Cable affiliate fees prove key to media giants' results

Time Warner, Comcast and Viacom in the most recent quarter boosted their results mostly through strong growth in cable network affiliate fees. Time Warner posted a 23% jump in profit -- despite TV ad revenue dropping 1% -- because of a 5.3% increase in affiliate fees for TBS, TNT, HBO and other networks. Comcast's earnings were up 17%, with affiliate fees for NBCUniversal channels such as USA and Bravo going up 8.6% and ad sales increasing by 2.5%. Meanwhile, Viacom saw its profit drop by 18%, due to problems in its movie unit, but tallied a 3% increase in domestic affiliate fees and a 2% rise in ad revenue.

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