Time Warner reports marginal revenue growth of one per cent

MUMBAI: US media conglomerate Time Warner has reported financial results for its first quarter ended 31 March 2006.

Revenues rose by one per cent over the same period in 2005 to $10.5 billion, led by growth at the cable and networks segments.

Time Warner chairman and CEO Dick Parsons said, “We are very pleased with this quarter's solid financial results, including our eight per cent adjusted OIBDA growth and strong free cash flow of $1.6 billion. In particular, Time Warner Cable delivered outstanding financial and operating results, with strong growth in basic and digital subscribers and all-time record subscriber additions to its high-speed data and digital phone services.

"We also continue to make significant progress in returning value directly to our shareholders. Since the inception of our stock repurchase program, we've bought back almost 10 per cent of our outstanding shares for approximately $8 billion.”

AOL's revenue fell to $ 1,981 milion from $ 2,133 in the same quarter last year. The cable segment's revenue grew to $2,580 million from 2,246. The film segment fell to $2,779 million from $3,014 million.

As of 31 March the AOL service totalled 18.6 million US members, a decline of 835,000 from the prior quarter and 3.1 million from the year-ago quarter. In Europe, the AOL service had 5.9 million members, a decrease of 147,000 from the previous quarter and a decline of 452,000 from last year’s quarter. During the first quarter, AOL had 107 million average monthly domestic unique visitors and nearly 53 billion domestic page views, according to comScore Media Metrix, which translates into 163 average monthly page views per unique visitor.

At the networks segment (Turner Broadcasting, HBO & The WB Network) revenues rose by three per cent to $2.4 billion, reflecting higher subscription and advertisement revenues. This was offset in part by lower content revenues. Subscription revenues climbed by eight per cent ($108 million), due to higher rates and, to a lesser extent, increased subscribers at Turner and HBO. Ad revenues were up three per cent ($21 million), led by a six per cent growth at the Turner networks, offset partly by a 10 per cent decrease at The WB Network.

HBO brought back its critically acclaimed show, The Sopranos and launched a new original series, Big Love. These programmes Time Warner says have averaged 13 million and seven million cumulative viewers, respectively, with a significant amount of their audiences occurring in post-Sunday night premiere multi-plays.

In the film segment, revenues declined by eight per cent. Worldwide theatrical revenue decreased due to difficult comparisons with revenues from Ocean’s Twelve, Constantine and Million Dollar Baby, sales of television products, including Friends and Seinfeld.

Warner Home Video ranked number one in home video sales in the US, for the year through 25 March 2006 capturing a 22.2 per cent share. Notable home video releases during the quarter included Warner Bros. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride as well as New Line’s Wedding Crashers and A History of Violence.

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