The TV network group’s Q4 earnings results produced flat U.S. advertising revenue results ($1.05 billion) and a 5% decline for the 2020 year as a whole ($4.0 billion). International advertising was down 1% for the period to $554 million, sinking 12% for the year to $1.6 billion.
In addition to the pandemic affecting advertising, Discovery says there were “secular declines in the pay-TV ecosystem, lower ratings and a decline in inventory.” This was partially offset by price increases “and the continued monetization of content offerings on our next generation platforms.”
Heavy promotion -- especially in the U.S. -- for discovery+ has resulted in more than doubling of its subscribers to 11 million worldwide -- which will rise to 12 million at the end of this month, according to the company. Virtually all of its initial subscriber business is in the U.S.
Launching in early January, discovery+, the company’s nonfiction streaming service, started with 5.2 million subscribers. Discovery’s stock price was up 8% to $54.84 in early Monday morning trading.
U.S. distribution fees for the period were up 5% to $709 million in the most recent year and 4% overall for 2020 to $2.9 billion.
International distribution was down 4% to $510 million for the quarter and off 4% for the year to $2 billion.
Total revenues were flat in the fourth quarter to $2.9 billion -- and down 4% for the year at $10.7 billion. Net income was down 38% to $318 million.