MUMBAI: Oprah Winfrey is set to launch her own television network with Discovery Communications.
Christened OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, this will be a new multi-platform venture designed to entertain, inform and inspire people to live their best lives.
OWN will debut in 2009 in more than 70 million homes, on what is currently the Discovery Health Channel. The venture will also include the award-winning digital platform Oprah.com.
“Fifteen years ago, I wrote in my journal that one day I would create a television network, as I always felt my show was just the beginning of what the future could hold,” said Oprah Winfrey, who will serve as chairman of OWN. “For me, the launch of The Oprah Winfrey Network is the evolution of the work I’ve been doing on television all these years and a natural extension of my show.”
Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav said, “At Discovery, our goals are to improve the quality of the networks while expanding the reach and success of our web presence. This venture does both, and having Oprah as Chairman and creative leader makes OWN a very unique property in a crowded media landscape.”
In addition to providing her talent, and personal commitment, Winfrey will have full editorial control over the joint venture and will be responsible for OWN’s programming, branding and creative vision.
The venture will be 50:50 owned by Discovery and Harpo. This is a cashless transaction and The Oprah Winfrey Network will be an independent company.
Discovery Communications will contribute to the venture as well as handle distribution, origination and other operational requirements for the proposed venture. Both organizations will contribute advertising sales services to the venture.
The search for OWN’s CEO to oversee day-to-day venture operations will begin immediately.