* Earnings 59 cents/share vs Wall St. view 54 cents/share
* Revenue rose 18 percent to $1.1 billion
* Sales at both U.S. and international networks rise
By Paul Thomasch
Nov 1 Discovery Communications Inc
reported better-than-expected quarterly results and the media
company behind hit cable TV shows such as "Storm Chasers" and
"Deadliest Catch" bumped up its full-year outlook.
Discovery, whose cable networks include Discovery Channel,
TLC and Animal Planet, benefited from solid advertising sales
at both its domestic and international networks, showing no ill
effects from the grim economy. Revenues from fees it collects
from TV distributors also surged.
The shares of Discovery, already one of the most expensive
media companies, trading at about 15.5 times earnings, rose
2.7 percent to close at $42.27 on Tuesday.
Overall, Discovery's third-quarter net income rose to $237
million, or 59 cents a share, it said. That surpassed the $186
million, or 37 cents a share, it earned a year ago. It also
beat Wall Street estimates of 54 cents a share, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue increased 18 percent to $1.1 billion.
"Demand for high quality programming has never been
higher," Chief Executive David Zaslav said on a conference
call. "There has never been a better time to be in the content
Last month, Discovery struck an agreement with Netflix Inc that marked its first major deal to make full episodes
of its TV shows available for streaming. Previously, the
company hesitated when it came to streaming deals, wary of the
threat Web distributors posed to the cable industry.
And cable TV remains Discovery's bread and butter. This
quarter, Discovery was helped by one of its up-and-coming
networks, Investigation Discovery, the fastest growing U.S.
Seeking to relieve worries about ad spending, Zaslav told
investors he saw "sustained strength" in the market and no sign
marketers planned to bail out on commitments.
He also hoped to reassure Wall Street about the performance
of one of its highest-profile ventures, the Oprah Winfrey
A joint venture between Discovery and Oprah Winfrey's
production company, OWN launched in the United States early
this year, but struggled to gain traction with viewers.
Zaslav said OWN was "building nice momentum heading into
2012," with the recent debuts of "The Rosie Show" and "Oprah's
Given its stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings,
the company slightly raised its full year outlook for both
earnings and revenue. It now sees revenue in a range of $4.175
billion to $4.25 billion, up from a previous range of $4.08
billion to $4.18 billion.