Discovery CEO David Zaslav says that OWN beat his forecast that it would begin to generate cash in the second half of this year. He told analysts this morning, in his Q2 report, that Discovery’s joint venture with Oprah Winfrey is “now cash flow positive and starting to pay down the investment Discovery has made in the venture.” He attributed the acceleration to the higher fees that pay TV distributors are shelling out for OWN vs its predecessor, Discovery Health. In addition, the channel’s rising ratings are “translating into significant advertising growth including signing over 30 new clients during this upfront, and driving double digit scatter pricing.” He singled out Tyler Perry’s Have And Have Nots and Love Thy Neighbor as “bona fide hits” that contributed to 39% ratings growth among women 25-to-54 in Q2. That was “the highest growth of any cable network” in the quarter and made OWN a top 20 network for women in June — and made it a top-3 network for African American women over the last eight weeks. Zaslav says that OWN’s “positive cash flow generation should continue to increase” with new shows including Perry’s third series, For Better Or For Worse, which makes its debut this fall.
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