Discovery Earnings Flat as Revenue Dips 1%

U.S. advertising sales climb 6%
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Discovery Communications reported flat profits for the third quarter despite a drop in revenues.

Net income was $279 million, or 43 cents a share, flat compared to $280 million, or 41 cents a share, a year ago. The company said adjusted earnings per share were up 25% excluding currency effects.

Revenues fell 1% to $1.6 billion, driven down by the strong dollar. Domestic ad revenues were up 6%.

Earnings were on par with Wall Street expectations, while revenue was less than forecasted.

The company increased its stock buyback authorization by $2 billion and said it would resume share purchases in the fourth quarter.

“Discovery’s unique portfolio of assets and global brands drove yet another quarter of strong worldwide viewership and financial results,” said CEO David 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.”

Operating income at Discovery’s U.S. networks, including Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet, was up 4% to $443 million. Revenue at the U.S. network rose 8% to $781 million. Advertising revenues were up 6% to $410 million. Distribution revenues were up 12% to $357 million.

At Discovery’s International networks, operating income was down 21% as revenues fell 9%. Distribution revenue was down 3% and ad revenue dropped 14%. Changes in foreign currency rates reduced revenues by 15% and operating income by 17%, the company said.

Discovery said that for the full year, it expects total revenue excluding currency effects to grow in the 9% to 10% range and adjusted earnings per share, also excluding currency changes, to grow in the low double digits.

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