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Discovery eyes first TV Everywhere carriage deals

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Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA) may soon strike its first distribution deals with multichannel providers that include rights to access TV Everywhere content, CEO David Zaslav said Thursday.

"I think there's a decent chance we'll do some TV Everywhere deals over the next few months. But the good news is there is no distributor in the U.S. that has TV Everywhere rights for our content. And given that we are almost 10 percent of viewership on cable, I think that is a very valuable opportunity," he added, suggesting that Discovery could increase viewers and ad revenue by reaching subscribers on the Web and mobile devices with TV Everywhere content.

While Discovery was one of the first cable programmers to develop digital and high-definition cable networks, it has taken a more conservative approach in distributing programming from Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, TLC and other networks through subscription video-on-demand, online video outlets and mobile devices. Discovery executives have said previously that they want to protect the value of the company's core cable networks. But with Nielsen and other ratings firms improving their ability to measure viewing of VOD and TV Everywhere content, the company may be able to boost revenue by distributing content on new platforms.

Discovery generated $1.2 billion in revenue in the fourth quarter, up $94 million compared to the same period in 2011. Revenue at its U.S. networks increased by 4 percent. The company posted $224 million (61 cents per share) in net income, compared to $336 million (86 cents per share) in the fourth quarter of 2011.

For more:
- see the release
- see transcript from earnings call

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