Discovery Raises Revenue Forecast as Subscription Sales Exceed Estimates

Discovery Communications Inc. (DISCA), the owner of cable television’s Animal Planet and TLC, topped analysts’ sales estimates for the third quarter and boosted its forecast for the year as subscription revenue increased.

Sales for the quarter climbed 18 percent to $1.1 billion, the Silver Spring, Maryland-based company said yesterday in a statement. Analysts estimated revenue of $1.01 billion on average, according to a survey by Bloomberg.

Revenue for the year is expected to be between $4.18 billion and $4.25 billion, compared with a forecast range in August of $4.08 billion to $4.18 billion, the company said.

“There has never been a better time to be in the content business, if you own your own content, which we do,” Chief Executive Officer David Zaslav, 51, said on a conference call with analysts yesterday after the statement was released.

Net income climbed 27 percent to $237 million, or 59 cents a share, from $186 million, or 43 cents, a year earlier. Analysts estimated a profit of 55 cents per share on average, according to a survey by Bloomberg.

Discovery said Oprah Winfrey plans to appear in a new entertainment show in January on the OWN television network, the joint venture largely funded by Discovery. Winfrey’s network still has “negative cash flow,” according to Chief Financial Officer Brad Singer.

Discovery fell 2.7 percent to $42.27 at the close yesterday in New York. The stock has declined 1.4 percent this year before today.

Discovery tapped the bond market in June, selling $650 million of debt and taking advantage of investment-grade yields hovering at that time near the lowest since the last November.

To contact the reporter on this story: Edmund Lee in New York at elee310@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Peter Elstrom at pelstrom@bloomberg.net

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