Warner Bros Discovery (WBD) increased its total number of direct-to-consumer (DTC) subscribers to 96.1 million but also posted US$217 million in streaming losses for the fiscal fourth quarter of 2022.
- WBD increased its global DTC subscriber base by 1.1 million since the end of Q3
- Media giant reported US$2.45 billion in streaming revenue, a six per cent year-over-year (YoY) increase
- Within the streaming segment, advertising revenue increased 75 per cent YoY, distribution revenue grew two per cent, and content revenue went up 28 per cent. Operating expenses decreased 12 per cent to US$2.67 billion
- The company’s networks segment recorded adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of US$2.48 billion. Revenues reached US$5.52 billion, a decline of six per cent YoY
- WBD’s total revenue for Q4 was US$11 billion, a drop of nine per cent YoY, in addition to a net loss of US$2.1 billion
Subscriber growth for WBD’s streaming services in Q4 was partially credited to the relaunch of HBO Max on Amazon channels last December. The rise in DTC revenue was primarily driven by strong gains in advertising revenue, due to an increase in subscribers on the services’ ad-supported tiers. Reduced expenditure was largely as a result of a lower marketing spend. WBD said the US$217 million loss in the streaming segment was a ‘US$511 million year-over-year improvement in losses.’
The company’s TV segment was affected by rival broadcasters drawing audiences for major sports events, with its advertising revenue declining by 14 per cent YoY. Many marketers looked to buy airtime on other networks such as Fox, which aired the 2022 Fifa World Cup during Q4.
The overall US$2.1 billion loss included major restructuring costs and write-downs, tied to the merger between Warner Bros and Discovery.
“With the major restructuring decisions behind us, this year we are focused on building and growing our businesses for the future, and we’re off to a great start,” said WBD president and chief executive David Zaslav (pictured above).
WBD will make several major moves later in the year, including the launch of its combined HBO Max and Discovery+ streaming service in April. Its joint venture with BT Sport will also see the UK pay-TV broadcaster rebrand as TNT Sports from this summer and both services rolled into a single streaming platform as part of a phased rollout.