We’ll see pretty soon whether investors are more impressed by the $1B Discovery is adding to its stock-repurchase program than they are disappointed by the Q1 results — which include losses from its OWN joint venture with Oprah Winfrey. The company generated $222 in net income, down 27.5% vs the same period last year, on revenues of $1.1B, up about 16%. The revenue figure was slightly ahead of estimates. But earnings, at 57 cents a share, were short of the 60 cents the Street anticipated. Discovery says that it had to shave $102M from net income: There was a one-time gain last year of $102M when it contributed Discovery Health to OWN — but the earnings release also notes that “operating losses at OWN exceeded the equity contributed” to the struggling cable channel. The amount includes a $1M restructuring charge.
Revenues for Discovery’s U.S. Networks increased 16% to $681M. The company says that’s due to a 23% increase in licensing sales as well as a 13% increase in ad revenues from higher pricing, ratings, and sellouts. The International Networks also performed well with revenues of $380M, up 18%. The Education unit grew 2% to $42M. Discovery slightly increased guidance for its 2012 results: It now says that total revenue will be at least $4.55B, up from the previous forecast in February of $4.45B, with net income for shareholders of at least $1B, up from $975M. The company also added $1B to its stock repurchase program, bringing the total authorization to $3B. “Investing in our brands to maximize the potential of our unique distribution platform, as well as emerging opportunities, remains a priority, and we are focused on doing so while delivering sustained growth and returning capital to shareholders,” CEO David Zaslav says.