Discovery Communications Q1 Profit Drops 18 Percent From 2016

Home to Discovery Channel and TLC misses Wall Street’s marks at both its top and bottom lines

Last Updated: May 9, 2017 @ 6:23 AM

Discovery Communications unveiled lackluster first-quarter 2017 financials Tuesday morning, when the company reported an 18 percent decrease in profit from 2016’s comparable three-month period.

The home to Discovery Channel and TLC ended up with 41 cents of adjusted earnings per share on revenue of $1.613 billion over the recent 90-day period.

Unfortunately, both of those key categories fell a bit below expectations: Wall Street had forecast 45 cents of earnings per share on $1.63 billion in revenue, per a Yahoo Finance compilation of 18 media analysts.

The publicly traded company’s higher operating results and lower income tax expense were more than offset by higher losses from equity investees on the timing of solar investments, which had a negative impact on net income in the first quarter but Discovery expects will have a positive impact on net income for the full year.

There was also a $34 million (or $0.06 per share) after-tax debt extinguishment charge, as well as higher restructuring charges than in the prior year.

Company president and CEO David Zaslav was undeterred in his prepared press release remarks.

“Improved ratings across many of Discovery’s key distinctive programs and brands, coupled with strong global distribution growth, led to solid organic growth in the first quarter,” he said. “Beyond our linear business, we continue to focus on new strategic partnerships and investments to help drive our multiplatform growth strategy and ensure that we reach our global superfans on every screen.”

Overall, Q1 revenues increased 3 percent compared to the prior year, with 5 percent growth at International Networks and 3 percent growth at U.S. Networks.

Domestically, it was mostly increased distribution growth that chipped in, though even ad sales ticked up 1 percent. The stateside nets did experience a slight decline in subscribers, however.

Distribution was again the hero in the company’s emerging markets, though advertising revenue grew 3 percent in the foreign lands.

Shares of DISCA stock closed Monday at $27.25, up 16 cents apiece.

Executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET today to discuss the financials in greater detail.

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