Discovery reported a profit in the first quarter, with ad revenue rising and costs down.
Discovery reported net income of $384 million, or 53 cents a share, compared to a loss of $8 million, or 1 cent a share, a year ago. The current figures include the operations of Scripps Networks, which was acquired on March 6 last year. Adjusted operating income on a pro forma basis was up 21%.
Revenue rose 17% to $2.7 million.
Operating income for Discovery’s U.S. networks was $1.061 billion, up 63% and 17% on a pro-forma basis. Revenue was $1.752 billion, up 49% or 3% on a pro-forma basis. Ad revenue was $1.022 up 63%, or 4% on a pro forma basis. Distribution revenue was $697 million, up 35%, or 4% pro forma.
The company said ad revenue rose because of higher prices plus continued monetization of digital content offerings.
On a pro forma basis the networks’ number of subscribers were down 4%, with subscribers down 1% at Discovery’s fully distributed networks.
Operating expenses were down 12% on a pro forma basis because of lower personnel costs due to last year’s restructuring and the integration of Scripps.
Discovery said its board authorized management to buy back $1 billion worth of its shares.
“In the first quarter we delivered a solid start to 2019, as we continue to power people's passions through our loved brands and our owned global IP in genres that nourish audiences around the world,” said CEO David Zaslav. “We are a differentiated media company and have the right strategy, assets, brands, and management team necessary to drive additional shareholder value.”