Earnings Scorecard: Who’s Up, Who’s Down This Season

Time Warner fared well in its latest earnings report while Sony and News Corp. took their hits

This earnings season has been decidedly mixed one for media companies so far. A few clearly came out ahead — think Time Warner, which on Wednesday adjusted its full year forecast — while others had less to celebrate about.

Sony and AOL both posted losses on Wednesday, joining DreamWorks Animation in the debit column.

The results have been more mixed for Comcast, News Corp. and Netflix: Comcast reported a 5 percent profit gain and greater revenue with NBCUniversal integrated, but drew some criticism for subscriber declines. News Corp. reported strong revenue but its phone hacking scandal dinged profits. Netflix reported strong profits and revenues, but also got hammered for a decline in subscriber rolls.

As for Apple, its biggest sin was failing to Wall Street’s bullish expectations amid feverish anticipation about the next generation iPhone.

We’re not done yet: CBS will report its latest earnings Thursday; Lionsgate, Disney and Viacom will release theirs next week.

Here’s a quick scorecard of earnings so far:

AOL on Wednesday reported a $2.6 million loss for the third quarter, compared to a net profit of $171.6 million in the same frame a year ago, but that loss was not as bad as many analysts had expected. Revenue declined 6 percent to $532 million, as subscriber roles continued to drop. The company touted its 8 percent increase in ad revenue as promising signs of growth. MORE

On Oct. 18, Apple reported a 54 percent gain in net income to $6.62 billion for its fourth fiscal quarter. Revenue jumped 39 percent to $28.27 billion for the period. Investors still beat up on the company for falling short of Wall Street’s sky-high expectations. MORE

Comcast Corp. reported a 51 percent increase in revenue and 5 percent increase in profits to $908 million in its third quarter earnings on Wednesday. The addition of NBCUniversal to the fattened revenues; the company lost more cable subscribers but fewer than it did in the comparable period a year ago. MORE

DreamWorks Animation
DreamWorks Animation on Oct. 25 reported a 50 percent decline in income to $19.7 million for the third quarter. Revenue was also down 15 percent to $160.8 million, largely because of the uninspiring performance of "Kung Fu Panda 2" over the summer. MORE

Netflix took a beating on Oct. 24 despite an outwardly robust third quarter: Net income jumped 63 percent from the same period last year to $62 million, while revenues climbed 49 percent $822 million. The catch: the company lost 800,000 subscribers after a series of costly mistakes. MORE

News Corp.
News Corp. on Wednesday reported a 5 percent profit drop to $738 million in its first fiscal quarter, in part due to a $91 million restructuring charge for News Corp.'s U.K. newspaper business. Revenue rose 7 percent to $7.96 billion, exceeding analyst forecasts. The company said it saved roughly $57 million in quarterly losses from its MySpace sale. MORE

Sony on Wednesday reported a $350 million loss for its second fiscal quarter, and now forecasts a $90 billion yen loss (about $1.15 billion at current exchange rates) for the 12-month period ending March 31. Revenue declined 9.1 percent to $20.45 billion during the recent quarter. One bright spot: Sales of an interest in “Spider-Man” merchandise boosted Sony Pictures’ revenue 17 percent to $2.2 billion. MORE

Time Warner
Time Warner’s third quarter earnings bested Wall Street expectations on Wednesday: its film division powered the company to a 57 percent increase in earnings to $822 million and brought revenues to $7.1 billion. The film division, only one in the company to report a profit increase, had its best quarter ever. The company did report higher subscriptions and ad revenue in its networks division, but increased costs put that division in the red. MORE