Time Warner Film Dollars Rise On Video Game Hits; Mags Gain A Bit


Credit: Flickr / Michael McDonough

Time Warner (NYSE: TWX) saw profits and revenues boosted by movie sequels, but did even better thanks to video games tied to film franchises. Even the magazine publishing segment saw slight growth across the board, suggesting the the weak economy hasn’t dampened ad spending and subscriptions. Those trends were reflected in the usually healthy cable properties at Turner Broadcasting and HBO.

Cable: The company didn’t offer much detail about the performance of the HBO Go app, which debuted in May and lets subscribers stream video on mobile devices, beyond saying there’s been a “great response.” So far, the main impact has been on higher marketing expenses to promote the app.

For the most part, the cable segment can certainly afford it: Revenues grew 9 percent to $3.5 billion, with increases of 7 percent ($127 million) in subscription revenues, 11 percent ($112 million) in ad dollars and 18 percent ($40 million) in content revenues. Most of the ad gains were related to Turner’s broadcast of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship.

Publishing: Never underestimate Americans’ interest in royal weddings, and that appears especially true for magazine readers and advertisers as People — along with Turner’s CNN’s — benefited from April’s UK nuptials between Prince William and Kate Middleton. Specifically, People magazine’s “Royal Wedding” special collector’s issue contained 105 ad pages, the most in a single issue of the celebrity title since 2007.

Time Inc. revenues were up 3 percent to $946 million, which the company mainly attributed to 2 percent gain in subscription revenues, a 1 percent in advertising revenues and 56 percent in unspecified “content revenues.”

Films: Revenues jumped 13 percent to $2.8 billion, primarily due to growth in video game revenues from the releases of Mortal Kombat 9 and LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean: The Video Game. And in a demonstration that there are still some exceptions when it comes to the downward spiral of the movie industry’s DVD sales, Time Warner pointed to higher home entertainment revenues driven by the release of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.

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