Oprah Winfrey Network to Lose $140 Million Amid Ratings Woes
According to SNL Financial, The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) could lose $142.9 million in 2012 amid weak ratings for its programming.
The Los Angeles, Calif.-based network, headed by media mogul Oprah Winfrey in partnership with Discovery Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: DISCA), saw its ratings go up 10 percent in January to a 0.13.
However, this improvement is still "miniscule" compared to the programming investment, stated SNL.
Through December of last year, Discovery had invested a whopping $312 million into OWN. The network's ratings for last year, however, were merely even with Discovery Health, the relatively obscure channel OWN had replaced, reported USA Today.
OWN's struggles can be summed up by the recent cancellation of Rosie O'Donnell's talk show, which the network had high hopes for but ultimately did not attract a big enough audience.
On Monday, OWN announced that it is cutting 30 out of 150 staff members.
SNL noted that Discovery has already exceeded its funding commitment of $189 million.
If OWN were to continue to struggle and lose money, the Silver Spring, Md-based company could ask Winfrey's Harpo Productions to fund more of the cost.
Further down the road, SNL floated the possibility that it could shut down the network.
Discovery, on its part, still supports OWN, claiming SNL's report is "riddled with inaccuracies and bad information."
Discovery Communications shares slipped in afternoon trading 21 cents to $48.12.