Times Co. Action Could Cost Discovery $135M
Silver Spring, Md. — Discovery Communications Inc. could face a $135 million bill in the next few weeks if its partner in the Discovery Times Channel decides to return its 50% interest in the network to DCI, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
According to a 10-K annual report filed March 23 by Discovery Holding Co. — the publicly traded vehicle for Liberty Media Corp.'s 50% interest in DCI and its 100% interest in Ascent Media Group — The New York Times Co., DCI's 50-50 partner in Discovery Times, has the right to put that interest back to Discovery beginning in April.
According to the 10-K, the Times' interest in the 36 million subscriber channel would be valued based on a specific formula with a floor of $80 million and a ceiling of $135 million. The Times paid about $100 million for its 50% interest in the channel in 2002, according to the 10-K.
OLN Gets Back on the Bull
Stamford, Conn. — OLN will keep bull riding in its corral through 2010.
The Comcast Corp.-owned network signed a four-year extension, terms of which were not disclosed, with Professional Bull Riders Inc., securing cable exclusivity with the circuit through decade's end.
The contract calls for OLN to air a minimum of 22 regular-season PBR events, as well as the finals. Additionally, OLN has access to three Challenger Series (PBR's version of the minor leagues) events and finals.
OLN, which has been airing the PBR since 2003, has enjoyed solid demo growth with the rough and tumble cowboys. In 2005, the network rode a 10% gain among men 25 to 54, with 74,720 tuning in on average. Through the first 12 events of this year, OLN has averaged 80,571 of those watchers, and 381,093 total viewers, versus 331,164 a year ago.
Typically, OLN airs up to 120 hours of PBR action annually.