TV earnings offset movie profits slump

Time Warner earnings nosed up 2% last quarter to $838 million as muscle from TV networks offset a slump in studio profits.

Revenue dipped 3% to $6.8 billion.

At Turner Broadcasting and HBO, income grew 12% to $1.2 billion. Revenue rose 4% to $3.3 billion. Subscription sales were up 7% on higher rates, more HBO subs and international growth. Ad revenue dipped 1%, damped by Turner International shuttering some operations in India and Turkey.

“The highlight this quarter was the strength of our networks businesses (which) illustrates that our investments in content and technology are continuing to pay off,” said chairman-CEO Jeff Bewkes, citing ratings gains at TNT and TBS and the growth of HBO Go.

But studio profits plunged 37% to $328 million with revenue down 12% to $2.9 billion as “The Dark Knight Rises” this year couldn’t top “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part Two” in 2011. The year-ago quarter also included TV license fees from “The Big Bang Theory” and “Friends.”

That said, “Dark Knight Rises” has taken in over $1 billion at the global box office. Bewkes noted the strong perf of “Argo” in the current quarter and upcoming release of “The Hobbit.”

Publishing revenue fell 6% to $838 million with advertising and subscription sales off, respectively, 6% and 5%. Cost cuts helped boost division profit by 2% to $127 million.

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