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Warner Bros. shares hit all-time low: what’s happening with entertainment giant?

Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. shares hit their lowest level since the stock began trading in April of 2022, after the entertainment giant reported fourth-quarter revenue and profits that fell short of Wall Street forecasts amid declining TV advertising sales and weakness at its studios business.

The Warner Bros (REUTERS)
The Warner Bros (REUTERS)

Sales, at $10.3 billion, fell 7% from the same period last year, the company said Friday, and came in below analysts’ projections for $10.5 billion. Advertising revenue in the TV networks division dropped 12% to $1.9 billion. Revenue at its film and TV studios was $3.2 billion, down 18% from a year earlier.

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Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization came to $2.5 billion compared to estimates for $2.8 billion. The company lost 16 cents per share, a steeper drop than expected. Analysts also cited a lack of earnings guidance for the year.

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Shares were down 9.3% to $8.68 as of 12:23 p.m. in New York. Earlier they traded as low as $8.25.

Warner Bros., the parent of CNN, TNT and other networks, has been wrestling with a shift in TV viewing from traditional channels to streaming services. The strikes by Hollywood writers and actors shut down production last year.

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“This business is not without its challenges,” Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav said on an earnings call Friday. “Among them, we continue to face the impacts of ongoing disruption, and the pay-TV ecosystem and a dislocated linear advertising ecosystem. We are challenging our leaders to find innovative solutions.”

In a move to generate additional revenue, the company has been selling more programs to other streaming services such as Netflix Inc.

Direct to consumer subscribers, at 97.7 million, beat analysts’ estimates for 96 million. The number included 1.3 million subscribers from its acquisition of Turkish streaming service BluTV.

For the full year, the company’s streaming business, which includes the HBO channel, was profitable.

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