What earnings reports reveal about entertainment
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Here is a summary of recent earnings reports for selected entertainment companies:
Jan. 25: Netflix Inc. discloses that it has regained almost as many customers as it lost following an unpopular price increase, signaling that the video subscription service is healing from its self-inflicted wounds. Netflix ended December with 24.4 million subscribers in the U.S. That was 600,000 more than at the end of September. It had lost 800,000 subscribers last summer after it raised its U.S. prices as much as 60 percent.
Feb. 2: Viacom Inc. says revenue at its Paramount Pictures movie studio rose slightly on strong box-office results from “Paranormal Activity 3” and “Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol.” At the TV networks, Viacom’s larger and more profitable division, results were buoyed by an increase in fees from cable companies and online streaming services like Netflix.
Sony Corp. says theatrical revenue at its movie studio rose because more movies were released in the last three months of 2011 compared with the previous year. The company says home entertainment revenue decreased because of fewer releases, though ““The Smurfs” sold well.
Feb. 6: Coinstar Inc., owner of Redbox, says its quarterly earnings nearly tripled as its Redbox kiosks for renting DVDs picked up customers who stopped getting their discs through Netflix’s rival service. The performance was far better than analysts projected.
Feb. 7: The Walt Disney Co. says movie studio revenue fell because it released fewer big films than in past years. It also experienced a dip in sales of DVDs. The company got more fees from distributors of ESPN, even as ad revenue there and at the broadcast network ABC was flat.
Feb. 8: Time Warner Inc. reports a strong fourth quarter and expects growth to continue even with the end of the Harry Potter franchise. The most-recent quarter benefited from the home video release of the final Harry Potter movie.
News Corp. says net income grew by nearly two-thirds in the latest quarter, despite expenses related to ongoing phone hacking investigations of its U.K. newspaper unit. Thanks to growth at pay TV channels like Fox News and FX and better results from its movie studio, revenue in the quarter rose 2 percent.
Feb. 9: Sirius XM Radio Inc. says it added 542,996 subscribers in the quarter, an increase of 65 percent from a year ago. The company expects new signups to slow this year, though a January price increase had only a “modest” increase in the percentage of customers who drop the service.
Warner Music Group Corp. says its revenue in the quarter was flat as growing digital music sales help counter the long-term decline of CD sales. The privately held company says its digital future will be in jeopardy if a planned acquisition of rival EMI by Universal Music Group and Sony/ATV proceeds.
Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. says it reduced its loss in the quarter as it cut expenses. Revenue fell because it didn’t have any movies in wide release in theaters. The movie studio acquired “Twilight” maker Summit Entertainment last month and has the first “Hunger Games” movie out in theaters next month.
Feb. 15: Comcast Corp. says revenue at NBCUniversal grew about 1 percent. It got higher fees from other cable TV distributors for rights to carry cable networks such as CNBC and Bravo. But weakness in NBC’s programming dragged down results at the broadcast unit. Revenue at the Universal movie studio fell partly because of lower home video sales.
CBS Corp. says earnings rose 31 percent in the latest quarter, thanks to licensing shows to online video companies such as Netflix as well as cost-cutting. That helped offset an advertising slowdown.
Feb. 21: Outdoor advertising company Clear Channel Outdoor Holdings Inc. says net income for the final three months of 2011 rose from a year earlier, but a decline in U.S. advertising spending held earnings below Wall Street expectations. Parent company CC Media Holdings, Inc. says the radio business saw revenue grow 2 percent to $15 million. Digital radio services grew, but the business took in less from political ads.
Feb. 23: Giant-screen movie theater company Imax Corp. says earnings fell, reflecting the absence of a big tax benefit from last year, a revenue dip and higher expenses. Unit revenue for its big-screen theater systems and related rental and finance income slid 9 percent despite the installation of 57 theater systems during the quarter, bringing its total to 634 in 50 countries.
Tuesday: DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. reports fourth-quarter earnings that were below expectations. It also warns that costs would increase significantly on its two films set for release this year, “Madagascar 3” and “Rise of the Guardians,” because of scheduling changes, longer production times and infrastructure investment. The company also says the holiday quarter revealed industry-wide challenges, including a slide in DVD sales as a ratio of a movie’s domestic box office haul.