Oprah Winfrey's new cable network is set to launch in a few weeks. But it still faces a longer-term hurdle: Getting cable and satellite operators to pay for it.
The new Los Angeles-based network – which is a 50-50 joint venture between Discovery Communications Inc. and Winfrey — is set to replace Discovery Health network in about 80 million homes on Jan 1. Discovery Health, which is not widely watched, receives no per-household subscription fee in the "majority of cases," said David Zaslav, Discovery's chief executive, during remarks at the UBS Global Media and Communications conference in Manhattan on Monday.
The network, which unveiled details about its programming in April, has drawn interest from advertisers. Consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble Co. committed more than $100 million over three years. But television networks no longer believe they can thrive on advertising alone, with even major broadcast networks seeking subscription fees from cable and satellite operators.
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