Time Warner's stock is soaring — now up over 8 percent — on strong fourth quarter results and an upbeat outlook for 2011 that tops Wall Street expectations.
Earnings per share grew 22 percent, on eight percent higher revenue, driven by higher advertising, subscriptions and content revenue, especially at its cable networks. The company stressed that it's investing in content, and in digital and international expansion. That's not all — the company's board approved an 11 percent dividend increase and upped its stock repurchase plan to $5 billion.
Cable networks continue to be Time Warner's crown jewel — profit jumped 20 percent on 14 percent higher revenue. Domestic demand for ads is back — a closely-watched ad revenue number jumped 14 percent. Higher subscription fees came largely from higher rates from HBO Central Europe.
As the company raised its outlook for 2011 it presented a more confident, aggressive image. On the earnings call today CEO Jeff Bewkes said "we're even more confident so we're going to take even more aggressive steps." That means expanding internationally and squeezing out more digital revenue.