Discovery Communications first quarter profit rises

Growth in the cable giant's international and domestic business led to a 7% increase in revenue compared with the same period a year ago. (Pictured: David Zaslav)
May 7, 2013

Discovery Communications has posted higher first-quarter revenue and earnings.

The company, which operates a portfolio of cable networks including Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet, said on Tuesday (May 7) that revenue rose 7% to close to $1.2 billion compared with $1.1 billion in the same period a year ago, and net income went up to $231 million, or 63 cents per share, from $221 million, or 57 cents per share.

The revenue increase was led by 17% growth in the company’s international business and 1% growth in the U.S. Adjusted pre-tax operating income (OIBDA) declined by 2% to $498 million, as the International Networks’ 8% increase was offset by a 5% decrease at U.S. Networks due to additional licensing revenue in last year’s quarter. Excluding the impact of foreign currency fluctuations, total company revenue was up 12%.

The profit increase was driven by a strong operating performance, a $92 million gain from the consolidation of Discovery Japan and $46 million in improved equity earnings, partially offset by higher taxes, increased mark-to-market equity-based compensation and $59 million of losses from “hedging activities primarily associated with the acquisition of the SBS Nordic operations.”

Discovery recently completed its takeover of SBS Nordic, rebranding it as SBS Discovery Media.

“The significant operating momentum Discovery generated throughout 2012 continued unabated in the first quarter with more and more audiences around the globe viewing our unique programming,” president and CEO David Zaslav (pictured) said in a statement. “The sustained investment we have made in developing compelling content, along with the quality of our brands, translated into further market share gains, with record first quarter viewership at our domestic networks and 16% audience growth across our international portfolio

“We have also completed several strategic acquisitions which we expect will further broaden our asset mix around the world and bolster our long-term growth prospects,” he continued. “2013 is off to a great start and with continued focus on strong operating execution, we anticipate building on the financial success we have achieved over the last several years while delivering significant shareholder value.”

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.