserves related to securities litigation recognized in the prior year quarter.

Time Warner chairman and CEO Dick Parsons said, “We are pleased with this quarter’s results, which put us firmly on track to achieve our full-year financial objectives. Especially significant was our generation of Free Cash Flow over the first half of the year, totaling more than $2.6 billion, or 49 per cent of our Adjusted OIBDA. Our cable, filmed entertainment and networks segments delivered standout operating performances, while AOL posted a better-than-expected quarter. Key to these results were impressive strength in AOL's advertising revenues and across-the-board subscriber and profit growth at Time Warner Cable.

“With the closing of the Adelphia-Comcast transaction, Time Warner Cable is now focused on integrating and upgrading the acquired systems and setting the stage for an aggressive deployment of Time Warner Cable's advanced digital video, high-speed data and digital phone services in the coming months. In addition, we are continuing to return substantial value directly to our shareholders – including repurchasing 14 per cent of our outstanding common stock for approximately $11.7 billion since starting the programme last year.”

Television networks (Turner Broadcasting, HBO and The WB Network) revenues rose by nine per cent to $2.7 billion, reflecting higher subscription and ad revenues – including the consolidation of Court TV ($65 million). Subscription revenues climbed nine per cent due to higher rates and increased subscribers at Turner and HBO as well as the consolidation of Court TV ($20 million), offset in part by a favorable audit claim settlement in the prior year quarter.

Ad revenues were up eight per cent led by an 11 per cent growth at Turner, including Court TV ($43 million), offset partly by a nine per cent decrease at The WB Network. Content revenues increased by seven per cent due primarily to higher ancillary sales of HBO’s original programming.

At AOL, revenues declined by two per cent to $2.0 billion, due to an 11 per cent decrease in subscription revenues, offset in part by a 40 per cent increase ($129 million) in ad revenues. The decline in subscription revenues was due primarily to a decrease in domestic AOL brand subscribers and an unfavorable impact from changes in foreign currency exchange rates. The growth in ad revenues reflected strong growth across each of the major ad categories – display, pay for performance and paid-search.

Revenues from movies declined by 10 per cent to $2.4 billion, due primarily to difficult comparisons to higher home video revenues in the prior year quarter, which included Ocean’s 12 and The Aviator as well as several seasons of Seinfeld. Additionally, the second quarter of 2005 had benefitted from revenue from theatrical product on television, including various Harry Potter availabilities.

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