Thursday, December 08, 2011

Oprah's OWN Moneypit

Oprah Winfrey's OWN Network is turning into a giant money pit for Oprah and her Discovery Channel partners...

From The Wall Street Journal
Losses will mount at Oprah Winfrey's new cable channel for a "period of time," as Discovery Communications Inc. keeps investing in the venture, Discovery's chief executive told investors Wednesday.

The new channel, known as OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, is jointly owned by Discovery and Ms. Winfrey's Harpo Inc. It has had a rocky start since launching last year, with lackluster ratings and management turnover. Ms. Winfrey took over as chief executive of OWN over the summer to help get programming on track, and plans to host a new prime-time interview show dubbed "Oprah's Next Chapter" beginning in January.

"The losses will increase for a period of time, and the funding will increase for a period of time," Discovery CEO David Zaslav said at an investor conference organized by UBS AG. Discovery has spent $254 million funding OWN through Sept. 30, according to securities filings.

Mr. Zaslav said he believes more viewers will tune in when Ms. Winfrey's new prime-time show makes its debut, and that the company is continuing to talk to cable and satellite operators who dom't currently pay to carry the channel to boost its subscription revenue.