Discovery Communications said fourth quarter profits rose as
the economy improved.
Fourth quarter net income rose to $202 million, or 47 cents per share, from
$151 million, or 35 cents per share, a year ago.
Revenues increased 7% to $1.02 billion.
"Discovery delivered another year of strong and consistent growth in 2010
as we leveraged our diverse slate of quality content across our worldwide
distribution platform in an improving global economic environment," said
David Zaslav, Discovery CEO, in a statement. "We generated significant
advertising and distribution revenue growth while thoughtfully managing our
Adjusted earnings at Discovery's U.S. networks rose 16% to $347 million.
Earnings at its international networks rose 7% to $161 million.
Revenue at the U.S. networks rose 9% to $612 million. Ad revenue rose 13% to
$323 million. Revenues were curtailed because of lower ratings at Discovery
Channel in October. New programming was added and ratings began to stabilize,
Zaslav said. The company expects ad revenues to grow faster in the first
quarter with the scatter market remaining robust.
Distribution revenue rose 7% to $261 million at the U.S.
networks. Revenue at Discovery's international networks rose 4% to $358
Discovery said its fourth quarter results included $32 million in expenses,
mainly form losses related to its joint venture investments, which include the
Oprah Winfrey Network, which launched Jan. 1. Discovery said it will be
investing another $50 million in OWN this year.
For all of 2010, Discovery's revenue rose 9% to $3.77 billion. Earnings at the
U.S. networks were up 11%, while earnings at the international networks were up
22%. Earnings were $553 million, up from $541 million.
For 2011, Discovery said it expects total revenue to grow to between $4 billion
and $4.1 billion and net income to be $925 million to $1 billion.
The company repurchased 16.7 million of its own shares for $605 million.
"Our strong performance and financial position enabled us to begin
returning capital to shareholders," Zaslav said. "As we move forward
in 2011, we will continue to focus on creating high quality programming and
expanding our market share globally as we deliver strong operating performance
and enhance shareholder value."