International boost for Discovery

Discovery Communications posted robust results for fourth quarter and full year 2009. There was strong revenue growth at Discovery’s international channels in the last three months of 2009. The international networks segment reported revenues of US$358m (€260m) for the quarter, a 22% increase year-on-year. That compares to revenues of US$554m from the portfolio of domestic US channels, a 3% year-on-year increase. For the full (2009) year, the international networks generated revenues of US$1.2bn, a 3% increase on 2008. Yearly profit was US$450m, a 16% increase.

Management said that advertising revenue increases are running at high single-digit to low double-digit internationally.

Speaking on an investor conference call, Discovery CEO David Zaslav said that several international markets are still growing fast while others have reached maturity. “A number of markets are like the US in the 1990s,” he said. “We’re seeing significant growth in India, significant growth in Brazil and Chile. A lot of the emerging economies are very strong.” He added: “There are also some markets like southern Europe and the UK that are about as mature as the US.”

On the same call, chief financial officer Brad Singer said that Discovery is looking at various acquisitions. “There are several things we are looking, but they’re not in the billion dollar range. The aggregate total [of the potential deals] is in the several hundred million dollar range.” He added that one focus is buying the parts of joint ventures that it does not already own.