Discovery’s Q2 Profit Drops Despite Sales Growth

Revenue rises year over year, though ultimately financials fall shy of forecasts

David Zaslav Discovery

Discovery Communications’ second quarter profit fell 25 percent from 2014, despite the network of networks seeing a slight sales uptick overall.

The TV media company couldn’t hit the marks that Wall Street set for it this time around.

Analysts foresaw Discovery (DISCA) reporting earnings per share (EPS) of $0.48 on $1.67 billion in revenue. The David Zaslav-led company instead revealed EPS of $0.44 per share on $1.654 billion in revenue.

Meanwhile, net income fell year over year from $379 million to $286 million. Discovery shared the somewhat disappointing news on Wednesday morning before the U.S. stock markets rang their opening bells.

Domestically, Discovery’s U.S. networks’ revenue increased 5 percent from last year’s comparable three-month period to $814 million, driven by 12 percent distribution growth, per the company’s financial filing.

Higher rates and the consolidation of Discovery Family helped that sales metric. Advertising revenues were essentially flat during the 90-day period, as higher pricing was offset by lower ratings.

Still, as one might expect, President and CEO Zaslav (pictured above) was still publicly “pleased.”

“Driven by our unmatched portfolio and steady growth around the world, Discovery’s strong start to the year continued in the second quarter,” he said. “We have carried that momentum into the third quarter and signed three landmark deals — the historic agreement for the Olympic Games in Europe, our agreement to acquire full ownership of Eurosport and our comprehensive long-term renewal with Comcast — that will bolster Discovery’s position and market share for years to come.”

“I am pleased with the progress we made in the first half of the year and look forward to building our stable of content, IP and world-class platforms to drive viewer engagement and meaningful value to distributors, advertisers and shareholders now and into the future,” said Zazlav, who earned a remarkable $156.08 million in 2014, according to TheWrap’s executive compensation study.

Also of note during the quarter, Discovery repurchased 3.9 million shares of its Series C common stock at an average price of $31.36 per share, for a total of $123 million. Additionally, on May 7, Discovery repurchased 1.4 million shares from the Advance/Newhouse Programming Partnership at $61.63 per share, adding up to another $84 million.

Discovery Communications is home to cable channels such as Discovery, TLC and OWN.

The company will hold a conference call for investors and media analysts at 8:30 a.m. ET Wednesday.