Earnings: WMG Ups Digital 41 Percent Annually; Records Loss In ‘Challenging’ Year

Warner Music Group (NYSE: WMG) digital revenue grew nine percent in the last three months of 2007 to $141 million. Digital now makes up 14 percent of total group revenue and is up 41 percent over the corresponding 2006 quarter.

Overall, revenue rose 6.6 percent to $989 million but WMG made a $16 million net operating loss, including an $18 million impairment from the purchase of concert promoter Bulldog last May. That’s down from a net income of $18 million in the corresponding 2006 quarter. So CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr started the release predictably: “2007 was a challenging year for the recorded music industry … We recognize that there remains much to be accomplished.” It continued: “The shift in consumption patterns from physical sales to new forms of digital music continues.”

In the recorded music division, income fell from $99 million the previous year to $71 million, though digital revenue grew 41.9 percent over the year to $132 million, “primarily driven by strength in global online downloads”. In the music publishing division, digital revenue was $10 million, or 6.9 percent of the unit’s total revenue.

Release | Webcast | Transcript (SeekingAlpha.com)