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News Corp Blames Soft Ad Sales For Fiscal Q1 Revenue Miss

By | Monday November 11, 2013 @ 1:20pm PST

Shares are down about 2.7% in postmarket trading after News Corp reported disappointing results for the quarter ended September 30. The company generated net income of $38M, up from an $83M loss in the period last year, on revenues of $2.07B, -2.9%. Analysts expected revenues to come in at $2.2B. Earnings at 5 cents a share matched the consensus forecast. The News and Information Services unit — which includes The Wall Street Journal — was hit hardest, with revenues -10% to $1.5B. The Australian newspapers weighed on the results, with revenues -22% accounting for a majority of the decline. But the company says it also saw “moderating declines at Dow Jones and News UK.” Ad sales fell 12%, and circulation was -6%. In Book Publishing, which includes HarperCollins, revenues fell 7% to $328M. News Corp says e-book sales were up 30%, accounting for 22% of revenues, but were offset by the company’s divestiture of the Women of Faith live events business and softness in Christian publishing. Revenues would have fallen 5% without the one-time changes and fluctuations in foreign exchange rates.
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Fox Shares Rise As Fiscal Q4 Earnings Beat Expectations

By and | Tuesday August 6, 2013 @ 1:26pm PDT

Fox’s first quarterly earnings report as a stand-alone company pleased investors, who sent shares up nearly 5% in after market trading. The net loss of $308M compares with a $1.52B loss in period last year while revenues came in at $7.21B, +15.7%. The revenue number matched the consensus analyst forecast. Excluding one-time items, earnings on continuing operations, at $0.31 a share, were three cents shy of expectations. Filmed Entertainment was mixed, with cash flow -16.4% to $117M while revenues rose 2.9% to $2.04B. The company pointed to theatrical and  home video successes with Taken 2, Prometheus and Life Of Pi - as well as its distribution of DreamWorks Animation’s The Croods — but said that television production contributed less than it did last year. Cable networks were still the stars, with cash flow +25.5% to $1.08B on revenues of nearly $3B, +16.3%. Domestic affiliate revenues were up 12% while ad revenues were +6%. The Fox television unit struggled with lower ratings from X-Factor and American Idol. The operation saw cash flow fall 9.4% to $213M on revenues of $1.1B, -0.5%. CEO Rupert Murdoch says that with Fox’s investments in sports, including the upcoming launch of Fox Sports, “21st Century Fox is poised to deliver continued innovation for our customers as well as sustained growth and long-term value for our stockholders.”

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Facebook Q2 Results Beat Financial Forecasts With Robust Mobile Ad Sales

By | Wednesday July 24, 2013 @ 1:24pm PDT

The stock is up more than 19% in after hours trading following a Q2 report that appears to have reassured investors who feared that smartphones and tablets don’t have enough screen space for ads. Facebook says that mobile ads accounted for 41% of the total ad sales in the quarter, a big jump from 30% last year. The company generated $333M in net income, up from a $157M loss in the period last year, on revenues of $1.81B, +53.1%. The revenue number was well ahead of the $1.62B that analysts anticipated. And adjusted earnings at 19 cents a share beat forecasts for 14 cents. CEO Mark Zuckerberg drove home the main message, saying, “The work we’ve done to make mobile the best Facebook experience is showing good results and provides us with a solid foundation for the future.” Ad sales accounted for 88% of Facebook’s revenue, and were up 61%. The company saw $214M from payments and other fees, +11%. While the report has little detail about particular sources of income, the company says that it introduced video for Instagram in Q2, and 5M videos were uploaded in the first 24 hours.

Related: The First Ever Instamovie?

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Amazon Q3 Earnings Down, Stock Down In Volatile After Hours Trading

By | Thursday October 25, 2012 @ 1:39pm PDT

It was down and down for Amazon with its Q3 results today, when the online retailer reported that it missed estimates for sales and earnings. Amazon reported $13.18 billion in revenue for Q3, up 27% from a year ago but lighter than the $13.93 billion expectation. Excluding the 37 cents-a-share loss related to the company’s investment in locally based discount site LivingSocial, Amazon lost 23 cents a share in the quarter, much worse than the consensus expectation of an 8 cent loss. Shares in the online and cloud giant fell as much as 9% in volatile after-hours trading — it currently sits at around -3% at $220.70 a share. Read More »

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Amazon Down In After-Hours Trading Following Downbeat 1Q Profit Forecast

By | Tuesday January 31, 2012 @ 2:49pm PST

Shares are -8.7% after the e-retailer presented a mixed report about its 4Q results, and projected a decline in its 1Q operating profit. Amazon generated net income of $177M in the last three months of 2011, down 57.5% from the same period in 2010, on revenues of $17.4B, up 34.6%. The revenue figure fell short of the $18.2B that analysts projected. Earnings, at 38 cents a share, handily beat the 19 cents forecast. The profit drop is partly due to Amazon’s expenditures to build new fulfillment centers, and sales of its Kindle e-readers and tablets – priced below cost in order to gin up sales of books and other media. The company says that Kindle sales were up 177% over the holiday season. But investors were surprised to see that profits are still under pressure. Amazon forecast that operating income in 1Q will come in anywhere from a $200M loss to a $100M profit — which means it will be down as much as 162% or as little as 69% from the period in 2011.

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TiVo’s Still Struggling, Although Dish Network Payment Helps 1Q Earnings

By | Tuesday May 24, 2011 @ 3:30pm PDT

UPDATE, 3:30 PM: TiVo’s beginning to sound more like a law firm than a technology pioneer. CEO Tom Rogers told analysts that the company is well positioned to beat AT&T, Verizon and Microsoft in court battles involving TiVo’s DVR patents following its settlement of a similar case with Dish Network. The agreement “sets a precedent” that “established the strong value of our patent portfolio,” Rogers said. As cash rolls in from Dish, and potentially other companies, TiVo would consider buying back its stock, which it considers undervalued. But executives had few specifics to offer about technology plans. TiVo’s behind schedule on one of its more important initiatives: a DVR for DirecTV. “We’ll launch (it) relatively soon, I hope,” Rogers said. Meanwhile, the company continues its struggle to find a niche for the DVRs it sells in electronics stores. TiVo has been losing ground to lower-priced and less-elegant models that cable and satellite companies offer to their subscribers. “We’ve spent a lot less on marketing going forward as we assess various price points,” Rogers says.

PREVIOUS, 1:57 PM: TiVo’s earnings in the quarter that ended in April were merely OK but looked spectacular with the help of a $175.7 million payment from Dish Network as part of the companies’ recent settlement of their long-running patent-infringement dispute. TiVo reported net earnings of $139 million, up from a $14.2 million loss in the same period last year, on revenues of $45.8 million, down 25.5%. Revenues came in slightly ahead of the range that TiVo told investors to expect. Read More »

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Sony Earnings Slammed By Tsunami and PlayStation Woes

By | Monday May 23, 2011 @ 5:31am PDT

Sony said this morning that Japan’s earthquake and tsunami, and the security breach of its PlayStation Network, wreaked havoc with the company’s earnings. The electronics giant will report a $3.2 billion loss for the fiscal year that ended in March — a far cry from the $855 million profit it forecast in February. In addition, Sony says that it expects to take a $1.8 billion hit in the current fiscal year from the earthquake as well as a $171 million loss from its PlayStation problems. The cost of the cyber-attack could end up much higher. Sony says that its estimate does not account for potential losses from lawsuits or regulatory inquiries. Much of the total loss for the year that ended this past March comes from a $4.4 billion charge that accounting rules require Sony to record immediately, once the company recognizes that some of its assets have lost value. The charge “has no impact on cash flow, nor on Sony’s view of its long-term corporate strategy,” CFO Masaru Kato says. Still, he says that Sony’s “supply chain was significantly damaged by the earthquake and tsunami,” and that power outages in Japan “are also affecting our operation.” Sony says it delayed its financial report for the just-ended fiscal year by two weeks so it can evaluate the extent of the damages. Sony will release its full earnings statement for the year on Thursday.

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UPDATE: ‘Mars Needs Moms’ A Costly Disappointment, But Disney CEO Bob Iger Stays Upbeat About Marvel, ABC And ESPN

UPDATE, 4:15 PM: How costly a mistake was Mars Needs Moms? Disney says the studio lost about $70 million in release costs and in an impairment charge for a film it now calls “very disappointing.” Still, CEO Bob Iger tried — not always successfully — to avoid sounding sour today as analysts probed him about quarterly results that seemed to have befuddled many of them. Iger talked up the prospects for Disney’s upcoming sequels to Pirates of the Caribbean and Cars. He also banged the drum for The Avengers, the Marvel action film due next year. Now that Disney has negotiated an early exit from Marvel’s distribution deal with Paramount, Iger says the movie will be the “first really big initiative” from Disney’s acquisition of Marvel with the potential to “turn into a true franchise.” He adds that Marvel is developing a block of shows for Disney XD, as well as individual programs for ABC and ABC Family. Also on the television side, Iger says the coming upfront ad market will “be a strong one” – which is far more vague than CBS chief Les Moonves’ projection of “solid-double digit increases” for his network. Iger acknowledged that the last few years were “not as great” for ABC as they were during the heyday of its hits including Lost, Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy. But while he says that ABC has made “no decisions yet” about the primetime shows it will pick up for this fall, Iger adds that he’s “encouraged” by the pilots he has seen including “some really strong shows” from ABC itself. Read More »

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Top Seller Of Movie Ads Tells Wall Street Why 1Q Earnings Were So Disappointing

National CineMedia CEO Kurt Hall warned Wall Street analysts today that his movie ad business is in for more turbulence, even though theater owners expect to fill seats this summer and TV networks predict robust ad sales in their upfront market. For instance, Hall noted that Japanese auto and consumer electronics companies are among the biggest advertisers in theaters, but they don’t know whether there’ll be enough parts to meet production goals following the country’s earthquake and tsunami. ”They don’t want to spend a lot of money [on movie theater ads] if their products aren’t going to be in the stores or dealerships,” Hall says. And Hall said those high-testosterone Army National Guard recruitment ads are disappearing in movie theaters before the trailers. It’s due to budget cuts in Washington — and the National Guard doesn’t need to hunt for applicants in this anemic economy. ”A lot of people go into the military because they can’t find jobs in the private sector,” Hall noted. The No. 1 seller of movie theater ads reported a 1Q net loss of $1 million, down from a $1.2 million profit in the same period last year, on revenues of $59.1 million, down 12.8%. The lost advertisers are hard to replace. National CineMedia says it only has about 300 national clients. But Hall had some encouraging news for investors, although not necessarily for moviegoers: The company is starting to sell a lot of pre-movie ads to insurance companies.

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Comcast Will Spend $300M More This Year On NBC Primetime & Cable While Admitting Universal “Has To Make Better Films”

This morning, the top Comcast execs in an earnings conference call admitted to Wall Street that NBCUniversal, which the company just purchased, is a fixer-upper and, in the short term, a money pit. NBCU chief Steve Burke says the company plans to spend $200 million more this year on NBC’s primetime schedule than General Electric did last year when it owned the network. (Burke is looking at 21 pilots, about the same number NBC ordered in 2010.) Comcast considers the turnaround to be a long-term project, but Burke says that simply lifting NBC to third place from fourth would mean “hundreds of millions” in improvement in the company’s cash flow. Meanwhile, Burke also says he plans to spend $100 million more this year on programming NBCU’s cable networks. He expects a “very strong” upfront ad sales season.

As for Universal’s film business, where 1Q revenues and operating cash flow declined, Burke says that “we have to make better films,” although the size of its current slate is “about right.” He attributed some of the woes to the fact that the company had to include a lot of marketing costs for Hop and Fast Five in the latest quarterly report even though most of the revenues from those recently released films will show up on Comcast’s next earnings statement.

Both Burke and Roberts mentioned the “S” word — synergy — which hasn’t been used by Big Media since the days of AOL Time Warner. And we all know how that turned out. Read More »

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HuffPo Takes Bite Out Of AOL Earnings

By | Wednesday May 4, 2011 @ 6:48am PDT

In its first earnings call since acquiring The Huffington Post in March for $315 million, AOL reported this morning that its first-quarter profit fell 86% to $4.7 million, down from $34.7 million a year ago. The integration — which includes $27.8 million in restructuring expenses related to the HuffPo deal and the reassessment of operations in India – also impacted revenue, which was down 17% to $551.4 million. Still, shares were up in early trading today after the company said its U.S. display advertising business is showing signs of life, up 11%. “Today represents an important milestone in the turnaround of AOL as global display-ad revenue grew for the first time since Q4 2007,” chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong said. “I am proud of the work completed thus far, and we remain focused on accelerating our momentum through continued execution of our strategy to become the premier digital content company.”

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UPDATE: CBS’ Les Moonves Expects Huge Ad Sales, Even Without Charlie Sheen

UPDATE, 3:07 PM: CBS Corp chief Les Moonves is such a relentless salesman you can’t resist being suspicious when he makes seemingly over-the-top financial forecasts the way he did today. But the results in CBS’ latest earnings report are too impressive, and his predictions are too specific, to ignore. Moonves says he expects “solid double-digit increases” in CBS’ ad sales in the coming upfront market. That’s one of the most bullish forecasts we’ve heard so far from a network executive. If the NFL season falls apart due to the team owners’ lockout, then “we expect to get a greater piece of the (advertising) pie.” Talking up CBS’ programming, Moonves says that Hawaii Five-0 is destined to become “a billion dollar franchise for us” following an initial syndication deal that prices the show at $5 million an episode. Moonves also is a fan of Netflix and other companies that want to offer TV programs online: Moonves says a deal that would enable Netflix to stream CBS shows in Latin America and Canada “might happen very quickly.” He’s also talking to Amazon, and expects to hear from Blockbuster as its new owner Dish Network considers using the home video chain to launch an online subscription service. Revenue from the Netflix deal that Moonves cut in February will appear on CBS’ books beginning in the second quarter.

In other matters, Moonves says that “there are a lot of moving pieces” with the Warner Bros-produced sitcom Two And A Half Men now that Charlie Sheen is gone, and he doesn’t know whether it will return. The CEO also says that he “has no great intent to sell” CBS’ outdoor advertising business. 

The bullish predictions, the strong 1Q results, a decision to double CBS’ dividend to 10 cents a share, and the company’s plan to keep buying back its stock had a predictable result: The price of CBS’ shares rose 4.4% in after-hours trading.

PREVIOUS, 1:40 PM: CBS Corporation just provided yet more evidence that the advertising market is regaining its strength. The broadcast company’s 1Q earnings smashed through analysts’ expectations. Read More »

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Regal Entertainment Reports 1Q Loss

Regal Entertainment Group, the nation’s largest exhibition chain, reported first-quarter results that were down across the board compared with last year. Revenue for the quarter ended March 31 was $570.9 million, compared with $719.8 million in 2010. Much like fellow exhibitor IMAX’s sluggish first-quarter results reported earlier in the day, Regal CEO Amy Miles cited “a challenging first-quarter box office environment” as reason for the decline, and also like IMAX is looking to summer tentpoles to regain momentum. The Regal board did announce a cash dividend of $0.21 per Class A and Class B share as part of what the company plans to be a regulary quarterly offering.

In March, Regal partnered with fellow big chain AMC to create Open Road, a venture headed by Tom Ortenberg that will acquire and distribute films that can play in wide release on about 2000 screens.

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IMAX Q1 Down Due To Box Office Slump

The box office’s poor performance during the first part of the year has impacted IMAX, too. The giant-screen exhibitor reported first-quarter results this morning that saw revenue and earnings down. “The first quarter lacked event films, particularly compared to the phenomenal strength of last year’s Avatar, and our financial results as compared to last year reflect this,” IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond said. Imax reported a net loss for the first quarter of $1 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, down from $26.6 million last year. Revenue slid from $72.8 million a year ago to $45.2 million.

Imax did boost its outlook for theater installations after saying it signed agreements for 101 theater systems during the first quarter. It also announced that it will expand its credit facility to as much as $110 million, extending the maturity to October 2015.

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Sub Gains Boost Time Warner Cable 1Q

By | Thursday April 28, 2011 @ 6:49am PDT

Time Warner Cable revenue grew 5% to $4.8 billion during the first quarter, the nation’s second-largest cable company said today in reporting earnings, citing gains in subscribers to its high-speed broadband and phone services. Net income grew from $214 million a year ago to $325 million, or 93 cents per share, a figure that beat analyst expectations. Advertising revenue increased 13.9% to $197 million, driven by year-over-year increases in categories like automotive and media. “This is an exciting time for Time Warner Cable,” chairman, president and CEO Glenn Britt said in a statement. “Our high-speed data product just crossed the 10 million subscriber threshold and is quickly becoming the anchor product in the eyes of consumers. At the same time, new technology is making it possible for us to provide an even better video experience to our customers.”

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