Time Warner call: HBO Now has 800K subs with more catalysts ahead

|About: Time Warner Inc. (TWX)|By:, SA News Editor

On Time Warner's (NYSE:TWX) earnings call, HBO was the frequent topic, and chief Richard Plepler pointed to a "terrific year" in subscriber growth: 2.7M additional subs in HBO and Cinemax, including from HBO Now, but he noted that the company now needed to go capture the revenue: "The 2.7M, those are full paying subscribers; our job now is to go as the deal renewal cycles open up at the end of this year and into the next 18 months, to go capture that revenue and we intend to do that."

HBO Now, the company's direct-to-consumer service, now has 800,000 paying subscribers, Plepler said on the call. That's below some bullish estimates for 1M, but Plepler said they're only just getting started: "We're not yet out on two major platforms, PlayStation and Xbox" -- on HBO Go, those platforms account for 20% of viewing -- "and we've not yet put out the content like Jon Stewart, Bill Simmons, Vice daily news show, that we think is particularly suited for those platforms."

Asked about how to compete with mobile advertising competitors, CEO Jeff Bewkes noted the company is going digital business to business, pointing to CNN ("very strong growth in all digital platforms, especially in mobile -- domestic and international"), Bleacher Report and Super Deluxe as particularly mobile-friendly.

And as for a much-discussed possible HBO spinoff: "The combined scale of our businesses is critical," Bewkes said.

After falling as much as 12.1% and hitting a 52-week low of $55.53 earlier, shares recovered briefly to the flat line after the call; they're now down 1.9%.

Previously: Time Warner -7.6% after movie results drive revenue miss (Feb. 10 2016)