by Bridget Parker
History of Time Warner
Time Warner Inc., is a mega media conglomerate that dominates both the film and television entertainment sectors. During the late 1980’s, there was a period of buyout in which Time Inc. was looking to merge with another company rather than be assumed fully by some unfamiliar corporation. Warner Communications’ seemed to be perfect match and they partnered in 1990, and thus Time Warner, Inc. was born .
HBO is a leading subscription-based television service offering two television networks, HBO and Cinemax. In 2013, HBO maintained its #1 spot on the domestic front as the highest-rated premium tv service, in both primetime and total day. As a global force, both HBO and Cinemax are accessible in over 60 countries, and HBO’s original programming is licensed to TV networks in over 150 .
Known for pushing the envelope with edgy and compelling dramas, HBO has a reputation for racking up awards every year and this year was no exception. Starting off 2014, HBO received 19 Primetime Emmy Awards, with True Detective leading the pack, coming in at five awards. After becoming an overnight success, the second season was ordered and in recent news, the cast for Season 2 has officially signed on. The cast will be comprised of: Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch and Kelly Reilly .
Among other hit shows, HBO concluded the fifth and final season of Boardwalk Empire in October. While the finale rolled in at 2.3 million viewers and was up 7% from last year’s, it was still down from this year’s premiere. Also, it is important to note that the finale was aired multiple times, and these numbers are not calculated from just the regular timeslot, but take into account viewers tuning in at any of the various times .
Also on the topic of series finales is Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom, which premiered on November 9th for its third and final season . From the beginning, critics argued that the show seemed to fall short of what is expected from Sorkin. When the show wasn’t immediately picked up for a third season in traditional HBO fashion, it seemed the ratings began to reflect those critiques.
This season the ratings continue to dive, dropping almost 45% in its premiere in comparison to last season’s. To add insult to injury, the formerly summer based show decided instead on a fall launch, forcing it to go up against AMC’s fan-favorite and rating-generator, The Walking Dead .
As for the remainder of the fall slate, The Comeback has hardly made any sort of comeback, drawing less than half a million viewers. The lack of viewership seems to be attributed to the fact that it is returning after a 10-year hiatus . Also, the return of Getting On in its second season has definitely drawn praise from viewers and critics, but the numbers just still aren’t there .
Looking forward, HBO has confirmed a January 11th, 2015 back-to-back half-hour lineup. The reigning half-hours return with Girls and Looking, followed by a new series called Togetherness . From brothers Jay and Mark Duplass, comes a dramedy about two couples living together in Los Angeles, trying to mend their respective relationships, while attempting to follow their own individual dreams .
On the business end of things, the company recently announced that they will offer a stand-alone HBO streaming service as of 2015 . This news shocked devout HBO subscribers and media professionals alike, due heavily in part to the fact that there has been a great deal of discussion surrounding whether or not HBO would ever form a stand-alone streaming service housing all of their original programming, without requiring a television subscription. However, HBO’s long-standing answer has always been a firm “no”.Nonetheless, the over-the-top, stand-alone service will become reality next year. At a Time Warner, Inc. investor meeting, Richard Plepler, CEO of HBO, explained the reasoning behind the move, saying that this “…is a large and growing opportunity that should no longer be left untapped. It is time to remove all barriers to those who want HBO” .
TurnerTurner Broadcasting System, Inc. is a mega-media conglomerate that supervises news, entertainment, sports, animation, young adult and children media networks. With a plethora of leading television networks, Turner reaches a vast range of demographics.
Under Turner 2020, TNT has already cancelled three shows (Dallas, Franklin & Bash, and Perception) . Although all three have consistently dropped in viewership, more so they don’t align with the move toward edgier entertainment .
Other sectors of the overhaul include Boomerang, the popular Cartoon Network derivative, that brings classic cartoons to today’s kids. However, the network will be re-introduced globally to include both the vintage shows parents remember, and new contemporary ones .Turner also reached a deal with the NBA that added 12 live regular season games per year to air on TNT. Although Turner and the NBA have a history together, this partnership would make TNT home to opening night and more NBA Playoff games than any other network. This includes sought after Thursday night doubleheaders, All-Star Weekend events, and one of the Conference finals . Most substantially, Turner Sports’ TV Everywhere rights will apply to all NBA Content, giving them the power to distribute content across various digital platforms .
In other sports news, TBS averaged 4.3 million total viewers in the MLB Postseason, making it the most-viewed postseason telecast since 2010 .However, the most significant of Turner’s updates was the Dish – Turner dispute. On October 21st, 2014 Dish subscribers had channels blackout which was the result of the two companies distribution agreement expiring before they arrived at an updated agreement . The carriage dispute ragged on for two weeks, neither company admitting fault other than that of the other. Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen implied that Dish was ready to drop the channels permanently, when he stated:
“We would save a big, big, big check from a cash flow perspective…it’s hard to pay a double-digit price increase for something that people are watching half as much as they used to watch. It’s Turner’s job to make their product better. Not ours” .
Needless to say, the channels were reinstated in November after the two decided on a contract extension pending a longer-term agreement .
FinancialsTime Warner’s 3Q highlights include:
- Revenue up 3% to $6.2 billion
- Both Turner and HBO with a 10% subscription increase
- Adjusted EPS climbed 34% to $1.22
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 The TWC Story, TimeWarnerCable.com, RT: 12/01/2014
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 The Newsroom Final Season Poster, Collider.com, 10/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
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 “HBO Chairman and CEO Richard Plepler Announces HBO to Offer a Stand-Alone HBO Streaming Service in 2015”, TimeWarner.com, 10/15/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 Richard Plepler at the Time Warner Inc. Investor Meeting, TVOverMind.com, 10/15/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 “HBO to offer online-only option next year — no more need for cable subscription”, TheWashingtonPost.com, 10/15/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 Turner Logo, Promaxbda.org, RT: 12/01/2014
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 “Time Warner C.F.O. sheds some light on ‘Turner 2020″, CapitalNewYork.com, 9/18/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 “Turner Broadcasting, Home of CNN, TBS and TNT, Will Cut 1,475 jobs”, TheNewYorkTimes.com, 10/6/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 2013-14 TV Season Scorecard, MetaCritic.com, 8/8/2013, RT: 12/01/2014
 “Kevin Reilly on Turner Move, Industry Rumors and Leaving Broadcast Forever”, TheHollywoodReporter.com, 11/4/2014 RT: 12/01/2014
 “Franklin & Bash’ Cancelled By TNT After Four Seasons”, Deadline.com, 11/11/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 “Turner Rebrands Boomerang Globally”, TimeWarner.com, 10/14/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 NBA on TNT Logo, Blogs.Adobe.com, RT: 12/01/2014
 “Turner Broadcasting and the National Basketball Association Reach Nine-Year Media Rights Extension”, TimeWarner.com, 10/6/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 “NBA extends partnership with Turner Broadcasting, Disney”, NBA.com, 10/6/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 “2014 MLB Postseason on TBS Averages 4.3 Million Total Viewers; Turner Sports’ Most-Viewed Postseason Coverage since 2010”, TimeWarner.com, 10/16/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
[33-34] “Dish, Turner dispute continues, eight channels still black”, HD-Report.com, 10/31/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 “Turner Broadcasting Says It’s “Unclear” Why Charlie Ergen’s Upset With Its Nets”, Deadline.com, 11/5/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 “Dish Restores CNN, Cartoon Network in Contract Extension”, Bloomberg.com, 11/21/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 Q3 2014 Earnings Release, TimeWarner.com, 11/5/2014, RT: 12/01/2014
 Summary of Time Warner Stock, TimeWarner.com, 12/02/2014, RT: 12/02/2014
[39-40] Annual Reports, TimeWarner.com, 2013, RT: 12/01/2014
 Jeff Bewkes Profile, TimeWarner.com, RT: 12/01/2014
 Howard M. Averill Profile, TimeWarner.com, RT: 12/01/2014