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Discovery posts strong 4Q, year

For Discovery Communications Inc., international efforts have yielded strong revenue.

The communications company, which is based in Silver Spring, reported fourth-quarter 2013 revenue of $1.5 billion, an increase of 28 percent from the fourth quarter of 2012. For the full year, revenue reached $5.5 billion, up 23 percent from the prior year.

The company had its fifth straight year of audience growth in 2013.

“Discovery’s strong 2013 results reflect the additional market share we are capturing around the globe as we further invest in our diverse content portfolio and capitalize on the growth opportunities available across the unmatched worldwide distribution platform we have developed,” said CEO David Zaslav in a statement Thursday.

“As we move into 2014, we remain focused on maintaining the financial momentum we have generated consistently over the past several years while further investing in our brands and strategic growth initiatives so we can deliver additional shareholder value moving forward.”

The company attributes its fourth-quarter revenue to 64 percent growth at international networks and 5 percent growth at U.S. networks.

Discovery made three international acquisitions recently. It bought SBS Nordic in April 2013, after picking up Italian media company Switchover Media as well as a television station in Dubai in December 2012.

With these acquisitions included, the company experienced 119 percent growth in international advertising revenue and 31 percent growth in distribution revenue in fourth quarter 2013 compared with one year before.

Even with these acquisitions excluded, the company’s international advertising revenue increased 26 percent, thanks to increased viewership and higher pricing.

Especially strong regions included Western Europe and Latin America. However, Zaslav emphasized in a conference call with investors Thursday that audience growth has been broad-based, and not overly reliant on any particular region or country.

More acquisition activity awaits Discovery, which announced in January that it will acquire the controlling interest in Eurosport International. Zaslav referred to Eurosport as ESPN for Europe.

Eurosport’s flagship network reached 133 million homes in 54 countries, in 20 languages.

Discovery’s shares closed Thursday at $79.30, down 4.3 percent. Discovery now has the second-highest highest market capitalization of any publicly traded company in Maryland, according to Bloomberg.