Discovery 3Q results, forecast top analyst views

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SLIVER SPRING, Md. (AP) ? Discovery Communications Inc.’s third-quarter net income climbed 27 percent as its line-up of cable-TV channels brought in more money from licensing fees and advertising.

The owner of the Discovery Channel and TLC said Tuesday that it earned $237 million, or 59 cents per share, during the July-September period. That compared with net income of $186 million, or 43 cents per share, at the same time last year.

Revenue totaled $1.1 billion, an 18 percent increase from $926 million last year.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had predicted earnings of 54 cents on revenue of $1.01 billion.

The strong performance prodded the company, which is based in Silver Spring, to raise its financial projections. Management now expects Discovery’s full-year revenue to range from $4.18 billion to $4.25 billion ? $100 million higher than a projection issued in August. The company expects its full-year net income to range between $1.03 billion and $1.08 billion, up from $1 billion to $1.08 billion previously.

Analysts had pegged Discovery’s full-year income at $1.02 billion on revenue of $4.13 billion.

“The appeal of our programming allowed us to continue to take advantage of the sustained health of the global ad market and further leverage existing and emerging distribution platforms worldwide,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav said.

Discovery got its biggest boost from the fees it charges to carry its cable channels or stream its programming through high-speed Internet connections. The company’s U.S. distribution revenue rose 33 percent from last year to $350 million in the third quarter. Advertising revenue in the U.S. increased 6 percent to $322 million.

Outside the U.S., advertising surged 22 percent to $120 million, partly because Discovery has raised its international prices since last year.

As part of its effort to boost its stock price, Discovery spent $355 million during the quarter to buy back nearly 9.8 million shares. Including purchases made last month, the company has now spent half of the amount allotted under a $2 billion stock repurchase program.

Discovery shares gained 71 cents to $42.98 in Tuesday’s extended trading after the company’s third-quarter results came out.