Discovery Communications on Monday announced a substantial gain in first-quarter profit, exceeding expectations with $119 million in net income, an increase of 250 percent versus the year-ago period.
The programmer posted a 1 percent gain in revenue for the period ended March 31, taking in $817 million, beating analysts’ projections of $799 million. At Discovery’s U.S. networks division, which houses the fully distributed cable nets Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet, revenue rose 5 percent on increases in ad sales and affiliate dollars.
Despite a tottering advertising market, Discovery was able to boost its domestic ad sales revenue 2.1 percent in the quarter, to $244 million. Through May 4, of the five major network groups that have reported Q1 earnings, only Discovery and NBC Universal have posted year-over-year ad-sales gains. (The Turner nets were flat in the period, while Viacom posted a 9 percent drop in domestic ad revenue and Comcast’s programming division fell 8 percent.)
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