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Discovery To Pump More Money into OWN

Ratings below expectations, but new shows on the way 4/28/2011 12:21:09 PM Eastern

Discovery expects to pump more money into its joint venture OWN The Oprah Winfrey Network.

"While we have made progress with OWN, we believe based on current business expectation we will fun in excess of our prior $50 million incremental estimate," said Singer, CFO of Discovery during the company's first quarter earnings call Thursday morning. "The funding level will be reflective of our ratings progress in the next several quarters."

Discovery has already invested $215 million in the channel, including $57 million in the first quarter.

David Zaslav, Discovery CEO said Discovery remains committed to OWN despite a slow start.

"The ratings have . . . been below our expectations and so we've been digging in. We're focused on what does the audience want from OWN," Zaslav said.

"As with any new cable channel some content is working, while other programming has not connected with an audience. OWN continues to invest in new programming, working hard to create compelling content," Zaslav added. "We're optimistic that the ratings at OWN will build through 2011, with 21 new series set to debut."

He noted that new shows featuring Shania Twain and Rosie O'Donnell are on the way, along with Oprah Winfrey's 25 year library of shows.

"With Oprah's broadcast show coming to a close, we couldn't be more excited that Oprah and her team will be turning their full attention to OWN," he said.

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