I’ve said it before on S & A more than once, and I’ll say it again. It ain’t easy starting a TV network. It takes lots of time, patience and money. Lots and lots and lots and lots of money, as Oprah Winfrey is no doubt learning.
Even she herself was recently quoted as saying that if she’d known before what she was getting into starting up OWN, she wouldn’t have done it.
Well she must be thinking about that even harder now, as it was reported just recently in Business Week magazine that OWN has lost as much as $330 million, and that industry insiders are quoted as saying that the network won’t last unless it can find some hit shows and make a “dramatic turnaround.”
The article even quotes one Wall Street media analyst calling OWN: “the most successful failure in television today.”
Though, in fairness, it’s still too early to say that.
Since 2008, the Discovery Channel, which has been underwriting all the costs of the OWN, has sunk almost $600 million in the venture, but has seen little in return; and according to the article, David Zaslav, the CEO of Discovery Communications, is getting fed up.
Another insider was quoted as saying: “I can’t really see Zaslav losing this kind of money for much longer.”
But is this really the end of OWN? Like I just said, it’s too soon to tell, and I predict that both Oprah and Discovery are going to be in it for the long haul.
Though exactly what kind of time period constitutes a “long haul” is anybody’s guess.