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Discovery Reports Higher Fourth-Quarter Earnings

Discovery Communications reported higher fourth-quarter profits as its U.S. networks turned in good gains in operating income.

Net income increased 39% to $304 million, or 52 cents a share, from $219 million or 34 cents a year ago.

The gain included a $31 million after-tax gain from transactions involving Group Nine.

Revenues rose 2% to $1.7 billion.

“Discovery’s diversified set of nonfiction, sports and kids’ entertainment brands, and strong strategic positioning continued to drive attractive distribution agreements, helping to deliver solid operating and financial results in 2016,” said CEO David Zaslav. “As we begin 2017, we will continue to invest in our premier global IP and brands to nourish fans across all screens, all platforms and all services to drive shareholder value and propel our business for years to come amid the rapidly changing media landscape.”

Operating income at Discovery’s U.S. networks was up 9% to $447 million.

Revenues rose 3% to $812 million. Distribution revenues rose 6% to $375 million despite a slight decline in subscribers. Ad revenues were up 1% to $42 million despite lower delivery.

Operating income was down 12% at Discovery’s international networks. Revenues were up 3%. The company said it was impacted by currency changes, content impairment charges and increased sports and production costs.