Discovery Communications reports Q1 net income up 80% year-over-year to US$305M on higher ad revenue, one-time boost from OWN network deal; revenue up 9% to US$951M, beating analyst expectations

SILVER SPRING, Maryland , April 28, 2011 () – Discovery Communications Inc., the owner of Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, said Thursday that its first-quarter net income grew 80 percent as ad revenue rose and it got a one-time boost from turning its health channel into the vehicle for the jointly-owned Oprah Winfrey Network.

Net income in the three months that ended March 31 jumped to $305 million, or 74 cents per share, from $169 million, or 39 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company said it got a $102 million windfall for contributing Discovery Health to OWN, the 50/50 joint venture with Oprah Winfrey that launched in January.

Excluding that benefit, Discovery's adjusted earnings came to 49 cents per share, beating the 47 cents per share expected on average by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 9 percent to $951 million from $869 million a year earlier, also beating the $939 million expected by analysts.

Ad revenue grew 9 percent in the U.S. while distribution revenue grew 6 percent thanks to higher rates and subscriber growth. Internationally, ad revenue rose 24 percent and distribution revenue grew 11 percent.

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