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LEGO Batman drives Time Warner’s surprise profit

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LEGO Batman did not just save Gotham City this year he also helped deliver a healthy lift to the bottom line of entertainment giant Time Warner.

The company reported its first quarter result on Wednesday night, Australian time,  and told investors that movies including The Lego Batman Movie and Kong: Skull Island had helped buoy the result beyond analyst expectations.

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There are big changes brewing in Gotham, and if he wants to save the city from The Joker’s hostile takeover, Batman may have to drop the lone vigilante thing, try to work with others and maybe, just maybe, learn to lighten up.

Revenue from Warner Bros, which includes the movie business and is the company’s biggest unit by revenue, rose 8.2 per cent to $US3.37 billion ($4.5 billion).

As of April 30, Kong: Skull Island had grossed more than $US562 million globally, according to tracking firm Box Office Mojo.

The LEGO Batman Movie has lifted Time Warner The LEGO Batman Movie has lifted Time Warner 

The LEGO Batman Movie grossed more than $US308 million globally, as of April 30, according to Box Office Mojo.

Revenue from Home Box Office (HBO), known for its hugely popular show “Game of Thrones”, rose 4.1 per cent to $US1.57 billion.

The latest season of Game of Thrones is set to premiere in July this year.

“We’re off to a strong start to 2017, as we continue to benefit from the investments we’re making in the best content while also developing new revenue streams that will drive growth and meet consumer demand for great experiences built around their favorite programming and brands,” said chairman and chief executive Jeff Bewkes.

Game of Thrones has helped underpin strong performance from HBO. Game of Thrones has helped underpin strong performance from HBO. Photo: Facebook

​”Home Box Office shined in the quarter highlighted by our limited series Big Little Lies, which was both a critical and cultural breakout. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is having its most-watched season to date, and we recently had the much anticipated returns of Silicon Valley and Veep.”

Excluding exceptional items, the company earned $US1.66 per share, beating the average analysts’ estimate of $US1.45 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Like other media companies, Time Warner has also been struggling to keep its viewers hooked to its channels, at a time when most audience are flocking to online streaming services such as Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc’s Prime.

This has resulted in shorter TV seasons and hurt writers’ earnings, who are paid per episode. Hollywood writers and representatives of movie studios reached a tentative deal on Tuesday, averting a second strike in 10 years.

The company’s net income increased to $US1.42 billion, or $US1.80 per share, in the first quarter ended March 31, from $US1.21 billion, or $US1.51 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose to $US7.74 billion from $US7.31 billion.

Time Warner said it was on track to close its merger with AT&T before the end of 2017. American President Donald Trump has, during his election campaign, opposed the $85.4 billion deal.

Analysts on an average had expected revenue of $7.67 billion.

Reuters

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