Time Warner Inc posted better-than-expected quarterly results on Wednesday, with revenue rising 6 percent alongside a surge in advertising sales at its cable TV networks.

Time Warner, which owns cable networks such as CNN and TBS, as well as magazines and a movie studio, reported net income of $651 million, or 59 cents per diluted common share. This compares to net income in the prior year quarter of $725 million, or 62 cents per diluted common share.

First-quarter adjusted earnings of 58 cents a share came in 2 cents above analyst consensus expectations.

The decline in profit was largely due to higher programing costs, specifically those related to its deal with CBS Corp. to share coverage of the NCAA basketball tournament, which carries costly rights fees.

But the flip side to the deal is it helped drive a big jump in advertising sales at its cable networks at a time when corporations appears willing to spend more on national campaigns, particularly when it comes to so-called event programing.

Overall revenue rose 6 percent to $6.7 billion, the media company said on Wednesday. Analysts had expected the New York company to post revenue of $6.44 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Stronger TV ad sales were the major contributor to revenue growth. At its cable networks, ad sales rose by 48 percent.

In its movie division, revenue dropped 3 percent to $2.6 billion, partly due to several big hits that came out during the quarter a year ago, including Sherlock Holmes and The Blind Side.

In publishing, home to Time, Fortune and Sports Illustrated, revenue was basically steady at $798 million.

The company also repeated earlier forecasts that its 2011 earnings would be up from those in 2010 by the low teens in percentage growth.

(Reporting by Paul Thomasch; Editing by Derek Caney)