Continued advertising and other revenue growth for Discovery Communications -- including a one-time gain from the new Oprah Winfrey Network -- helped to stir strong financial results for the media company.
Overall, revenues moved up 9% to $951 million in the first quarter of 2011. U.S. advertising revenues were 9% higher to $290 million, due to higher sellout levels and increased pricing. Distribution revenues rose 6% to $274 million.
Net income almost doubled to $305 million, due to a one-time $102 million gain resulting from the 50-50 partnership with Harpo Studios for OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network. Without the gain, Discovery still had a substantial 20% hike over the first quarter of 2009.
Taking out Discovery Health channel's results (now the OWN network) in 2010, Discovery Communications would have posted a 15% gain in advertising revenues and a 7% gain in distribution fees. Internationally, ad dollars posted stronger gains -- a 24% rise to $102 million. Distribution revenues were up 11% to $206 million.
David Zaslav, president and chief executive officer of Discovery, stated: "Once again this quarter, we recognized the value of our increased viewership through double-digit advertising gains that further built upon the strength we demonstrated throughout 2010."
He added: "Moving forward, with advertising revenues expanding and predictable distribution revenues continuing to grow, we remain focused on delivering sustained operating leverage and free cash flow growth, while also continuing to invest in Discovery's diverse set of brands and platforms around the world."
For the full-year 2011, Discovery expects revenue of between $4.025 billion and $4.1 billion.
Investors offered up positive news of Discovery's results. The midday stock market price of Discovery was up almost 2% to $43.16.