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Discovery Expects Cash From Oprah Winfrey Net to Accelerate

Network sees OWN cabler paying down debt in stronger fashion, says CFO

Cash flow coming from the Oprah Winfrey Network is poised to “accelerate,” Discovery Communications’ Chief Financial Officer Andy Warren said at an investor conference Wednesday.

“We are extremely bullish now on where OWN is,” Warren said. “Oprah is in the right place. She’s dedicated to it. She gives it all her time and attention.”

The cable network, which Discovery owns jointly with Winfrey’s Harpo production company, had a rocky starting process. But in July, Discovery told investors the network, which has taken $510 million in loans from the Silver Spring, Md. , cable programmer, turned cash-flow positive for the first time in the second quarter.

How long will it take OWN to repay its debt to Discovery?  “It’s not forever and it’s not next year,” said Warren, but “you will see an accelerated level of cash flow to us” as affiliate fees rise and ratings increase.

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