Discovery's streaming investments hit profit, shares fall

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(Reuters) -Discovery Inc on Wednesday reported a smaller-than-expected quarterly profit, as the media company ramped up investments in its streaming platform, sending its shares tumbling 8% in early trading.

While Discovery benefited from a recovery in advertising sales on its networks during the quarter, the race to retain paying customers in the crowded streaming market that includes Netflix Inc and Walt Disney Co's Disney+ called for higher investments in content.

Discovery's total costs and expenses jumped 26% to $2.40 billion in the three months ended March 31, as it bets on unscripted programming in categories including food and home improvement to take on competitors.

Total paid streaming subscribers globally was at 13 million at the end of the first quarter, primarily driven by its Discovery+ service that was launched on Jan. 4, the company said.

Discovery said it currently has 15 million paid streaming subscribers.

Net income dipped 62.9% to $140 million, or 21 cents per share, during the quarter, missing Wall Street estimates of 65 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

However, revenue rose 4% to $2.79 billion, edging past Wall Street estimates of $2.78 billion.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews and Helen Coster;Editing by Vinay Dwivedi and Ramakrishnan M.)