Discovery saw its overall revenues rise 2% in the fourth quarter, but witnessed a slowdown in key business metrics as its U.S. TV networks saw a sharp decline in subscribers of 3%.
U.S. advertising grew only 1% to $1.05 billion, with declining growth over the last few quarters.
Discovery says in its earnings announcement that the 1% rise is attributable to higher pricing “and, to a lesser extent, the continued monetization of our digital content offerings and inventory, partially offset by lower overall ratings and secular declines in the pay TV ecosystem.”
Distribution revenues were 4.5% higher versus the year before to $673 million. The latter has also witnessed a slowdown in gains over the last several quarters -- up 4% (first quarter), 5% higher (second quarter) and 6% higher (third quarter).
U.S. TV network revenues posted an overall 2.3% gain in revenues to $1.8 billion. International TV network revenues grew 3.8% to $1.1 billion -- up 5.1% in distribution revenues to $531 million, and 2.4% more in advertising at $546 million.
Total company-wide revenue was up 2% to $2.9 billion, with net income down 15% to $218 million.
Bernstein Research says total fourth-quarter 2019 primetime viewership -- the average minute commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing (C3) -- was down 7% for all its networks. Three of its networks -- Discovery, TLC, and Science Channel -- posted gains in the period -- 4%, 17%, and 5% respectively.
Separately, Discovery Inc. announced that former Hulu executive Lisa Holme has been named group senior vp of content and commercial strategy, direct-to-consumer.