Discovery Communications boosted content investment by $200 million last year, but expects the commitment to be about the same in 2013. CEO David Zaslav indicated that a bevy of returning series
allows for less need to spend on development.
“We’ll taper down and accelerate market share,” Zaslav said on an earnings call. Discovery has been ramping up content expenses over the past five years, he added.
Separately, Discovery recently made several acquisitions overseas, but Zaslav expects an emphasis on organic growth this year, although “we’re always opportunistic,” he said.
Discovery has recently inked several small-scale carriage renewals with operators, which brought higher rates and added distribution for smaller channels, such as ID and the Science Channel. Deals have not included TV Everywhere rights. Zaslav said “we couldn’t determine what the right value was.”
Deals could still be made discretely with some operators in that arena, he indicated, and Discovery has a trial with Comcast.
U.S. ad revenues in both the October-December period in 2012 and the full year were up 9% to $397 million and $1.5 billion, respectively.
Globally, companywide profit dropped to $224 million from $336 million for the fourth quarter, partly due to higher taxes, and to $943 million in 2012 from $1.1 billion in 2011. Revenues were up by about $100 million in the fourth quarter to about $1.2 billion and for the full year landed at $4.5 billion, up from $4.2 billion.