Political Ads Help Drive Time Warner Profit

Time Warner Cable’s profit is up 34% this quarter, despite losing 63,000 net subscribers. Its ad revenue, meanwhile, is up 23% this quarter, reflecting a larger ad rebound, as well as a pre-election ad buy. From Dow Jones Newswires:

…the advertising market continues to improve from a sharp downturn during the recession. Prices in the broadcast television ad market were reported to be up 30% in September, at the start of the fall season, from two months earlier, as political-ad demand has been strong. Ad-revenue growth is likely to be especially stout at cable-television networks.

Time Warner saw first-half strength in its film business and networks segment, which includes Turner Broadcasting and HBO. But its struggling news network CNN has replaced its leader and is shuffling the prime-time lineup to try and stem viewership loss. Chief Executive Jeff Bewkes has said Time Warner may look for acquisitions in emerging markets.

While political ads made Time Warner money, it still can’t attract viewers to its news. The Wall Street Journal has more on how the media giant profited, despite losing subscribers:

For the U.S. pay-television industry as a whole in the second quarter, total subscribers fell for the first time. Video revenue increased 1.7%, while high-speed data revenue jumped 10% and voice revenue increased 6.9%.

DSLReports adds more details:

On the heels of Comcast reporting they lost 275,000 subscribers, Time Warner Cable says they lost 155,000 video subscribers on the quarter, including digital — which usually sees gains. That’s compared to 64,000 losses last year at this time, when the economy was technically considered to be worse (the economy is traditionally the top reason given by cable execs for this new loss trend).

With subscriber loss more likely being technology-related than anything else, it might be time for Time Warner to take a hint from NBCU and Disney and jump into something like Hulu.

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