Time Warner has reported a revenue increase of 11% for the final quarter of 2016, with income for the period totaling $7.9bn based on double-digit growth in its subscription business, plus box office successes within its Warner Bros division, as speculation continues to mount over its proposed $85bn takeover by AT&T.
The company's latest quarterly numbers, published earlier today (February 8), also provided details of revenues for the full-year which increased 4% year-over-year (y-o-y) to hit $29.3bn, with Turner’s subscription revenues also increasing 12% to $5.9bn during the 12 month window (see chart below).
In an accompanying press release statement, Time Warner chief executive, Jeff Bewkes, said: "All of our operating divisions increased revenue and profits while also making investments to capitalize on the growing demand for the very best video content and new ways to deliver it to audiences around the world."
Time Warner's management are scheduled to give a more detailed analysis of the period during an earnings call scheduled to take place at 830 (EST) with further details available here.
The above numbers are compared to the previous quarter when its revenue increased 9% y-o-y to $7.2bn, driven by growth in all divisions, particularly the company's cable TV and film business. It also posted earnings of $1.83 per share, which was a 46% y-o-y increase.
An analysis of its specific divisions show that notable successes for 2016 were its global box office numbers, with titles such as Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad which helped generate receipts nearing $5bn in 2016. Its Home Box Office division also experienced an uptake in user demand during the period (see chart above).
Meanwhile, its CNN arm enjoyed 77% y-o-y growth in its total viewers in 2016, fueled by the election, plus viewership increased 128% y-o-y during the Presidential election week, with its Election Night coverage was the most watched prime-time night in its history, with the network indexing well among 25-50-44 year-olds, according to Nielsen data (see chart below).
However, it is the proposed $85bn mega-takeover by AT&T that will garner the interest of most investors – a proposed deal subject to regulatory approval, and one that had initially been described by the now US President Donald Trump as "too much".
Although certain parties have since suggested that President Trump's subsequent appointments to regulatory bodies point to the possibility of the takeover receiving clearance without too much scrutiny. If approved by regulators, the deal will give the US’ second largest wireless telecoms company control of TV channels HBO, CNN and Cartoon Network and film studio Warner Bros, producer of the Batman and Harry Potter film franchises, and therefore access to a wealth of coveted content to stream across its network.
Such a deal would likely cause a considerable stir in the US TV advertising market, in particular the future of addressable TV. Speaking earlier with The Drum, Jim Nail, an analyst at Forrester, suggested that the proposed deal AT&T could be the one to open up the network-owned linear TV inventory for addressability.