Discovery’s Q3 earnings down as U.S. revenue dips

Growth in Discovery Communications' international business was offset by a decline in U.S. revenue from the same period last year, as CEO David Zaslav (pictured) said the company increased its presence on pay-TV platforms abroad.
November 6, 2012

U.S. network group Discovery Communications has reported third-quarter earnings down on the same period last year.

The cable giant’s profit fell by 14% to US$205 million or 57 cents per share, compared with $237 million or 60 cents per share for the same quarter the year prior, while revenue decreased 0.4% to $1.08 billion.

Although the company benefited from strength in the ad market and strong ratings, a 7% growth in international business was offset by a 4% decline in U.S. revenue “primarily due to additional revenues in the prior year from extending and expanding certain licensing agreements.”

Last year, Discovery Communications, which operates Discovery Channel, TLC, Investigation Discovery and Animal Planet among other nets, reached an agreement to stream its programming through Netflix for the next two years. Programming from Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Network was not part of the deal.

The company also lowered its revenue forecast for the full year to $4.48 billion-$4.53 billion, from its previous revenue estimate of $4.55 billion-$4.65 billion.

“The strong operating performance in the current year was more than offset by the impact of foreign currency fluctuations, increased mark-to-market equity-based compensation, other and interest expense as well as higher taxes,” the company said in a statement.

Discovery CEO David Zaslav (pictured above) added: “Discovery delivered another quarter of strong operating results as a sustained focus on developing compelling content and leveraging it globally provided additional growth opportunities and continued financial momentum.

“In the U.S. we expanded market share, built new hits and capitalized on the ongoing strength of the ad market, while, internationally, we further leveraged the universal appeal of our programming and increased penetration of global pay- TV platforms to expand our unparalleled distribution footprint.

“Going forward we remain committed to thoughtfully investing in our brands and platforms while delivering sustained financial success and returning capital to our shareholders.”

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Jonathan Paul is a Toronto-based writer into creativity, content, advertising, tech, comics, video games, film, TV, time and space travel.