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Wednesday, 18 April, 2001, 16:30 GMT 17:30 UK
AOL Time Warner profits rise
Miss Congeniality - William Shatner and Sandra Bullock
Miss Congeniality has earned $160m to date
AOL Time Warner, the world's largest internet and media company, has brushed off economic gloom by reporting profits in line with analyst expectations.

Its pre-tax profits for the first quarter, which also excluded charges, climbed by 20% to $2.1bn.

This was achieved on a 9% increase in sales of $9.1bn.

"We couldn't be more pleased with AOL Time Warner's performance in our first quarter as a new company," said Jerry Levin, chief executive.

Good news from the media giant contrasted with the recent flow of profit warnings, job losses and disappointing results coming from US companies.

Media Empire

AOL Time Warner's empire spans America Online, cable TV networks, music, film studios and blockbuster films.

Films and TV shows, such as the box-office success "Miss Congeniality" and the hit comedy show "Seinfeld", have added to the group's revenues.

HBO's Sex in the City
Subscriptions for the cable channel HBO, which launched Sex in the City, have increased
To date "Miss Congeniality" has contributed $160m to the coffers of Warner Bros.

Top worldwide sellers in the company's music division included Enya, Eric Clapton and Madonna.

Meanwhile CNN reinforced its position during the quarter as the leading 24-hour cable news network in terms of total viewers.

The network presented the top five of the most watched cable news programmes.

And, HBO, the entertainment network that launched the popular series "Sex in the City" and "The Sopranos", benefited from increased subscriber revenues.

Subscription growth

Growth in both the online and cable television subscriptions business was the engine driving the company's profits increase.

Total subscriptions rose by nearly 16%, while advertising and commerce revenues increased by 37% at AOL and 17% at Time Warner Cable.

"This outstanding quarter underscores the unique promise of AOL Time Warner, and the ability of our management team to collaborate in a focused, disciplined way," added Mr Levin.

Net loss

On a net basis, the company made a loss of $1.4bn. This includes merger costs and a $620m charge for the writedown of investments.

But the loss has narrowed from a year earlier when it was $1.5bn.

Last year's results were reported on an adjusted basis, assuming that the $106.2bn merger between AOL and Time Warner would be completed by 1 January.

Shares in AOL Time Warner were trading up $4.71 to $48.61 at 1630 GMT.

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16 Apr 01 | Business
AOL surfs past 29m subscribers
08 Mar 01 | Business
AOL could sign up with Napster
05 Mar 01 | Business
Vivendi 'to sell' AOL stake
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