Discovery Posts Loss in Wake of Scripps Networks Purchase

Discovery Inc. recorded a loss in the first quarter partly because of costs associated with its acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive, the company said.

The deficit was was $8 million, or 1 cent per share, compared with net income of $215 million, or 37 cents per share, a year ago. The company said the loss was caused by restructuring charges, costs associated with the Scripps acquisition and higher interest expenses.

Operating income was down 6%, with U.S. networks up 1% and international networks down 30% because of the costs of Olympics programming.

Revenue rose 43% to $2.3 billion. Excluding foreign currency fluctuations, the acquisition of Scripps and transactions involving The Enthusiast Network and OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, revenue rose 14%, including a 3% gain at U.S. networks.

“The first quarter of 2018 was a historic and pivotal period for Discovery," said CEO David Zaslav. "We closed on our transaction to acquire Scripps Networks Interactive, becoming the global leader in real life entertainment and home to an enhanced portfolio of quality and trusted enthusiast brands. As our industry continues to evolve, we are uniquely positioned to maximize the value of our traditional pay-TV business while driving new opportunities and growth from our digital and direct to consumer businesses around the world."

Revenue at Discovery’s U.S. networks was up 42% to $1.174 billion. On a pro-forma basis revenue for the U.S. networks was up 2%, with distribution revenue up 2% and ad revenue up 2%.

Distribution of Discovery’s full-distributed networks was down 3%. Distribution of its entire cable portfolio was down 5%.

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.