Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav says he expects
OWN, the company's troubled joint venture with Oprah Winfrey, to reach cash
flow breakeven in the second half of 2013.
Losses associated with OWN cut into Discovery's first
quarter earnings announced Tuesday. Discovery has poured more than $300 million
into getting the channel off the ground.
During the company's earnings call with analysts Tuesday
morning, Zaslav said that with Oprah appearing on the channel more often and
failing shows cancelled, ratings are rising. Costs have been cut and new
distribution agreements with cable operators including Comcast calling for
"meaningful" subscriber fees, kicking in beginning in 2013, "we remain confident
in the growth potential of this network."
He said that "we anticipate funding to OWN in 2012 will be
less than 2011," and added that "we expect to achieve cash-flow breakeven in
the second half of 2013."
Zaslav also said that recent indicators point to a record
upfront for Discovery.