Discovery Communications, which will partner with Oprah Winfrey in the new OWN cable network starting next year, expects her to stop doing her syndicated show in September 2011.
“The expectation is that after that, her show will go off of ABC in syndication and she will come to OWN," Discovery CEO David Zaslav said on the company’s first earnings call as a public company. “We’re talking now about what the presence will be and what kind of programming she would be involved in directly. But this is her Chapter 2, and building the OWN brand online and on air is . . . A core mission for her.”
Mr. Zaslav said Ms. Winfrey now is “very involved with us and focusing on what the channel is going to be, as well as developing Oprah.com.”
Discovery said that its third quarter revenues rose 11% from a year ago to $845 million and adjusted operating earnings increased 23%.
Those gains “in these challenging economic and capital market conditions demonstrates the strength of our brands, the diversity of our revenue streams and the global demand for our content," Mr. Zaslav said.
Discovery’s U.S. networks reported a 5% increase in advertising revenue and an 8% increase in distribution revenue. Advertising revenue increased 5% from higher sellouts and pricing, partially offset by lower ratings at TLC and Discovery Channel, the company said.
Mr. Zaslav said the scatter market for advertising has slowed, but prices are holding, and cancellations of upfront orders are up from a year ago, “but still at normalized levels.”
Despite the poor economic outlook, the company expects to post an increase in ad revenue in the fourth quarter, he said.
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