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Batman and Mortal Kombat video games boost Time Warner profits

Batman and Mortal Kombat video games boost Time Warner profits
The video game 'Batman: Arkham Knight' helped boost profits for Warner Bros.

Batman gave Time Warner a big lift in the second quarter.

Time Warner earnings jumped 14% to $971 million, or $1.16 a share in the second quarter, while revenue increased 8% to $7.35 billion.

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And much of the credit goes to the popularity of new video game releases "Batman: Arkham Knight" and "Mortal Kombat X."

Thanks to those titles, video game revenue surpassed half a billion in the three months ended June 30, making Warner Bros. the top U.S. video game publisher in the first half of the year, the company said.

The growth of the games business helped operating income at Burbank-based Warner Bros. jump 46% to $341 million in the second quarter.

An increase in television licensing revenues from "The Big Bang Theory" and "Seinfeld" also helped the studio. Warner Bros. has 62 television programs slated for the upcoming TV season, including 29 on the broadcast networks, making it the top supplier of broadcast series again this year.

Warner Bros. didn't fare as well on the film side of the business. Theatrical revenues decreased in the second quarter, primarily due to lower world television licensing revenues of movies and a decline in home entertainment revenue compared to the same time a year ago, when the studio released "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug."

Turner, the division that includes CNN, TNT and TBS, saw a 21% bump in operating income. Despite the popularity of shows such as "Game of Thrones," operating income at HBO dropped 7%, mainly because of higher marketing and technology costs related to the launch of the streaming service HBO Now.

Overall, the results easily exceeded Wall Street's forecast.  Analysts polled by Thomson Financial expected earnings of $1.03 a share on revenue of $6.9 billion.

Despite the results, shares in Time Warner, which closed Tuesday at $87.65, dropped 6% in early afternoon trading Wednesday.

That follows a decline in other media stocks, including rival Walt Disney Co., amid concern that more consumers are cutting back on or abandoning their cable TV service. Disney shares fell as much as 8% in early trading.

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