Warner Bros. Discovery Studios’ Q4 Content Sales Revenue Dropped 19%

Warner Bros. Discovery’s Studios business segment reported fourth-quarter content sales revenue of $2.9 billion, down 19% from revenue of $3.6 billion in the previous-year period.

Content sales, which include distribution across streaming, cable, satellite and broadcast networks, local television stations, and airlines, also encompass Warner Bros. Home Entertainment.

The latter oversees the global distribution of content through physical discs (Blu-ray Disc and DVD) and digital media in the form of electronic sell-through and video-on-demand via cable, satellite, online, and mobile distribution channels.

TV content revenue declined primarily due to the impact of last year’s WGA and SAG-AFTRA labor strikes, and comparisons with certain large content licensing deals in the prior year period. Theatrical revenue increased due to a larger release slate in the current year quarter (Wonka, Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom and The Color Purple). Games revenue increased due to the continued performance of Hogwarts Legacy, including the Q4 launch on the Nintendo Switch platform.

The top-selling Warner digital and packaged media release in 2023 was Barbie (released Oct. 17, 2023), followed by the disc release of the DC Comics anti-hero film Black Adam on Jan. 3, 2023.

Total studios revenue declined 17% to $3.17 billion from $3.84 billion. Operating income fell 29% to $543 million from $768 million.

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Studios operating expenses decreased 15% to $2.63 billion compared to $2.28 billion in the prior year quarter. Costs of revenue decreased 26%, primarily driven by lower TV content expense, including strike-related impacts, partially offset by higher games content expense. SG&A expenses increased 38%, primarily driven by higher theatrical marketing expense due to the larger release slate.

Max to Stream Four Docs Celebrating Warner’s 100th Anniversary

Warner Bros. Discovery’s streaming service Max (formerly HBO Max) May 18 announced it will debut four Max Original Documentary Specials — the first two on May 25 and the last two on June 1 — to commemorate the centennial celebration of the Warner Bros. studio.

Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the docs feature interviews with more than 60 renowned actors, industry executives and directors. The specials are executive produced by Leslie Iwerks, Mike Darnell, Brooke Karzen, Dan Sacks and Bridgette Theriault. Rebecca Ratliff Cameron, Richard Burgio and Stacey Thomas-Muir serve as co-executive producers.

The first two specials will also premiere at the French Festival de Cannes on May 24 as a 2023 Official Cannes Classics Selection.

They include 100 Years of Warner Bros. — The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of. It chronicles the story of the four Warner brothers (Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack) who set out to build a movie studio from the ground up — while making a giant leap from silent films to “talkies.” As the brothers stand up to WWII Nazism, personal ambitions lead to family betrayal.

The second documentary, 100 Years of Warner Bros. — Clint, Kubrick and Kryptonite, showcases the studio after its sale, and how Warner Bros. navigated the upheavals of the 1960s and 1970s. Under a new strategist CEO, the company enters an era of unmatched storytelling with groundbreaking ­projects.

The third documentary, 100 Years of Warner Bros. — Heroes, Villains and Friends, showcases the 1980s, as a new moviegoing generation helps crown Warner Bros. as a frontrunner in Hollywood’s blockbuster age. After a historic merger, the company becomes one of the biggest entertainment giants in the world.

The final documentary, 100 Years of Warner Bros. — Wizarding World and the Big Bang, showcases the millennium as in a new era of business partnerships, bookended by mergers, Warner Bros. continues to champion authentic voices while harnessing the latest technologies of the digital age.

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