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Discovery invests extra US$50m in OWN and eyes int’l launches

Discovery Communications is investing more money in OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network and says the cable channel could launch internationally.

“We believe strongly that there’s room for this niche here in the US,” CEO David Zaslav said on a conference call following the company’s full-year results. “We’re launching in Canada in a few months, and we think there’s room for this channel in a number of markets around the world.”

CFO Brad Singer said it will sink another US$50 million  into the recently-launched joint venture channel and that it had invested an additional US$46 million in the US cable channel in the fourth quarter.

Zaslav also said that environmental-themed US channel Planet Green will be revamped. “Planet Green, we’re probably going do something else with,” he said. “We think we can probably do something else with that that would be more meaningful.”

Meanwhile, Discovery Communications posted a double-digit increase in revenues from its international operations in 2010 as advertising sales grew 23%. Total revenues from the international channels increased 11% year-on-year in 2010, taking the total to US$1.25 billion.