Discovery Q1 Profit Beats Estimate on Strength at US Networks

Revenue at its U.S. networks like Discovery and TLC climbed 8 percent, driven both by ads and distribution payments

Last Updated: May 5, 2016 @ 7:42 AM

Discovery reported improving business at its U.S. networks in the first quarter, lifting profit above Wall Street expectations even as its international operations continued to battle currency headwinds.

The strong report comes less than a day after Discovery said it would lay off workers this year to cut costs. In a filing Wednesday, the company said the downsizing plan, which also included some broader restructuring and budgetary shifts, was meant to create a “leaner and more directed cost structure” and allow it to invest in digital services and new content. The company informed employees Wednesday after officially signing off on the plan last week.

Discovery, operator of its namesake network as well as Animal Planet and TLC, reported 8 percent revenue growth at U.S. networks, driven by a 7 percent climb in advertising and an 8 percent increase in distribution payments.

The company has expanded internationally in recent years, a strategy that has increased its business but amplified pressure from the strong dollar overseas. International revenue would have climbed without the effect of foreign exchange and its purchase last year of a Nordic radio operator. In addition, Discovery’s operating expenses in it international business rose 11 percent, pushing its adjusted profit lower.

In the latest period, Discovery reported a profit of $263 million, or 42 cents a share, compared with $250 million, or 37 cents a share, a year earlier.

Revenue rose 1.6 percent to $1.561.

A survey of analysts on average expected earnings of 40 cents on revenue of $1.562 billion.

Shares were inactive pre-market trading. Discovery’s stock has slipped about 17 percent in the last year.