Financial Focus: Discovery Communications

Discovery Communications Inc.'s revenues rose strongly in the first quarter, primarily on double-digit growth in advertising revenue.

U.S. revenues rose from $299 million in the first quarter of 2003 to $382 million this year. Ad revenues grew 23 percent in the first quarter; net affiliate revenue rose by a similar percentage increase. Discovery Networks International and the company's other international ventures rose as well; consumer products revenue fell from $25 million in the first quarter of 2003 to $19 million in the first quarter of 2004.

The data on Discovery was part of Liberty Media Corp.'s quarterly filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Liberty owns half of Discovery, which makes its revenues public information where it would normally be private. In an SEC filing, Liberty said it expected Discovery's revenues to increase in the high teens.

Liberty also owns 98 percent of TV retailer QVC Inc. and all of premium TV service Starz Encore Group LLC. Both reported first quarters better than they posted in 2003. QVC tallied $932 million in domestic revenues in the first quarter of 2004, compared to $848 million a year ago. Liberty said the increase came from more sales to existing customers in apparel, accessories, and cosmetics. There were 23.6 million units shipped in the first quarter--up 13 percent from a year ago. The average sales price dropped from $43.82 to $42.34. Revenues at Starz Encore rose from $229 million in the first quarter of 2003 to $232 million in the first quarter of 2004.

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