Without a Harry Potter or a Hangover sequel in theaters in the second quarter, Time Warner saw its net income plummet by a third to $430 million versus $638 million during the same quarter a year ago. Revenue was down 4.1 percent to $6.74 billion. Wall Street had anticipated the decline -- and was No Doubt aware that the latest Batman movie would go a long way to correcting that downturn in the current quarter. Time Warner shares were up 2 percent in midmorning trading to $38.40. In a statement, Time Warner chief Jeff Bewkes pointed to substantial growth of most of the company's cable networks. TNT, he noted, turned out to be the No. 1 network on basic cable, aided by its NBA coverage and the introduction of original series like Dallas. TBS saw ratings in the 18-49 age group rise 30 percent, helped in great measure by the success of reruns of The Big Bang Theory. HBO's viewership rose thanks to original series such as True Blood and Game of Thrones. However, analysts quickly spotted a conspicuous exception to the overall good health of the Time Warner networks. CNN, which has usually managed to show substantial revenue growth despite cratered ratings, saw its earnings -- and that of sibling network HLN -- fall precipitously, helping to explain this week's surprise announcement by its chief, Jim Walton, that he will leave the company at the end of the year.

01/08/2012