Discovery's Earnings Up In Q3

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Discovery Communications reported higher profits in the third quarter thanks to increased advertising and digital distribution income.

Net income was $237 million, or 59 cents a share, up from $186 million or 43 cents a share a year ago, whilerRevenues rose 18% to $1.1 billion.

Discovery raised its full-year outlook, saying that it now expects total revenue for 2011 to finish between $4.175 billion and $4.25 billion. Last quarter, the company said it expected revenue for the year to be between $4.075 billion and $4.175 billion. The new outlook for net income is $1.025 billion to $1.075 billion, up from $1 billion to $1.075 billion.

"The strength of Discovery's brands and the value of our content to consumers, distributors and advertisers alike were further demonstrated in our third quarter financial results," said David Zaslav, president and CEO, in a statement. "The appeal of our programming allowed us to continue to take advantage of the sustained health of the global ad market and further leverage existing and emerging distribution platforms worldwide. The breadth of our global distribution enables us to capitalize on the increasing penetration of traditional distribution models, while the diversity and appeal of our content allows us to strategically leverage evolving delivery methods."

Discovery's U.S. networks had adjusted earnings of $378 million during the quarter, up 9% from a year ago. Domestic advertising revenues improved 6% to $322 million. Excluding year-ago revenue associated with Discovery Health (now OWN) ad revenues would have been up 11%. Domestic distribution revenue rose 33% to $350 million. Distribution revenue was boosted by extended and expanded licensing agreements for library titles, including one with Netflix announced in September.

Discovery's international networks had adjusted earnings of $156 million, up 20%, as revenues rose 19% to $363 million.

The company said it repurchased 9.8 million of its shares during the quarter for $355 million, or an average of $36.30 per share.

Read more at B&C here.

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