Discovery proves Factual is good business

Factual entertainment producer Discovery Communications unveiled latest results Feb 25. The headlines show a profit for the fourth quarter, compared with a loss a year ago, driven mainly by revenue growth in the US. However, most analysts were expecting slightly better numbers.

Discovery’s Q4-2008 net income was $106m compared with a net loss of $170m in the same quarter last year. For Q3-2008 the company posted net income of $134m. Net income from continuing operations was $105m versus a loss last year of $12m.

Discovery also reported quarterly revenues of $904m, up on its Q3-2008 numbers of $845m.

David Zaslav, Discovery's president and CEO, said: "This past year was one of significant accomplishment for Discovery, as we delivered strong operating performances across our businesses and successfully transitioned to a fully public company. Strategically, we strengthened the programming and development at our fully distributed channels and finished the year with double digit ratings growth in the fourth quarter among key demos at Discovery Channel and TLC. We also established new identities for several of our emerging networks and continued our international expansion, increasing our subscriber base overseas by 16%."

Zaslev said as far as 2009’s trading is concerned, Discovery expects total revenue between $3,375m and $3,500m. “Our outlook incorporates current foreign exchange rates for revenues and expenses and current share price for marked to market equity based compensation calculations while excluding the impact of OWN. It is expected that $70 to $80 million will be invested in [the Oprah Winfrey Network] in 2009 but the income statement impact will depend on the timing of the launch.”