Discovery Swings to Profit in Fourth Quarter

February 26, 2019 4:12AM PT

Discovery Inc. said it swung to a profit in the fourth quarter after posting a loss in the year-earlier period.

The owner of the Discovery, TLC and OWN cable networks, which purchased Scripps Networks Interactive last year, said fourth-quarter revenue rose 51% to a little more than $2.8 billion in the year-earlier period. On a pro-forma basis, however, revenue was off 1%, as a 2% increase in revenue at its U.S. networks and flat results at its overseas operations were offset by a decrease in revenue from its education business, in which Discovery sold a majority stake last year.

Profit in the fourth quarter came to $269 million, or 38 cents a share, compared with a loss of $1.1 billion in the year-earlier period, when the company reported an impairment charge.

In a statement, Discovery CEO David Zaslav said executives remained “optimistic that we will continue to build on all of our operating momentum to drive additional shareholder value into the future.”

The company said US. advertising revenue rose 3% on a pro forma basis, with ad revenue from digital content and an increase in ad prices offsetting lower ratings at the company’s cable networks. Executives said ratings at the company’s flagship Discovery Channel had fallen during the quarter, but noted trends seemed to be improving.