Discovery Communications is now the majority stakeholder in Oprah Winfrey’s OWN. The Discovery Channel-owner just paid $70 million to acquire an additional 24.5 percent of the Oprah Winfrey Network from Harpo, Inc.
Oprah’s Harpo and Discovery were previously 50-50 in the joint venture. As part of the latest transaction, Winfrey will continue on as CEO — her contract has been extended through 2025.
“Ten years ago, Oprah and I began to imagine what a network, inspired by her vision and values, could mean to viewers across the U.S.,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery. “In an increasingly crowded landscape, OWN has emerged as the leading destination for African-American women and one of the strongest superfan brands across all screens and services. 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.”
“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,” added Winfrey. “I’m thrilled with the network’s success and excited about this next chapter in our partnership. Together, we’ll continue to inspire our viewers with real-life stories that are emotional and entertaining, connecting them to each other and to their greatest potential.”
“I’m excited for OWN to be part of Discovery in a deeper, more meaningful way and for the opportunity this unlocks for our future,” said Erik Logan, president, OWN. “Our network has achieved what most people thought was impossible and as we look toward the future, now more than ever, we are poised for continued success.”
Launched in 2011, OWN has become the No. 1 network for African-American women, boasting the Top 4 original scripted series among the demo on ad-supported cable. And once its acquisition of Scripps is completed, Discovery — which also owns TLC — will oversee a 20 percent share of women watching primetime pay-TV in the U.S., per the publicly traded umbrella corporation.