Wondering why you still need a cable TV package to subscribe to HBO in the US? Because HBO is making truckloads of cash keeping things the way they are, even though that might not last forever. Its parent company Time Warner announced financial results for the year, and for the first time in years, it included some details about HBO’s business. HBO alone pulled in $1.3 billion in the last three months of 2013, and $4.9 billion for the entire year.
Time Warner’s fourth quarter results topped Wall Street forecasts, with the better-than-expected revenue increase driven by the cable TV businesses and Warner Bros.’s theatrical releases. The media conglom’s revenue rose 5% in the fourth quarter, to $8.57 billion, and the company posted earnings per share of $1.17 (excluding certain items), up 1% from $1.16 in the year-earlier quarter. Analysts had forecast $8.39 billion in revenue and $1.15 adjusted EPS. However, Time Warner’s total net income in the fourth quarter fell 12% to $983 million. The company cited higher programming costs for HBO and Turner Broadcasting and declines at Time Inc., the flagging publishing unit Time Warner plans to divest by mid-year. Full-year 2013 net profit jumped 26% to $3.69 billion.