The Oprah Winfrey Network could lose an estimated $142.9 million this year, which could prompt co-owner Discovery to pull the plug on the venture, research and investment firm SNL Kagan said Wednesday.
OWN, the struggling cable network owned by Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications, could lose $142.9 million this year, according to an analysis by SNL Kagan.
“Without a significant ratings boost by year-end, this could be Oprah Winfrey’s last chapter in the cable network industry,” it says.
The analysis says the network is facing many challenges in its effort to go from red to black. Among them: advertisers tired of waiting for viewers to show up and cable operators unwilling to pay affiliate fees between 20 cents and 25 cents to renew carriage agreements this year as the network had hoped.
“Although management at Discovery continues to remain bullish in their comments on the prospects for OWN, the fact that they have moved the CFO Neal Kirsch from Discovery Communications into the COO position at OWN says otherwise,” the analysis says.
“We’re expecting a big write-down in the first quarter and we would not be surprised to see Discovery ask Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions to finance some of the network’s losses going forward.
“Discovery has already funded well beyond its $189 million commitment and they may want Harpo Productions to have more skin in the game.”