This is a Surprise: CEO Says High-Profile Cable Network Will Finally Be Profitable This Year, Ahead of Schedule

May 29, 2013  •  Post A Comment

Launching a high-profile cable network can cost millions of dollars, so it’s of some note that a money-loser is now predicted to make money this year.

David Zaslav, the CEO of Discovery Communications, made the surprise announcement that the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), which Discovery co-owns with Oprah Winfrey, will actually be profitable this year, reports Deadline.com

Heretofore, it was thought that the network would just get to break-even by the end of the year.

According to the Deadline story, written by our good friend David Lieberman, OWN, "which stumbled out of the gate in 2011 — is ‘ahead of where we thought it would be’ and ‘finding enormous success for us,’ [Zaslav said]. For example, on Saturday night, when it runs original programming without Winfrey, ‘we’re the No. 1 network for African American women.’ The comment buttressed Zaslav’s broader argument that the pay TV business is in good shape, and Discovery is doing especially well in that environment. Zaslav is unfazed by the seemingly growing number of consumers who say that they’re fed up with rising pay TV rates, and want distributors to offer channels a la carte or on low-priced tiers. ‘This is a very sturdy system,’ he says. ‘Viewers really enjoy the basic package. … I don’t see that being challenged.’ "

The story adds, "That belief will drive Discovery as it prepares to fight for higher fees in its next rounds of carriage negotiations with pay TV providers. ‘We feel we need to get more value’ for the company’s rising ratings, and outlays for programming. ‘We’re on the right side of the argument emotionally and on the right side of the argument in terms of the statistics.’ ”

Zaslav made his remarks at the Sanford C. Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference today, Wednesday, May 29, 2013.

3 Comment

  1. I have never watched OWN and am not in their target market. Yet I am required to pay for OWN. And they have the gall to say they are going to ask that viewers like me pay more for something I have never used! This is why my kids don’t subscribe to cable or satellite TV, but get all of their TV off of the Internet. This type of attitude towards consumers is hurting the cable and satellite industries with the under 30 crowd and will eventually result in serious damage to their businesses if they don’t wise up.

  2. Exactly right. I stopped paying for cable years ago, because there is no point. Between Netflix, pirate downloads and streams, and my Bluray player, I see EVERYTHING I want to, when I want to. Last night I watched a live pirated feed of the NHL game 7 Chicago v Detroit. I’d gladly pay the NHL a few bucks to stream it, but since it was on NBCSports, NOT AVAILABLE. So I called up a pirate stream. It was ad-free, full HD stream and required no extra software or BS to watch. Why would I pay for the opportunity to jump through hoops and get blacked out, when the pirates provide what I want in HD with no resrictions?

  3. I would think you would attempt to make your point without using the word “pirate…” Let’s call it what it is: STEALING. While it’s great for your pocketbook to watch programming for free, someone has to pay for it. If everyone used pirate sites like you do, especially when you brag about it being “ad-free,” how do you expect the programming to even be available? TV programming is not a charity–like it or not, it is a profit making business. I just don’t get your point in glorifying basic stealing. Sorry!

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