Discovery thrives amid 'headwinds'

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Discovery Communications posted better-than-expected first-quarter financials Monday as it grew advertising revenue despite the recession. Shares soared 8.6% on the news to close at $20.21.

Cable networks have been holding up better during the downturn, and analysts have lauded Discovery for its solid financial performance.

Discovery's first-quarter profit multiplied to $119 million, compared with $34 million during the year-ago period. Revenue rose 1% to $817 million, with U.S. ad revenue up 2%. The company reiterated its 2009 forecasts.

"The growth Discovery delivered in the first quarter despite economic and foreign-currency headwinds demonstrates the strength of our business model," Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav said during a conference call. "Our stable and growing distribution revenue provides a unique resiliency in the face of economic hurdles."

Zaslav added that the company's "bouquet" of channels has allowed it to make up for weakness in advertising by financial-services and auto giants for male-focused channels, like Discovery Channel, with solid trends for female-skewing networks. (partialdiff)
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