Discovery channel acquires majority stake in Oprah’s Own TV network
BY ALAN GREEN
In a deal announced Monday, Maryland-based Discovery channel is paying communications mogul Oprah Winfrey $70 million to acquire a stake in Oprah’s basic channel Own. Prior to the deal, the two entities had a 50-50 joint venture. Discovery Communications’ ownership in the Own network now increases by an additional 24.5%, totaling almost 75%.
This is the first time since launching the channel in 2011 Oprah Winfrey has taken money out of the venture. She will, however, remain the CEO of Own, and will continue to serve as the network’s CEO, working exclusively for NOW, until 2025.
The communications diva remarked in a statement:
“Creating OWN and seeing it flourish, supported by Discovery and a rapidly-growing group of the finest storytellers in film and television, is one of my proudest achievements. I’m thrilled with the network’s success and excited about this next chapter in our partnership.”
For his part, Discovery Chief Executive David Zaslav said in a statement:
“This transaction allows Discovery and Oprah to unlock more value from our partnership; extends once more her commitment to the network; and lets us continue our strong work together to nourish OWN viewers with the content they love.”
After some some rating struggle at the start and staff turnover, OWN grew into the highest-rated network for African American women. The most popular series include “Queen Sugar” and “Greenleaf.” The network is in 80 million homes in America alone. Discovery is expected to pluck good dividends from this deal.