|Dollars in millions|
|Financial results||2008||2007||% chg|
|Net U.S. media revenue*||$2,062||$1,879||9.7|
|Worldwide corporate revenue||$3,443||$3,203||7.5|
|Net U.S. revenue by medium*||2008||2007||% chg|
Discovery Communications Inc. is a publicly traded cable-network company created by a September 2008 corporate restructuring.
Before that restructuring, Discovery's cable channels were owned and operated by Discovery Communications Holdings LLC. That firm was two-thirds owned by Discovery Holding Co., a public company controlled by cable magnate John Malone, and one third by Advance/Newhouse Programming Partnership, which was owned by privately held siblings Advance Publications and Newhouse Broadcasting Corp.
Discovery Communications began trading as a public company Sept. 18, 2008, with a Nasdaq listing.
Discovery Holding Co. was spun off in July 2005 by Liberty Media Corp., another company controlled by Malone.
Following the 2008 restructuring, Discovery Holding shareholders and Advance/Newhouse became shareholders of Discovery Communications Inc., which emerged as the sole owner of Discovery's cable channels and of Animal Planet.
Discovery Holding shareholders ended up with a two-thirds equity stake and Advance/Newhouse retained a one-third equity stake, keeping the same ownership proportion that was in place for Discovery Communications Holdings LLC. Malone as of August 2009 had a 31.3% voting interest in Discovery Communications. Advance/Newhouse Programming Partnership as of May 2009 had a 26.2% equity voting stake in Discovery Communications.
Leading up to the restructuring, Discover Holding Co. spun off to its shareholders Ascent Media Corp., a venture that owned assets including AccentHealth, a provider of TV programs in doctors' offices. Ascent Media Corp., in turn, sold AccentHealth in September 2008. However, one sector of Ascent was folded into Discovery Communications Inc.: Ascent Media Sound, which provides production services for films, TV shows and commercials. Discovery Holding Co. in summer 2008 said Ascent Media Sound had an enterprise value of up to $50 million. Ascent Media Sound is now known as Creative Sound Services.
Discovery Communications Holdings LLC in May 2007 traded its Travel Channel and $1.3 billion in cash to Cox Communications in return for Cox's stake in Discovery Communications Holdings; that left Discovery Communications Holdings with two shareholders, Discovery Holding Co. and Advance/Newhouse, setting the stage for the September 2008 reorganization.
Media revenue, shown here as cable revenue, is Discovery Communications Inc.'s actual 2008 revenue for its U.S. Networks segment, which includes Discovery's cable channels and a portfolio of websites and digital services; the 2007 figure is the U.S. Networks segment excluding Travel Channel, sold in May 2007.
Discovery Communications Holdings and Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions in January 2008 announced OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, a 50/50 joint-venture cable channel that initially was to launch in second-half 2009. Discovery formally created the joint venture on June 19, 2008. The network will replace the Discovery Health cable channel. Discovery contributed Discovery Health and DiscoveryHealth.com; Harpo contributed Oprah.com, which will be the joint venture's website.
Discovery, in a quarterly financial filing in early November 2009, said: "We are currently discussing with Harpo a number of matters regarding OWN Network, including digital strategy,
the programming and development pipeline, and timing of the launch of the network."
On Nov. 20, 2009, Winfrey announced she would end her syndicated TV show, the Oprah Winfrey Show, in September 2011 after 25 years on the air. Winfrey on Nov. 20, 2009, also disclosed that the cable network would launch in January 2011.
Reflecting that OWN is a 50/50 venture, Discovery planned to stop consolidating OWN financials in Discovery's financial statements effective Jan. 1, 2010.
Harpo Productions has the right to require Discovery to purchase Harpo's 50% ownership interest at fair market value up to a maximum dollar ("put") amount, exercisable on four separate put exercise dates within 12.5 years of the venture's formation date. The maximum put amount ranges between $100 million on the first put exercise date up to $400 million on the fourth put exercise date.
Discovery and toymaker Hasbro in April 2009 agreed to form a 50/50 joint venture to create a U.S. cable network (built on the existing Discovery Kids network) focused on childrenâ€™s and family entertainment and educational programming. The deal closed in second-quarter 2009. The venture bought Discovery's Discovery Kids network. Hasbro paid $300 million for its 50% stake in the joint venture.
Discovery's U.S. digital media businesses include cable-related sites Discovery.com, TLC.com and AnimalPlanet.com; acquired sites HowStuffWorks.com, TreeHugger.com and Petfinder.com; Discovery Mobile, a mobile video service; and Discovery on-demand, a free on-demand service featuring content from Discovery's U.S. networks.
The company said revenue for the U.S. Networks digital media businesses totaled about $31 million in 2007 and $19 million in 2006.
Discovery Communications in December 2007 bought HowStuffWorks.com, a science-based, Wikipedia-esque web site. In August 2007, the company bought TreeHugger.com, an eco-lifestyle web site. In November 2006, it bought Petfinder.com, a directory of adoptable pets.
David Zaslav, pres & CEO
Discovery Communications/One Discovery Place/Silver Spring, Md. 20910/Phone: (240) 662-2000.
Sources: *Net U.S. media revenue figures are Ad Age estimates. See methodology for sources.