Companies providing entertainment content have begun releasing their earnings reports for the latest quarter. Here’s a look at reports and related developments for selected companies.
— April 18: For the second time in three years, a federal judge dismisses Viacom’s $1 billion copyright lawsuit against Google Inc.’s YouTube, saying the online video site doesn’t have to police itself as long as it removes infringing videos when copyright owners give notice.
Twitter launches a service that lets people find music they like and tweet songs from iTunes, Spotify and Rdio.
— April 22: Netflix Inc. says it added 2 million U.S. subscribers to its Internet video service during the first three months of the year, boosted by the release of a critically acclaimed series, “House of Cards.” That’s at the top end of the target set by the company’s management. The company’s first-quarter report also shows its profit margins are widening.
CBS Corp. says it has made a minority investment in Syncbak, a technology company that allows mobile device users to pick up signals from their local TV stations over the Internet.
News Corp. says it has reached a $139 million settlement in shareholder lawsuits over the British phone hacking scandal and the controversial purchase of an entertainment company run by founder Rupert Murdoch’s daughter.
— April 23: Aereo, the television-over-the-Internet service that is threatening the broadcast and cable TV industries, says it is expanding to the Boston area on May 15. With prices starting at $8 a month, Aereo will offer 28 Boston-area broadcast channels, plus the cable channel Bloomberg TV.
— April 25: Coinstar Inc. says first-quarter earnings plunged 58 per cent amid signs that its Redbox kiosks for DVD rentals are losing their appeal as more people switch to Netflix and other Internet video services. The results are still better than what analysts anticipated, despite Redbox’s slowing revenue growth. The company also discloses plans to change its name to Outerwall. Management says it believes the new identity underscores the company’s ambitions to push “the walls of retail into a new dimension.”
— April 30: DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc. says first-quarter net income fell 39 per cent, but its results far surpassed Wall Street’s expectations thanks to the success of “The Croods” and home videos of “Rise of the Guardians” and “Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted.”
— May 1: Comcast Corp. says revenue at NBCUniversal fell 2.4 per cent compared with last year’s quarter, when NBC aired the Super Bowl. CBS aired it this year. However, NBCUniversal’s operating cash flow, a measure of profitability, rose. At the cable networks, revenue grew 4.6 per cent, largely because of increased fees from cable and satellite TV companies that carry the channels on their lineups. Broadcast revenue fell, even after excluding the Super Bowl, because of lower prime-time ratings and lower revenue from content licensing. Revenue at the Universal Pictures studio increased 2 per cent, thanks to “Les Miserables,” ”Identity Thief” and “Mama.”
Time Warner Inc. says earnings grew 24 per cent despite a slight drop in revenue. Revenue growth at television channels such as TBS and HBO was offset by declines elsewhere. Revenue at the Warner Bros. studio fell 4 per cent because its movies didn’t do as well in theatres and it had fewer TV shows available for licensing abroad. Revenue at the television networks grew 3 per cent, largely because of increased fees from cable and satellite distributors.
Viacom Inc. says net income dropped 18 per cent in the latest quarter because of lower revenue, especially from the filmed entertainment division that includes Paramount Pictures. It’s a tough comparison to last year, when Viacom was raking in proceeds from “Mission Impossible — Ghost Protocol,” and the company surpassed Wall Street’s profit expectations. Revenue from the television networks, which include Comedy Central and MTV, grew 2 per cent thanks to more robust advertising and fees from distributors.
CBS Corp. says it had record revenue in the first three months of the year and profit that beat analysts’ expectations as big events like the Super Bowl pushed advertising revenue higher. Ad revenue was up 8 per cent to $2.46 billion, but content licensing fees fell 1 per cent to $1.01 billion.
— May 7: The Walt Disney Co. (ABC, ESPN)
— May 8: News Corp. (Fox)
— May 9: Sony Corp. (Sony Pictures)