Turner CEO Entangled in Divorce Battle as Company Performance Declines

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By Ben Myers

John K. Martin, Jr., CEO of Turner Broadcasting, is in the midst of a divorce battle. News of the split broke just before Time Warner Cable (TWC) posted its first-quarter results, which showed a decline in Turner’s performance.

Martin attended a preliminary conference with his estranged wife at New York Supreme Court after allegedly being kicked out of his marital home. The two were married at the Mandarin Oriental in Manhattan in 2012.

Turner’s CEO, who has an estimated net worth of $60 million, has reportedly been away from his family home for several months.

Martin became CEO of Turner – which owns CNN, TNT, Cartoon Network, HLN, Turner Sports and Turner Classic Movies – in 2014.

News of the divorce came just before Time Warner’s first-quarter earnings release, which showed a decline in advertising revenue.

Revenues for Turner increased by 6% to $3.1 billion thanks to a 12%, or $175 million, increase in subscription revenue. Content and other revenues increased by $29 million, or 16%, in the first quarter.

Advertising revenue, however, declined by $22 million, or 2%, partially offsetting revenue increases.

Turner’s international networks saw growth in the first quarter, and subscription revenue benefited from an uptick in domestic rates.

Content and other revenues increased thanks to a boost in domestic licensing revenue.

Lower delivery at certain networks hurt advertising revenues, but the decline was partially offset by an uptick in advertising revenue at Turner’s sports networks.

Turner’s operating income fell by 6% to $1.2 billion, offsetting revenue increases. The network incurred greater programming costs, which increased expenses. Programming costs jumped 17% in the first quarter, as sports and original programming becomes more costly to broadcast. Costs were also higher due to the network’s agreement with the NBA.

Adjusted operating income came in at $1.2 billion, a 4% decline.

Time Warner Cable, Turner’s parent company, reported overall strong results in the first quarter. Revenue increased by 6% from $7.3 billion in the first quarter of 2016 to $7.7 billion in Q1 2017.

Earnings per share came in at $1.80, up 19%.

Net income rose 17% to $1.42 billion from $1.21 billion in the same period last year.

Time Warner’s performance was boosted by HBO’s strong performance. The premium network saw a 22% increase in operating income, coming in at $583 million. HBO’s income boost more than offset the decline at Turner.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes did not address Turner’s declining performance in the company’s press release. Bewkes simply said the company had a “strong start in 2017.”

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