Discovery Communications is increasing its ownership on OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network to 70%.
Since the network started in 2011, Discovery and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Inc. each had a 50-50 stake in the channel. The new Discovery stake -- which Discovery paid $70 million for -- takes into account net debt at the network.
Harpo will retain a minority interest in the 6-year-old OWN network, but did not disclose details. Oprah Winfrey will continue in her role as CEO of the network and will extend her exclusivity to the network through 2025.
In the third quarter of this year, OWN averaged 618,000 total prime-time viewers, in 29th place among all cable networks. OWN pulled in 171,000 in the women 25-54 demographic at 23rd place and 133,000 in the women 18-49 demographic for 28th place.
A year after starting up, OWN’s losses were estimated to be $330 million as of May 2012. A Wall Street Journal report last year said OWN still owed about $373 million from the more than $500 million Discovery lent it early in the venture.
Following the completion of the Scripps Networks Interactive $11.9 billion deal, Discovery says it will be home to five of the top pay-TV networks for women -- a 20% share of women watching prime-time pay-TV in the U.S.