Time Warner 3Q Profits Beat Expectations, AOL Weak

NEW YORK – Time Warner Inc. reported third-quarter profits Wednesday that beat Wall Street expectations, even as its AOL online unit continued to weigh down the company with a 6 percent decline in advertising revenue.

The media conglomerate saw growth in its cable-access and cable-network businesses, while revenue at its Warner Bros. movie division fell 9 percent compared with a strong 2007 period led by a "Harry Potter" sequel.

The Time Inc. magazine unit also showed weakness, and Time Warner lowered its full-year outlook partly to reflect severance and other costs for planned job cuts there.

Time Warner reported net income of $1.07 billion, or 30 cents a share, roughly in line with the $1.09 billion, or 29 cents per share, in the year-ago period.

The company reported an 18 percent growth in profits from continuing operations, and profit of 31 cents per share after excluding various one-time charges. That beat the 27 cents per share estimated by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue was largely flat at $11.71 billion, compared with $11.68 billion last year, and below analyst expectations of $11.9 billion.

Advertising revenue at AOL fell for the first time since the unit began transforming itself into an advertising company in late 2004. Ad revenue had been flat during the first half of the year after growing 41 percent in 2006 and 18 percent in 2007.

Time Warner blamed declines in online display advertising, something much of the industry has seen because of the weakening economy.