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“Having the opportunity to partner with Oprah was a [special] moment for our company,” said David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery Communications. Calling her “the leading curator of what matters,” he added before bringing her onto the stage, “She certainly has enriched my life” and that of his family.
Zaslav also said that the OWN network, after initially struggling, was now “enormously cash flow positive,” adding Winfrey worked hard because it “wasn’t easy” in the early days. “It’s truly a cash flow machine,” Discovery CFO Andy Warren echoed later about OWN. But he reiterated that its financials don’t currently get consolidated into Discovery’s results.
Winfrey started her surprise appearance at the event by saying: “[Good] morning, everybody! Hi investors! Nice to be in a room with investor people.” She highlighted that Discovery and her were approaching the five-year anniversary of OWN. And she said she had thought about a network since the 1990s, hoping to cultivate “more meaning and conversations that actually matter to people” instead of doing her talk show.
“We have invested in storytelling,” said Winfrey after thanking investors for putting money into Discovery and thereby into OWN. “I really have never been more confident about the power of having a platform,” she said, predicting “a future so bright that it burns our eyes.”
Winfrey also reiterated recent news that she would have a recurring role in OWN drama Greenleaf.
And she thanked Discovery for giving her a chance to cause important debates, although she also quipped that “sometimes people are crazy on the web.”
She left after introducing a clip for landmark TV series Belief. After taking over again from Winfrey on stage, Zaslav said the series would air around the world and called the show a “great inspiration for us all.”
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