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Warner Bros. Discovery sinks on earnings miss, weak advertising revenue

Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) reported disappointing quarterly results after the bell on Thursday as the company continues to grapple with increased cord cutting, more streaming competition, and a double-digit decline in its TV advertising business.

Network advertising revenue tumbled by 17% in the fourth quarter, or 14% excluding foreign exchange, after falling 11% (ex foreign exchange) in Q3 as macro headwinds continue to pressure legacy media giants.

On the streaming side, the company failed to beat subscriber estimates, adding just 1.1 million paying users in the quarter despite HBO Max returning to Amazon Prime Video Channels (AMZN), in addition to the debuts of popular original series like "The Last of Us," "The White Lotus," and "House of the Dragon."

Warner Bros. Discovery shares fell as much as 4% following this report. Year-to-date, however, the stock has gained more than 60%.

Here are Warner Bros. Discovery's fourth quarter results compared to Wall Street's consensus estimates, as compiled by Bloomberg:

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  • Revenue: $11.01 billion versus $11.23 billion expected

  • Adj. loss per share: -$0.86 versus -$0.13 expected

  • Total DTC subscribers: 1.1 million net additions versus 1.6 million net additions expected

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav overseeing company rebrand
Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav overseeing company rebrand (Rick Wilking / reuters)

The embattled media giant, which is now targeting $4 billion in cost saving synergies over the next two years, up from the previous $3.5 billion, reported a net loss of $2.1 billion in the three months ending December 31. It previously reported a loss of $2.3 billion in Q3 and a $3.4 billion loss in Q2.

Warner Bros. Discovery CEO David Zaslav touted the company's future in the earnings release, writing: "With the major restructuring decisions behind us, this year we are focused on building and growing our businesses for the future, and we're off to a great start. We're seeing strong momentum across the enterprise, including our exciting long-term plans for DC Studios, the historic success of our latest HBO series The Last of Us, the significant financial and operating gains in DTC, and the record sales of our newest game Hogwarts Legacy."

"With our unparalleled portfolio of assets and IP, a growing roster of exceptional creative talent, and some of the buzziest storytelling in the industry, we believe we have repositioned our businesses to take full advantage of the many opportunities ahead," he added.

Alexandra is a Senior Entertainment and Media Reporter at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193 and email her at alexandra.canal@yahoofinance.com

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