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Discovery revenue soars, ITV blames CRR for diet of soaps and talent shows

Discovery Communications’ quarterly profit nearly doubled to $186m and the media company yesterday raised its outlook for 2010 revenue as a whole thanks to bigger audiences and stronger advertising at its roster of cable networks.

Discovery, whose cable networks include Discovery Channel, TLC and Animal Planet, registered 16 per cent increase in US advertising revenue and a 23 per cent rise in international advertising.

Discovery reported earnings of $186 million, or 43 cents a share, compared with $94 million, or 22 cents a share, in the same period a year ago on a revenue increase of 11 per cent to $926m. It is expecting about $3.8bn for the year.

Things aren’t quite so rosy back at the UK’s ITV, with CEO Adam Crozier and chairman Archie Norman telling a committee of MPs that the ever-controversial contract rights renewal system, whereby it has to compensate advertisers if ratings fall, has cost it £262m since 2003.

Consequently ITV is forced to stuff its schedule with ratings-winners like Coronation Street rather than offer the more ‘balanced’ schedule that fans of the old regional ITV fondly (and rather fancifully) recall.

The duo were careful not to criticise Simon Cowell and co of X Factor fame, which produces a tidal wave of money for the station with advertisers across the marketing spectrum paying premium rates to debut their new campaigns on the high-rating (15m viewers last week) programme. Crozier referred to ITV’s current line-up of “soaps and what have you,” while Norman spoke of the station’s reliance on “lowest common denominator programmes.”

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But with ITV ad revenue up 13.5 per cent this year the dynamic duo will probably have to wait a while before they are allowed ditch the hated CRR.

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