Time Warner grew its third-quarter revenues by 6% to $7.6 billion thanks to surprise box office hits like “It,” TV successes like “Rick and Morty,” and rising subscription revenues for HBO and Turner.
The quarterly successes helped push up the company’s operating income 11% to $2.2 billion as it likely wraps its final quarter before being acquired by AT&T.
“We delivered very strong third-quarter results, keeping us on track to achieve our objectives for 2017,” said Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes in a statement. “Our results and these highlights reflect our continued focus on executing our strategy, which includes both creating the most engaging content and advancing the ways that consumers can enjoy and experience our content and brands across platforms. The ability to accelerate our pace of innovation and connect more directly with consumers are among the reasons we are excited about our proposed merger with AT&T, which remains on track to close before year end, pending regulatory review and consents.”
Bewkes added that HBO had its highest quarterly growth in 13 years, that Adult Swim’s “Rick and Morty” was the #1 comedy across all television among adults 18-34, and that TNT’s NBA Opening Night doubleheader averaged 4.9 million total viewers, up 53% over last year.
HBO revenues rose 13% to $1.6 billion thanks in part to subscription increases, higher domestic rates and content revenues, and higher international licensing. Operating income for the network rose 4% to $552 million despite higher expenses related to original programming costs and higher marketing costs around HBO’s OTT products.
Turner revenues rose 6% to $2.8 billion as subscriptions revenue were up 13% and content revenues were up 4%, helping to fight off a 3% decline in advertising revenue. The dip in ad revenue was due to lower delivery at some domestic networks. Operating income for Turner rose 7% to $1.2 billion despite higher programming and marketing costs.