Discovery Earnings Drop 71% in Second Quarter

U.S. ad revenue down 14%

Discovery reported lower second-quarter earnings as ad revenue dropped because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Net income fell 71% to $271 million, or 40 cents per share, in the second quarter, from $947 million, or $1.33 a share, a year ago.

Revenue fell 12% to $2.541 billion.

The results topped analysts expectations as networks like TLC, HGTV and Food grew ratings with fresh content shot amid the pandemic.

Discovery’s U.S. networks had adjusted operating income before depreciation and amortization of $1.052 billion, down 6%. Revenue was also down 6% to $1.756 billion.

Domestic advertising revenue fell 14% to $997 million. U.S. distribution revenue increased 7% to $739 million, or 2% excluding some non-recurring items. Operating expenses decreased 6% to $694 million.

The advertising numbers were an improvement from April, when the company was seeing a 20% decline, and better than analysts expected.

Adjusted operating income for Discovery’s international networks was down 33% to $193 million as revenue fell 23% to $783 million.

The company said it expects to resume share repurchases on Aug. 6. The company in February authorized $2 billion in stock buybacks, but did not buy any share during the second quarter. There is $1.8 billion remaining in the authorization.

“Our top priority is the health and safety of our employees as global economies and our offices begin to reopen. I want to thank all of our teams for the exceptional focus and dedication even during these turbulent times that continued to drive outstanding progress for our business, including renewals with four of our largest distribution partners and meaningful cost containment,” said CEO David Zaslav.

“With our significant liquidity cushion and the initial signs of stabilization that we’re seeing in many of our key markets around the world, we are pleased to announce our intention to resume returning capital to shareholders through share repurchases. We are cautiously optimistic about the global outlook for the rest of the year and firmly believe that the long-term prospects for Discovery remain as vibrant as ever,” Zaslav said.