Discovery incurs $8 mn loss in Q1 2018 with Scripps acquisition

MUMBAI: Discovery’s earnings release for Q1 2018, for the quarter ended 31 March 2018, shows that the company suffered a slight loss of $8 million due to the costs linked with the acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive (Scripps). Q1 revenue of $2307 million was 43 per cent higher year-on-year (yoy) from $1610 million.

Net income in the previous quarter was $215 million and the $8 million loss was primarily due to lower operating results, higher restructuring charges and other transaction costs associated with the acquisition of Scripps and higher interest expense.

Excluding the impact of foreign currency transactions and the Scripps, The Enthusiast Network and the Oprah Winfrey Network transactions, revenue increased by 14 per cent as international networks grew by 28 per cent and US networks grew by three per cent.

US revenue was up by 42 per cent boosted by the three above-mentioned transactions, with a 55 per cent gain in advertising revenue to $627 million and a 26 per cent increase in distribution revenue to $514 million.

International networks revenue for the first quarter of 2018 increased by 47 per cent to $1098 million. Distribution and advertising revenue was up by 20 per cent to $537 million and 37 per cent to $385 million, respectively.

Distribution revenue growth was primarily due to increases in digital revenue and higher contractual rates in Europe following further investment in sports content, contributions from content deliveries under licensing agreements in Asia and increases in rates in Latin America, partially offset by decreases in subscribers in Latin America and decreases in contractual rates in Asia. Advertising revenues increased primarily due to increases in pricing and volume across key markets in Europe and increases in ratings from coverage of the Olympics, partially offset by lower pricing and delivery in Latin America and Asia. The significant growth in other revenues is primarily due to sublicensing of Olympics sports rights to broadcast networks throughout Europe.

First quarter adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortisation (adjusted OIBDA) increased by 16 per cent to $697 million on a reported basis, excluding the impact of the above-mentioned transactions and foreign currency fluctuations, adjusted OIBDA decreased by nine per cent as the three per cent growth at US networks was more than offset by a 37 per cent decline at international networks primarily due to the timing of costs associated with the Olympics.

Discovery president and CEO David Zaslav said, “The first quarter of 2018 was a historic and pivotal period for Discovery. We closed on our transaction to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive, becoming the global leader in real-life entertainment and home to an enhanced portfolio of quality and trusted enthusiast brands. As our industry continues to evolve, we are uniquely positioned to maximise the value of our traditional pay-TV business while driving new opportunities and growth from our digital and direct to consumer businesses around the world.”

Speaking in an earnings call, Zaslav said that the company has a good cash flow for the future. He said, “Whether it’s investing in content, IP, platforms, products and services, extending our content onto all bundles and services, whether linear, digital, mobile, or direct-to-consumer, or just buying back our stock, we will have the cash to decide. Our focus on cost efficient, real life entertainment leveraged across all formats, regions and methods of delivery, gives us another distinct advantage over our peers. We’re not caught up in the increasingly competitive and high-cost scripted content game that has captured so much of our industry’s attention and resources over the past several years. We’re also not renters. We own the vast majority of our content across regions, platforms and formats, and have the flexibility to take it wherever we want.”

He added that the company is truly international with the ability to take content around the world in multiple languages, and the Scripps IP was just the start.

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