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Discovery profit falls, takes loss on Oprah stake

SILVER SPRING — Discovery Communications Inc., operator of pay TV networks like Animal Planet, said Tuesday that its first-quarter net income fell 28 percent as it booked losses on its investment in the Oprah Winfrey Network.

The results fell short of analysts’ forecasts and shares fell more than 6 percent in afternoon trading.

Net income in the three months ended March 31 fell to $221 million, or 57 cents per share, from $306 million, or 74 cents per share, a year ago.

That was less than the 60 cents per share expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Last year, Discovery booked a gain of $102 million after contributing the Discovery Health network to OWN. This year, it booked a loss related to its 50 percent stake in the network of $10 million, or 3 cents per share.

Revenue rose 16 percent to $1.10 billion from $951 million. That beat the $1.06 billion analysts expected.

Its share of subscriber fees from distributors rose 19 percent to $576 million while advertising revenue rose 16 percent to $453 million.

For the full year, Discovery said it expects revenue of $4.55 billion to $4.65 billion. The midpoint of $4.60 billion is above the $4.56 billion analysts were looking for. It expects net income to be $1 billion to $1.1 billion. Analysts were looking for $1.06 billion.

Discovery shares fell $3.39, or 6.3 percent, to $50.69 in afternoon trading Tuesday. They hit a 52-week high of $55.36 last week. They are 45 percent above their low of $34.75 in early August.