Discovery Communications, First Quarter 2012, OWN and Analysts' Estimates

Silver Spring-based media giant, Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA), maintained profitability on the backs of repositioned stations and international growth.

Networks like ID Discovery grew 35 percent in the first quarter and ranked fourth behind USA, TNT and TBS stations in viewership during the day.

Discovery's revenues continued over $1 billion for a quarter, up 16 percent or $152 million to $1.1 billion. U.S. networks grew 16 percent while international networks increased 18 percent. Company President and CEO, David Zaslav said over the past four years international networks adjusted OIBDA has grown from contributing $220 million annually to over $600 million in the same time period today.

Net income at Discovery declined to $221 million or $0.57 cents per diluted share for the first quarter ended March 31, 2012, versus $305 million or $0.74 cents per diluted share in the same period last year. The decline was due to a onetime gain of $102 million in 2011 for the contribution of the Discovery Health network to the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN). Discovery also started recording 100 percent of OWN's net losses under "Other Expense, net". OWN's operating losses exceeded contributed equity in the venture but the network is seeing an increase in ratings, up 14 percent for the first quarter and so far,17 percent higher in the current quarter. The company will begin collecting subscriber fees in January and will add millions of new viewers through Comcast.

25 analysts estimated net earnings of $0.60 cents per share on revenues of $1.06 billion at Discovery. Cash and cash equivalents totaled $1.04 billion at the end of the first quarter.

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