Discovery Third-Quarter Earnings Beat Estimates, U.S. Ad Revenue Rises 6 Percent

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav

The cable networks company, led by CEO David Zaslav, posts a 12 percent U.S. distribution revenue gain.

Discovery Communications, the company behind such cable networks as the Discovery Channel, TLC and OWN, on Tuesday reported better-than-expected third-quarter earnings.

The company, led by CEO David Zaslav, reported earnings of $279 million, compared with $280 million in the year-ago period. Earnings per share hit 43 cents, or 47 cents on an adjusted basis. That compared with 41 cents in the year-ago period. Wall Street had on average expected 38 cents per share.

The company has been affected by foreign-currency fluctuations. Amid a strong dollar, foreign results have translated into fewer dollars, affecting the financials of companies with strong operations abroad.

Quarterly revenue decreased 1 percent to $1.56 billion, slightly missing Wall Street estimates. But the company said the figure would have increased by 8 percent when excluding currency effects. Adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization, another profitability metric, fell 9 percent to $576 million, or down 1 percent when excluding currency effects.

Discovery posted U.S. networks revenue growth of 8 percent, driven by a 12 percent distribution gain and 6 percent advertising growth. The ad gain was "primarily due to higher pricing," the company said. The U.S. revenue growth was more than offset by a 9 percent decline at the company's international networks, primarily due to currency effects.

"Discovery’s unique portfolio of assets and global brands drove yet another quarter of strong worldwide viewership and financial results," said Zaslav. "Discovery is like no other media company, propelled by our unmatched global infrastructure, local leadership, efficient global content model and sturdy position in the U.S., and we are confident in our ability to drive near- and long-term growth and shareholder value."

Discovery on Tuesday also increased its stock buyback authorization by $2 billion and said it would start buying back stock again in the current fourth quarter.

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