Time Warner Beats Earnings Expectations off of Strong Turner, ‘American Sniper’ Performance

Media company reported earnings per share of $1.19 and revenue of $7.1 billion

Last Updated: April 29, 2015 @ 12:52 PM

Time Warner reported Q1 2015 earnings per share (EPS) of $1.19 on $7.1 billion in revenue, up from $1.09 and $6.8 billion a year ago, on Wednesday before the U.S. stock markets opened

Wall Street analysts had forecasted EPS of $1.09 on $7 billion in revenue, according to Yahoo FinanceZacks had the per-share earnings estimated at a penny more. CNN Money saw the same per-share earnings estimate.

Net income fell to $970 million, down from 1.29 billion the same time a year ago.

Turner Networks improved its adjusted earnings by 26 percent, seeing its best quarter ever off the back of NCAA March Madness, which had its highest average TV audience in two decades.

“NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was a huge multiplatform success, with its highest average television viewership in over two decades helping make TBS the No. 1 ad-supported cable network in prime time among adults 18-49 in the quarter,” Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said.

“American Sniper,” which brought in over $500 billion globally, also carried Warner Bros.’ domestic box office. HBO continued to grow domestic subscribers as it aired the groundbreaking Robert Durst documentary, “The Jinx,” which helped police arrest the real estate tycoon by providing key evidence.

Time Warner’s stock has gone up 36 percent in the last year. Most recently, HBO unveiled its digital standalone service, “HBO Now.”

Bewkes’ full comments below. The company kicks off its earnings call at 10 a.m. ET.

“We got off to a very strong start in 2015, with Revenues up 5 percent, and Adjusted Operating Income growing 12 percent to a quarterly record of $1.8 billion. This led to a 23 percent increase in Adjusted EPS and puts us on track to achieve our goals for the year. We accomplished a lot in the quarter, led by Turner, which had its best quarter ever, with audience growth across a number of its networks. The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament was a huge multiplatform success, with its highest average television viewership in over two decades helping make TBS the No. 1 ad-supported cable network in prime time among adults 18-49 in the quarter. And March Madness Live served more than 80 million live video streams and grew its usage by almost 20 percent over last year’s tournament. Warner Bros. led the domestic box office for the quarter on the strength of ‘American Sniper,’ which brought in well over $500 million globally. Warner Bros. also continued to lead the industry in television production, including the No. 1 comedy and unscripted series among adults 18-49 on television this season. HBO once again grew domestic subscribers in the quarter while continuing to gain acclaim for groundbreaking programming such as the recent documentaries ‘Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief’ and ‘The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst.’ The return of ‘Game of Thrones’ reached a new premiere high, while also providing the backdrop for the highly anticipated launch of HBO NOW, our standalone streaming version of HBO, which is off to a great start. Reflecting our strong commitment to provide direct returns to shareholders, we returned more than $1.4 billion in dividends and share repurchases year-to-date.”