Time Warner to Boost Annual Content Spending to $19 Billion Over Coming Years

Helen Sloan/HBO
'Game of Thrones'

Management also touts Warner Bros.' ability to grow "at attractive rates" over the coming years.

Time Warner plans to boost its annual spending on content to $19 billion "over the next few years," said chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes on Wednesday.

He said on the entertainment conglomerate's earnings conference call that the company spent $14.5 billion in 2014 on content production, programming and marketing. That would mean content spending would rise 30 percent over the coming years.

Read more Time Warner Posts Record Full-Year Adjusted Profit for HBO, Raises Dividend

The increase would benefit Turner networks and HBO original programming, which has included such hits as Game of Thrones and True Detective, sports content and the "biggest film and TV franchises" at Warner Bros., Bewkes said. "Those investments will continue to pay dividends," he said. 

Touting that the spinoff of Time Inc. has positioned TW as a pure-play video content company, Bewkes said, "We expect another great year in 2015." In the context of changes in the industry, he said the pace of change was accelerating, with a shift to on-demand consumption and advertisers’ demand for improved measurement.

Bewkes said all this means "new challenges for our industry, but also opportunities for the producers of the very best video content."

Read more Wall Street's Entertainment Stock Picks for 2015: Disney, Fox, Time Warner

Bewkes and TW CFO Howard Averill said that Warner Bros. could well set a profit record in 2015 and would be able to grow its earnings over the coming years. Bewkes cited a Game of Thrones game that would be a key financial contributor this year. Averill expressed confidence in the company's ability to grow its TV business over the next several years and said Warner has the strongest slate in its history longer-term. He said Warner Bros. would be able to grow "at attractive rates for the foreseeable future."

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai