Financial Roundup (four postings)

05 November 2004

Latest interim and annual postings by major marketers, agencies and media ...


  • Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (calendar H1)
    Like Hamlet without the prince, the jailed domestic diva's exploitation vehicle is sorely missing its core ingredient.
        However, the company said this week it had filed amended statements with the Securities and Exchange Commission to restate its loss for the six months to June 30.
        This fell slightly to $37.3 million (€29.17m; £20.22m) from the $39.6m initially reported. The improvement is due to a change in accounting policy for subscription acquisition costs in the third quarter.
       MSLO also said it expects to finish 2004 with cash and investments of $130 million.

  • News Corporation (fiscal Q1)
    Rupert Murdoch's family business on Wednesday announced a year-on-year profit increase of nearly 30%. Net income rose 27% to $536 million (€419.18m; £290.59m), while revenue rose 12% to $5.2 billion.
        The cable networks unit upped operating profit 47% to $196m from $133m the year before, with operating income at Fox News jumping 20% on higher ad revenue.
        But the filmed entertainment operating division saw profit drop 13% to $285m due to higher marketing costs.

  • NTL (calendar Q3)
    The group, which is listed in the USA but operates exclusively in Britain, reported gross revenues of £583.1 million ($1.08bn; €841.11m) against £555.2m last time.
        Combined segment profits, NTL-speak for EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) fell to £178.5m from £200.1m because of a substantial but unexplained charge (see final paragraph).
        Residential division revenues rose 9% to £405m after adding 187,900 customers - the highest number of quarterly additions since 2000. It also added 83,600 broadband users, lifting ADSL penetration among its 2.98m residential customers to 38.9%.
        With its three existing broadband products, NTL intends to hold prices at current levels through 2005 while more than doubling speeds to 1Mb, 2Mb and 3Mb.
       Crows ceo Simon Duffy: "This is a sign of NTL showing to consumers, competitors and the marketplace that we've the capability of matching and beating anybody else's offer."
        However, NTL's upbeat spin on its residential broadband business was marred by a £29.4m charge related to underestimated costs of an undisclosed contract in its broadcasting division, which is now up for sale.

  • Time Warner (calendar Q3)
    Net income at the world's largest media company fell nearly 8% year-on-year to $499 million (€390.24m; £270.53m). However, revenues rose to almost $10 billion, up 5%.
        The profits plunge is due to a $500 million reserve to cover potential settlement penalties levied by the Securities and Exchange Commission and Justice Department following probes into accounting at America Online.
        Time Warner said further adjustments "may be necessary" to cover shareholder lawsuits triggered by the investigations. In a worst-case scenario this could swallow around twelve months of free cashflow - around $4 billion.

    Data sourced from multiple origins; additional content by WARC staff