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Earnings preview: Time Warner Cable, DirecTV will be focus

Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 | 4:06 PM ET
Media giants' earnings on tap
Wednesday, 31 Jul 2013 | 1:00 PM ET
Media giant Time Warner Cable releases earnings before the bell, with investors looking to subscriber numbers. DirecTV is expected to show big revenue gains, while The New York Times is expected to continue its struggle with declining ad revenues. LinkedIn reports after the bell.

More media giants report on Thursday, and on the heels of Comcast's better-than-expected results, its rivals Time Warner Cable and DirecTV will both be in focus.

Time Warner Cable, the nation's second-largest cable provider after Comcast, is expected to grow revenue 3 percent to $5.58 billion, and earnings per share 15 percent to $1.65.

The big question is how many video subscribers the company loses and how many high-speed broadband customers it gains. There are some other big issues in focus—like the retirement of its CEO Glenn Britt at the end of the year.

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On the earnings call investors are sure to want to hear a bit from incoming CEO, currently COO and president, Robert Marcus.

Another hot topic: Time Warner Cable is in the midst of intense negotiations with CBS over the fees it pays the broadcaster. The question there: How much higher will content costs climb?

(Read more: Cable, content companies stop fighting: Comcast CEO)

Satellite TV giant DirecTV is expected to show bigger gains than its cable rival. Wall Street analysts are looking for 7 percent revenue growth to $7.75 billion and 22 percent earnings growth to $1.33 per share.

Unlike Comcast and Time Warner Cable, DirecTV also has operations in Latin America, which raises some questions about the current quarter. In June management said it overstated the number of Brazilian customers by about 200,000—we'll see how that impacts results. For its U.S. operations the question is again, how many customers it loses—losses are expected, we'll see whether they're as bad as feared.

The New York Times Co. is on track to continue to struggle with declining advertising as it pushes to grow digital subscription dollars. The publisher's revenue is anticipated to fall 5 percent to $487 million while earnings are expected to drop 16 percent to 12 cents.

Then after the bell we'll hear from business networking giant LinkedIn, which is on track to continue to expand revenue and profits at each of its three divisions—marketing solutions (ads), premium subscriptions and recruiting tools.

(Read more: Will LinkedIn's perfect earnings streak continue?)

The company's revenue is projected to gain 55 percent to $354 million while earnings are projected to catapult 91 percent higher to 31 cents per share.

LinkedIn has risen more than 75 percent year-to-date, and is up about 350 percent since its May 2011 initial public offering. We'll see what direction its latest results send the stock moving.

(Read more: Zynga folds on U.S. gambling bet, shares plunge)

—By CNBC's Julia Boorstin. Follow her on Twitter: @JBoorstin

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  • Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.