Discovery Q2 Profit Fueled by Ad Sales as Streaming Subscribers Total 18 Million

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Discovery said second-quarter profit increased as advertising rebounded from a pullback last year during the coronavirus pandemic and as the company attracted new customers — 18 million to date — to its new streaming operations.

Net income came to $672 million, or $1.01 per share, compared with $271 million, or 40 cents a share.

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The New York owner of the HGTV, Food Network and Discovery Channel cable outlets said overall revenue in the second quarter rose 21% to $3.06 billion, compared with $2.54 billion in the year-earlier period. Discovery is in 2022 expected to take operational control of the assets of WarnerMedia now operated by AT&T.

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“Advertising revenue increased in every region of the globe and accelerated throughout the quarter,” said David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery, in a statement, adding that the company “continued to steadily execute in our emerging next generation businesses.”

Like many of its rivals, Discovery is racing to build a new business based on subscriptions and streaming video as its traditional one, which hinges largely on cable distribution and advertising, begins to narrow. The company said that overall subscribers to its cable networks had fallen 3% over the past 12 months, largely spurred by its sale of Great American Country to a start-up, GAC Media, in June of last year.

But there were still some signs of life in the company’s traditional business. Advertising and distribution revenue both rose 12% in the quarter, the company said, bolstered by the launch of Discovery Plus, the company’s new streaming business, and marketers’ interest in spending more as the effects of the global pandemic gradually eased.

The same trends were found at Discovery’s international operations, where ad revenue rose 88% and distribution rose 11%.

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