Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) Q4 Revenue Falls Short of Expectations

By Patricia Miller


Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. (WBD) reports weaker Q4 results as revenue falls short & advertising sales decline due to TV industry challenges & streaming shift.

Closeup of the Warner Bros. Discovery logo seen on its website. Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. is an American multinational mass media and entertainment conglomerate.
Warner Bros. Discovery Q4 Revenue Falls Short of Expectations as Advertising Sales Decline

What You Need To Know

Warner Bros. Discovery Inc. (NASDAQ: WBD) reported Q4 revenue of $10.3 billion, a 7% decrease compared to the same period last year, and fell short of analysts' projections for $10.5 billion.

Advertising revenue in the TV networks division dropped 12% to $1.9 billion. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) were $2.5 billion, below estimates of $2.8 billion. The company recorded a loss of 16 cents per share, worse than expected.

The decline in revenue and profits can be attributed to weaker advertising sales at traditional TV channels and reduced program production following Hollywood strikes.

Warner Bros. is facing challenges due to the shift in TV viewing towards streaming services and a disrupted linear advertising ecosystem. To counter these challenges, the company has been selling programs to other streaming services and exploring innovative solutions.

On a positive note, their direct-to-consumer subscribers surpassed estimates, with 97.7 million subscribers, including 1.3 million from the acquisition of Turkish streaming service BluTV. Overall, Warner Bros.'s streaming business, including HBO, was profitable for the full year.

Sign up for Investing Intel Newsletter

Why This Is Important for Retail Investors

  1. Revenue and profit performance: The disappointing Q4 revenue and profits of Warner Bros. Discovery highlight the challenges traditional TV channels face, which can provide valuable insight for retail investors interested in the media industry.

  2. Advertising trends: The 12% drop in advertising revenue at Warner Bros. Discovery's TV networks division sheds light on the changing advertising landscape, with a shift towards digital platforms. Retail investors can use this information to evaluate the potential impact on other media companies and make informed investment decisions.

  3. Industry disruptions: The strikes by Hollywood writers and actors, which resulted in reduced program production, impacted Warner Bros. Discovery's financial performance. This event serves as a reminder to retail investors of the potential risks and disruptions faced by media companies due to labor disputes or other unforeseen circumstances.

  4. Streaming vs. traditional TV: Warner Bros. Discovery's struggle with the shift in TV viewing habits from traditional channels to streaming services reflects a larger trend in the industry. Retail investors can consider the implications of this shift and its impact on the long-term prospects of media companies.

  5. Direct-to-consumer subscribers: Despite the challenges, Warner Bros. Discovery's direct-to-consumer subscriber numbers surpassed expectations. This shows the company's ability to adapt to the changing landscape and can provide insights for retail investors interested in the streaming sector. It also signifies the importance of understanding subscriber growth and retention for media companies.

Read: Entertainment Unleashed: 2.5 Million Rapid App Downloads

How Can You Use This Information?

Here are some of the investing ideas that can be explored using this information:

Growth Investing

Given the challenges faced by traditional TV channels and the shift towards streaming services, retail investors can consider investing in companies positioned to benefit from the growth in the streaming industry.

Growth investing focuses on stocks of companies expected to grow at an above-average rate compared to other stocks in the market. Learn more in our article titled 'What is Growth Investing?'.

Defensive investing

The decline in advertising sales and revenue at Warner Bros. Discovery indicates a potential vulnerability in the media industry. Retail investors may explore defensive investing strategies, focusing on companies with stable business models and resilient revenue streams.

Defensive Investing focuses on securing a portfolio by choosing companies that are less sensitive to economic downturns.


The industry disruptions faced by Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD stock) emphasize the importance of diversification in an investment portfolio. Retail investors can diversify their holdings across different sectors and asset classes to mitigate risks associated with specific industry challenges.

Diversification spreads investments across various assets to reduce risk and volatility in a portfolio.

Sector Rotation

The underperformance of traditional TV channels and struggles in the advertising space suggest a potential sector rotation opportunity. Retail investors can consider reallocating their investments towards sectors benefiting from the shift towards streaming and digital advertising.

Sector Rotation is the practice of shifting investment capital from one industry sector to another to take advantage of the economic cycle.

Innovation-Focused Investing

The ongoing changes in the TV landscape and the growing popularity of streaming services present opportunities for innovation-focused investing. Retail investors can explore companies driving technological advancements in the media industry, such as streaming platforms or companies leveraging data analytics for targeted advertising.

Innovation-focused investing seeks out companies that are leaders in technological advancement, offering the potential for significant growth as they develop new products and services.

Read What Others Are Saying

The Hollywood Reporter: Warner Bros. Discovery Becomes First Hollywood Conglomerate to Turn Full-Year Streaming Profit, Hitting $103M

CNBC: Warner Bros. Discovery misses estimates for revenue and profit but boosts free cash flow

Sign up for Investing Intel Newsletter

What you should read next:

Popular ETFs

Some investors prefer to invest in stocks via an exchange-traded fund for ease and reduced risk. Some popular ETFs include the following:

  • Large-Caps: Vanguard Mega Cap ETF (MGC)

  • Mid-Caps: Vanguard Mid-Cap ETF (VO)

  • Small-Caps: Vanguard Small-Cap ETF (VB)

  • Growth: iShares Core S&P U.S. Growth ETF (IUSG)

  • Value: iShares Core S&P US Value ETF (IUSV)

  • Emerging Markets: Vanguard FTSE Emerging Markets ETF (VWO)

  • Developed Markets: Vanguard FTSE Developed Markets ETF (VEA)

Explore more on these topics:



This article does not provide any financial advice and is not a recommendation to deal in any securities or product. Investments may fall in value and an investor may lose some or all of their investment. Past performance is not an indicator of future performance.

Patricia Miller does not hold any position in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the above article.

Patricia Miller has not been paid to produce this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

Digitonic Ltd, the owner of ValueTheMarkets.com, does not hold a position or positions in the stock(s) and/or financial instrument(s) mentioned in the above article.

Digitonic Ltd, the owner of ValueTheMarkets.com, has not been paid for the production of this piece by the company or companies mentioned above.

Sign up for Investing Intel Newsletter