UBS: Discovery chief urges patience on OWN

CEO David Zaslav sez plan is to build aud over 2 years

Discovery Communications topper David Zaslav preached patience to investors Wednesday when it comes to evaluating the health of OWN, the company’s joint cable venture with Oprah Winfrey.

Zaslav told Wall Streeters at the UBS Global Media and Communications confab that he and Winfrey are focused on building “a meaningful audience for OWN over the next two years.”

Zaslav acknowledged that OWN would continue to see losses but that it had found traction in places he hadn’t expected. “The African-American community is finding OWN a little more quickly than the rest of America,” he said.

The CEO took the same tack with reference to the Hub, its joint venture with Hasbro, although initial expectations for that network were much lower. “It’s a journey,” Zaslav said. “Like any cable channel, you put out what you think the audience wants to see, and then you react to what the audience wants.”

Another key area of focus in the near term is the international rollout of its true-crime cabler Investigation Discovery. Zaslav impressed the crowd by noting that the channel boasts 47% profit margins in overseas markets.