Time Warner is the world’s third-largest entertainment company behind Comcast and Disney, with an array of successful media brands that produce and distribute many of the most popular movies and television shows in the world.
Time Warner includes Turner, home to cable networks and digital media properties such as CNN, TNT, and Adult Swim. It also includes Home Box Office (HBO), which is the company’s premium network that airs hit shows such as Game of Thrones; and Warner Bros., which produces and distributes television shows, movies, and video games.
These three divisions helped Time Warner post revenues of nearly $30 billion in 2016.
A Quick History of Time Warner
Time Warner’s history is one of mergers, acquisitions, consolidation, and spinoffs.
In 1989, Time Inc., publisher of Sports Illustrated, Fortune, and People magazine, agreed to merge with Warner Communications, creating a giant media conglomerate. Seven years later, the company purchased Turner Broadcasting System for $7.5 billion, acquiring CNN, TBS, Cartoon Network, and TNT.
In 2000, at the peak of the dot-com boom, Time Warner agreed to be purchased by AOL for more than $160 billion. It was one of the biggest mergers of all time and in retrospect, one of the worst in corporate history. In 2009, Time Warner spun off AOL and Time Warner Cable into separate companies. Four years later, it spun off Time Inc. and no longer owns its namesake magazine.
In 2016, AT&T made an offer to acquire Time Warner for $84.5 billion – the deal is awaiting regulatory approval.
Here is a breakdown of Time Warner’s most popular businesses and brands:
Time Warner’s collection of sports, entertainment, and news TV networks and sites – including CNN, Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, Bleacher Report, TNT, truTV, and TBS, among others – falls under its Turner division. Turner operates more than 170 channels worldwide.
Turner reported revenues of $11.4 billion in 2016, which amounts to 38 percent of the company’s total revenue.
Below are some of Turner’s most popular business segments:
CNN, Turner’s premier news network debuted in 1980 and has been broadcasting news every minute of every day continuously since then. The network runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and reaches more than 90 million households in the U.S., with an additional 300 million around the world. CNN was the first 24-hour cable news channel and was the first all-news channel in the world. Its top shows include Anderson Cooper’s AC360, The Lead with Jake Tapper, The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, and The Update, a daily news show that airs on Snapchat. CNN had its best year ever in 2016, ranking #1 in both broadcast and cable networks on the night of the U.S. presidential election.
Turner bought the sports website Bleacher Report in 2012 for an undisclosed amount, though the deal is reported to have been around $200 million. In 2016, the site was the leading digital sports destination across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Adult Swim, launched in 2001, broadcasts animated and live-action shows for young adults. Top shows on Adult Swim include Rick and Morty and Robot Chicken. The network holds the top spot in basic cable among millennial viewers.
HBO is the most-watched subscription-based premium cable network in the country. Along with Cinemax, another movie channel, it has 134 million subscribers worldwide. In 2016, HBO won 22 Emmy Awards, more than any other network for the 15th consecutive year. This year, HBO was nominated for 111 Emmys, taking home 29 awards.
HBO recorded revenues of $5.9 billion in 2016, which amounts to 20 percent of Time Warner’s total revenues.
Here are some of HBO’s most popular shows:
Game of Thrones is HBO’s biggest ever series – the season 7 premiere in July 2017 drew in more than 10 million viewers, making it the most-watched premiere in the network’s history. It has one more season of 13 episodes to air, though HBO said it is considering spinoffs.
Veep, HBO’s scripted comedy about a fictitious U.S. vice president, has been nominated for Emmy Awards six years in a row. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, who plays the lead in Veep, made history after she won the Emmy for best actress in a comedy six consecutive times.
Warner Bros. is the largest television and film studio in the world by revenue and is the number one producer of primetime TV series for U.S. broadcast networks. It produced 75 television series in the U.S. for the 2016-2017 season, including 2 Broke Girls, The Big Bang Theory, iZombie, and The Bachelor.
The studio’s brands include the Harry Potter, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings franchises. In 2016, Warner Bros. released 19 feature films – including Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad – helping it generate nearly $5 billion at the global box office.
In 2017, Warner Bros. released Wonder Woman, which earned more than $820 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing film directed by a female director.
Warner Bros. posted 2016 revenues of $13 billion, accounting for 42 percent of Time Warner’s total revenues.
Notable Equity Investments
Last year, Time Warner agreed to buy a 10 percent stake for $583 million in video service provider Hulu. Comcast, Disney, and 21st Century Fox each own 30 percent of Hulu. Time Warner’s current seasons of content are available on Hulu’s $40-a-month cable TV package.
Warner Bros. owns a 25 percent stake in movie ticket company Fandango. The deal was part of Fandango’s acquisition of Rotten Tomatoes and Flixter from Warner Bros.
In 2015, Time Warner’s Turner division paid nearly $200 million for a majority stake in iStreamPlanet, a video streaming services company. iStreamPlanet specializes in live and traditional TV streaming over the Internet.
Stash and Timer Warner
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