Courtesy of The Grio
The question has been asked hundreds of times in the last decade, but is more relevant than ever as woes deepen for Oprah Winfrey’s ill-fated cable venture. In a landscape littered with the carcasses of discarded corporate names like Hewlett Packard-Compaq, Citigroup, and AOL-Time Warner (the forerunner to the now equally-troubled AOL-Huffington Post marriage), Discovery Communications’ conversion of its Health channel into the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is hemorrhaging cash. Alas, media watchers are already warning that the splashy joint project with the former queen of daytime television stands a real possibility of being put out to pasture within a year.
At first blush, the biggest loser in the spluttering merger appears to be Discovery. When the network announced its first quarter earnings this week, its bottom-line – excluding OWN – was a picture of financial health that investors would otherwise have welcomed. Sadly, the fledgling channel’s modest subscriber growth is being dwarfed by its massive financial losses, news that sent its stock reeling. According to Bloomberg News, the network’s cumulative losses may have exceeded $300 million since it first started.