Thursday, November 26, 2009

Will people follow Oprah to cable?


The big news in media these days is Oprah’s announcement that in 2011 she is ending her syndicated show and starting her own cable network – the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).

The premise is that content is king and people will seek out Oprah wherever she may be. Of course how much Oprah people will be getting is unclear at this time, since the website declares that the network will be devoted to “self-discovery”, and that Oprah will “appear and participate in new programming” – but doesn’t clarify exactly what that means. (Steinberg, 2009)

While the double revenue stream of cable (advertising and subscriptions) may be more lucrative, the recent disappointing performance of O Magazine (newsstand sales were down – 6% in the first half of 2009), suggests that the medium is as important as the message. (Kelly, 2009)

And, let’s not forget about Howard Stern. Howard who you might ask? He may have made oodles of money moving to satellite radio, but he lost his platform and marginalized his voice in the process.

Is that what’s in store for the queen of daytime?

Steinberg, B. (2009, November 20). Will Oprah’s Move to Cable Dampen the ‘Oprah Effect’? Retrived November 25, 2009, from

Kelly, K. (2009, November 21). Hearst planning makeover of slumping Oprah Magazine. Retrived November 25, 2009, from


  1. While Satellite radio was a completely new venture, Cable TV is not. Many people, although they still watch Oprah on network TV, also follow other shows on cable already. It has most likely existed in their homes for a while, and it will not mean people will necessarily have to go out and sign up for Cable. XM believed that bringing Howard over would result in all of his followers (who already own Cable) buying a new device with a monthly membership just to listen to his show. His target audience did not exactly seem to be the kind of people out to spend more money on untested satellite radio either. The leap from network tv to cable is simply a much shorter one.

  2. Brandon makes a great point in regards to the satellite innovation. It basically killed many of Howard Stern followers. Lets be frank, Howard Stern is no Oprah Winfrey. I think this is just what she needed and its evident she knew too. For the past year or so I've felt as though she has wanted to say and do more that with ABC she is unable to. Especially with the multiple sex, marriage, and intervention issues. With that said, I think OWN(Oprah Winfrey Network) will be great for her and other advertisers, sponsors, and her followers will have access to thier own channel.