MGM Revenues Fall, but Profits Rise on TV Strength, ‘The Hobbit’

The lack of a James Bond picture caused revenue to fall at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 2014 even as the studio managed to record record profits.

Revenue at the entertainment company behind 007 and “The Hobbit” hit $1.44 billion, down 5.8% from $1.53 billion in the previous year. Net income at the company topped out at $156 million for the calendar year ending Dec. 31, up 27% from $122.2 million in 2013.

“The continued strength and performance of our new content as well as that of our library assets, across all platforms, further supported by strategic acquisitions and partnerships have helped MGM earn its highest annual profits in its modern history for the second consecutive year,” said MGM chairman-CEO Gary Barber in a statement.

Operating cash flow reached $373 million, up 33% from the previous calendar year, while adjusted EBITDA rose 10% to $363 million. Fourth-quarter earnings surged 45% to $42 million, and adjusted EBITDA doubled to $114 million.

Profit growth stemmed from increased profitability from joint ventures, including its Epix pay television network, as well as from its TV programming.

In television, MGM scored with the critically lauded “Vikings.” The company also launched a joint venture with Mark Burnett, Roma Downey and Hearst Productions to field faith-based programming, dubbed United Artists Media Group. That 55% stake in the joint venture is already contributing important revenues, adding $25.5 million to its results.

On the film front, MGM released the final installment of “The Hobbit” to more than $950 million globally and had a summer hit with “22 Jump Street,” which opened in June and grossed $330 million worldwide. “RoboCop,” its update of the 1980s genre classic, and “Hercules” were less successful at the box office. The most recent earnings report does not include “Hot Tub Time Machine 2,” its February film flop.

This coming year brings the release of a new Bond film, “Spectre,” as well as a “Poltergeist” remake and the “Rocky” spinoff “Creed.”

MGM is a privately held company, but it has been making its financial results public since it emerged from bankruptcy in 2010.

Dave McNary contributed to this report.

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