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Discovery to launch new streaming service as profit falls 71 percent

Discovery, home of “90 Day Fiancé” and Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives,” said Wednesday that it plans to launch a new streaming service as the coronavirus took a bite out of its second-quarter income.

The broadcasting giant, which owns channels TLC, Food Network and HGTV, plans to launch a new, subscription-based streaming service that will focus more heavily on “scripted series and scripted movies,” although it will also include non-fiction and unscripted shows, according to Chief Executive David Zaslav.

The CEO, however, was light on details as to how the service will stand out from a sea of streamers like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Disney+, HBO Max and others.

Like its competitors, Discovery is battling sharp declines in advertising revenue during the pandemic. US advertising fell 14 percent during the quarter, even as Discovery was able to reel in high ratings at TLC and produce over 1,000 hours of new content across its channels amid the outbreak.

Zaslav touted the success of Food Network’s “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook” a new show that was launched in May. Shot at the comedian’s home in Martha’s Vineyard, the show documents Schumer and her husband, Chris, fumbling to prepare meals while in quarantine.

But the strength the new content hasn’t been enough to stem the economic fallout related to COVID-19.

For the quarter ended June 30, Discovery saw its profit fall 71.4 percent to $271 million or 40 cents a share, compared with $947 million, or $1.33 a share, a year earlier. Adjusted EPS was 77 cents, besting Wall Street’s prediction of 75 cents a share.

Revenue fell 11.9 percent to $2.54 billion versus year-ago revenue of $2.89 billion.

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