Ratings at the channel, a joint venture with Oprah Winfrey, are “ahead of where we thought we’d be,” Discovery CEO David Zaslav told analysts this morning. The audience was up in all 12 months of 2012, and was +36% for the full year. He’s also encouraged by the two series from Tyler Perry that are scheduled to launch in May: a drama, The Haves And The Have Nots, and a comedy, Love Thy Neighbor. “I’ve seen the scripts and they look strong,” he says. Winfrey is actively involved with the projects. Perry just “sent me some pictures and Oprah was in the control room,” Zaslav says. The bottom line: Discovery is “fully on track” to see OWN‘s cash flow break even in the second half of 2013. CFO Andy Warren adds that Discovery “achieved our objective” of providing less funding for OWN in 2012 than it did in 2011. “It is a big driver of our improvement in [earnings per share]” in the financial report the company released this morning. He adds that the company will update the Street in the second half of this year when “we see debt reduction and paydown of our obligation.”
By DAVID LIEBERMAN, Financial Editor | Thursday February 14, 2013 @ 9:45am ESTTags: Discovery Communications, Oprah Winfrey, OWN, Tyler Perry
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