If Discovery Communications'
OK, maybe that's not entirely fair. Actually, in its first quarter as a fully public entity, the nonfiction educational media company fared comparatively well. (Under its previous ownership structure, its financials were broken out by segment to allow for year-over-year comparisons.) Revenue growth of 11%, driven by strong international and domestic network sales, led to a $64 million increase in net income from ongoing operations -- 113% over last year's adjusted third quarter.
Coming in at $0.31, earnings per share were up by 182% compared to last year's adjusted EPS -- good results when considering the macroeconomic environment of the past three months. On Friday, markets saw the stock trading 15% higher only a few hours after the announcement.
Strange but true
Other than its relatively small market capitalization, perhaps its foundation in broadcasting educational content distinguishes Discovery Communications from companies like Viacom
It's been said that truth is often stranger than fiction, and the international popularity of shows like Deadliest Catch, Man vs. Wild, and American Chopper is evidence of the entertainment value of Discovery's nonfiction programming. The company plans to move forward in that direction, and expects its total revenues to top $3.4 billion for 2008.
Operationally, management stated that its free cash flows, which were over a dollar per share for the first three quarters of 2008 and more than four times last year's same period FCF, will be a strategic focal point moving forward.
Its ability to present educational material to a broad audience in entertaining ways makes this company a rare breed. If Discovery continues to focus on its fundamentals, all three classes of its stock can recover the losses sustained in recent years under its former ownership structure.