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Time Warner sprints ahead, AOL crawls

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Time Warner's cable, film and TV network businesses contributed to an $900m increase in quarterly revenues, while turnover at AOL was flat. In its first quarter to the end of March, the media conglomerate had revenues of $10.1bn, up from $9.2bn for the same quarter of 2003. The company had net income of $961m, or $0.20 per share, more than double the $396m it earned in the same quarter last year, when it had EPS of $0.09. This quarter's earnings blew past analysts' per share expectation of $0.09.

AOL's revenues were flat for the quarter, in contrast to the cable and film businesses, where revenues rose 11 per cent and 25 per cent respectively. The TV network business was up five per cent and revenues for its publishing business were down six per cent. AOL accounts for 22 per cent of the conglomerate's revenues, whereas cable accounts for 20 per cent, film 29 per cent and TV networks 22 per cent.

"We posted very attractive top-line results, led by spectacular quarters from our film studios and television networks," said Dick Parsons, chairman and chief executive. "These results put us comfortably on track to meet all of our 2004 financial targets."

AOL subscription revenues were up one per cent, $21m, driven by its US broadband business, a growing European subscription business and the strength of the euro against the dollar. However, these gains were offset by declines in US narrowband membership and an increase in value-added taxes at AOL Europe. AOL's advertising revenues fell five per cent and other revenues also fell 21 per cent.

AOL has 24 million members in the US, down 237,000 for the quarter. AOL Europe has 6.4 million members, up 38,000 for the quarter. The ISP forecasts revenue growth for the full year of "greater than 10 per cent".

© ENN

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