Earnings Preview: Time Warner reports Weds.
Time Warner is expected to report more robust earnings and revenue for the fourth quarter Wednesday, with rising fees from TV distributors and higher ad revenue offsetting declines at its movie studio and magazine division.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR: The company may discuss its strategic priorities in fuller detail after a couple of major corporate reorganizations recently.
The Time Inc. magazine division began to lay off about 6 percent of its global workforce of 8,000 last week, as it prepares to do more to deliver its content on multiple platforms and devices, and cut costs in line with falling print subscription and ad revenue.
The company also announced the appointment of Kevin Tsujihara as the next CEO of the Warner Bros. movie and TV production studio on Monday. Tsujihara, the president of the studio's home entertainment division since 2005, has played a key role in guiding the company's push onto digital platforms.
The studio and the publishing divisions have been overshadowed by the success of Time Warner's TV network business, including TBS and TNT, which accounted for three quarters of the company's operating profit in 2011.
THE BIG PICTURE: Time Warner's largest division is its TV networks business, covering Turner networks and premium channel HBO. The studio is next biggest in terms of revenue but generates smaller profits, while the publishing entity is expected to see revenue decline this year while maintaining profits from cost cuts.
THE ANALYSIS: Morgan Stanley analyst Benjamin Swinburne says Time Warner has four key growth drivers: rising fees from TV distributors as it renews deals, growth from its international TV networks, rising revenue from online subscription video services and cost cuts.
In late January he raised his price target on shares to $55 from $50, calling the stock "a low risk play in '13."
WHAT'S EXPECTED: Analysts, on average, expect fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.10 per share on revenue of $8.25 billion, according to FactSet.
LAST YEAR'S QUARTER: Time Warner Inc. posted adjusted earnings of 94 cents per share on revenue of $8.19 billion.