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Fourth-Quarter Earnings Increase at Discovery

Discovery reported higher fourth-quarter earnings as income tax and and restructuring charges dropped.

Net income rose 77% to $476 million, or 67 cents per share, from $269 million, or 38 cents a share.

Revenue rose 2% to $2.874 billion.

At the company’s U.S. networks, adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization was $925 million, down 4%. Advertising revenue was up 1% to $1.051 billion despite lower ratings. The increase stemmed from higher prices and sale of digital content and inventory.

Distribution revenue was up 5% to $673 million. Subscribers were down 5% in December compared to a year ago, indicating continued cord cutting. Subscribers to fully distributed networks were down 3%.

"2019 was a year of promises made and promises delivered,” said CEO David Zaslav. “Our differentiated local content strategy and global scale, coupled with our unique free cash flow conversion profile, provide distinct financial flexibility that allows us to adapt to changing media consumption habits. Our Board’s confidence in our strategic direction is highlighted by the recent authorization to repurchase up to an additional $2 billion of our shares."