Discovery CFO Andy Warren says that the goal is for his company to spend less this year than it did in 2011 on the joint venture with Oprah Winfrey, and for the channel to become cash flow neutral in the second half of 2013. And with OWN’s solid recent ratings, that shouldn’t be a problem he told the Goldman Sachs Annual Communacopia Conference today. “The network is doing very well. We couldn’t be happier with it.” His characterization of the network as being “on or ahead of” its plan is more cautious than CEO David Zaslav was in July when he said that OWN is “significantly ahead of where we thought we would be.” The company said at the time that OWN “remains on track to reach profitability in the back half of next year.” Warren warned at the time that OWN’s losses could grow in Discovery’s Q3 earnings report due to plans to increase spending for programming and marketing. But Warren said today that he’s encouraged by ratings which are up 35% year to date, and up 75% so far in this quarter. In addition to the improvements from Oprah’s Next Chapter, he says that “now, more importantly, some of the new programming we have that doesn’t star Oprah but is Oprah-esque is now beginning to perform very well. And so it is clearly a top channel for African-American women….It is right on track with all the economics that we laid out for investors and we feel good about it.”
Related: OWN Execs Remain Resolutely Positive
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