Market Overview

Time Warner CEO Falls 1.5% in 2011, Earns Less than Industry Peers


Time Warner's (NYSE: TWX) Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bewkes compensation fell 1.5% last year as the company failed to exceed financial targets by as much as in 2010.

Bewkes earned $25.9 million in 2011, mostly comprised of stock and benefits with $2 million in salary and a $13.5 million bonus. In 2010 he earned $26.3 million, including a $14.4 million bonus, as his pay climbed 34%.

Time Warner profit increased 12% last year to $2.89 billion and revenue increased 8% to $28.9 billion. In 2010 revenue rose 6% to $26.9 billion. More than 70% of the company's annual operating income comes from television shows, including One Tree Hill and The Ellen DeGeneres Show. The company also produces videos, like Lord of the Rings and Happy Feet, and video games based on its other media products.

Time Warner is returning money to shareholders instead of the CEO. The company rose its quarterly dividend 11% to 26 cents, it announced in February. It also announced estimated earnings growth in the low double digit range.

Bewkes' millions of dollars in compensation look paltry in comparison to his peers in the media and entertainment business. David Zaslav, Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA) chief executive officer, earned $52.4 million in 2011 as the company's revenue climbed 12% to $4.2 billion. Most of his compensation came from stock packages awarded in 2008. Discover stock has climbed from about $15 to more than $50 since the package was awarded despite recent less-than-stellar productions including OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network and HUB, a kids network.

Walt Disney (NYSE: DIS) Chief Executive Officer Robert Iger earned $31.4 million last year. The board justified Iger's compensation as the company earned record net income, revenue and earnings per share in fiscal 2011, along with expanding Disney theme parks in Florida, California and Hong Kong, and forming a joint venture to create a new park in Shanghai.

Viacom (Nasdaq: VIA), owner of networks like Nickelodeon, MTV and VH1, compensated Chief Executive Officer Philippe Dauman with $43 million in 2011. Even though his pay represented a nearly 50% pay cut from 2010 when he earned $84.5 million, Bauman still took home $20 million in a cash bonus and $19.3 million in stock and options grants.

New York-based Time Warner company reported a 2% increase in advertising sales in 2011 and a 5% increase in subscription fees for TV shows. Bewkes's employment agreement ends Dec. 31, in case he decides to seek higher pay elsewhere.

Posted-In: Earnings News Management Best of Benzinga


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