Biz Briefs

Oct 27, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Time Warner on Wednesday swung to a third-quarter profit of $541 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with year-earlier red ink of $55 million, or 1 cent a share, as gains at the company’s television networks and cable units offset declines in filmed entertainment and at the online unit. Revenue during the period grew 4 percent to $10.3 billion, while operating income before depreciation and amortization advanced 9 percent to $2.3 billion, hurt in part by an impairment charge of $41 million tied to Time Warner’s sale of its professional hockey and basketball teams. Excluding that charge, the figure would have grown 11 percent, largely on the strength of cable and networks. The company said its cable division recorded a 10 percent increase in revenue as subscription revenue climbed 10 percent, driven by continued penetration of its high-speed data and digital video services, which offset a 24 percent decline in advertising revenue. At the networks division, revenue rose 10 percent, thanks to rises in subscription, advertising and content revenue.
Viacom Posts Record Earnings
Viacom said Thursday its third-quarter profit climbed 9 percent to $700 million, or 40 cents a share, up 9 percent from a year-earlier profit of $640 million, or 36 cents per share. Revenue climbed 5 percent to $6.6 billion, which the company said was a record. Free cash flow soared 230 percent to $708 million. Viacom’s cable networks collectively recorded an 18 percent surge in revenues to $1.47 billion, led by a 25 percent jump in advertising revenue, while on the broadcast TV side, the company managed to overcome a weak economy and the absence of political advertising spending to generate a 5 percent increase in revenue to $1.88 billion.
`Queens’ Lower Profit Margin Saps Sony
Sony Pictures Entertainment unit produced a loss for the fiscal second quarter as its box-office bomb “Gigli” and a lower profit margin on the syndication sale of television series “The King of Queens” took their toll on the unit and the overall company. SPE, which includes the film studio and the television production and syndication businesses, produced a loss of 4.6 billion yen ($42 million) for the three months ended Sept. 30, vs. a year-earlier profit of 9.9 million yen. Revenue for the period rose 1 percent to 187.4 billion yen ($1.7 billion). The Pictures unit’s results, combined with a sharp drop in sales at Sony’s games division, contributed to an overall 25 percent drop in profit for the company to 32.9 billion yen ($300.1 million) from a year-earlier figure of 44.1 billion yen. Revenue rose slightly to 1.8 trillion yen ($16.4 billion). The results come as Sony is set to launch a reorganization plan that could involve eliminating 500 positions at SPE. Sources said details should emerge at an Oct. 28 meeting.