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Posts Tagged ‘Oprah Winfrey’

Oprah Launches Book Club 2.0

A new video from Oprah Winfrey has relaunched her book club. Only this time it’s Book Club 2.0, a digitized version of the club that will include e-books (notes highlighting the parts she likes will be included), a Twitter hashtag #oprahsbookclub, and additional interaction on Facebook and elsewhere.

The first book — the book Oprah says prompted the book club’s return — is Wild by Cheryl Strayed. Versions of the book with the coveted Oprah’s choice sticker will begin appearing on bookshelves next week.

The original book club launched many book sales into the stratosphere over the decade-plus that Oprah made her 65 selections. Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 promises to not only help book sales, but perhaps help OWN, Oprah’s broadcast network which has been struggling with ratings. Barely two weeks ago, Oprah and The Huffington Post announced a partnership that would bring an OWN section to that site. So it appears that Oprah is trying a variety of things both old and new to draw attention and fans.

Wild is the nonfiction story of the author’s 1,100-mile California trek after she suffered the loss of her mother and a divorce. As of June 10, the book will be number 22 on The New York Times bestseller list.

[via The New York Times, h/t GalleyCat]

Oprah Addresses OWN’s Struggles, Signs Deal With Comcast

Oprah Winfrey has inked a deal with Comcast that will bring her struggling OWN channel to millions of additional homes. The deal will tack on three million-plus Comcast subscribers to the pool of potential viewers and put a little cash in the network’s coffers. Comcast had been carrying the channel without paying a subscriber fee. That will change at the beginning of 2013.

The news comes on the heels of statements from Oprah addressing the problems the network has had since it launched. She spoke with Access Hollywood about some of the things she had to learn about running a network, like if you want people to watch, you have make it easy for them to find. (Good advice for PRs doing events.) She also sets the record straight about her relationship with Rosie O’Donnell, saying the two handled the cancellation of Rosie’s show like adults without any of the reported bickering.

And on CBS This Morning, she made the quote of the day, saying she “might have done something else” had she known how difficult launching a network would be. She also made a few points that we think would be food for thought for anyone launching campaign.

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Revolving Door: Changes at OWN, ‘HGTV Magazine,’ and More

Oprah Winfrey‘s OWN has announced a number of big changes. First we had news that The Rosie Show, the talk show hosted by Rosie O’Donnell that was introduced with great fanfare back in October, has been cancelled. (Rumor has it the two aren’t speaking.) Among the problems with the show cited by The Daily Beast is its location; Rosie moved to Chicago to film in Oprah’s old studio. “‘People don’t go to Chicago on media tours anymore,’ says one publicist who turned down his clients from appearing on the show.” Yikes.

And now news today that OWN has laid off 20 percent of its staff, 30 people. Their duties will be assumed by remaining staffers and Discovery Communications employees. Deadline Hollywood has the whole run down.

HGTV Magazine is launching with a June/July issue, and three more for 2012. The rate base will be 450,000 readers.

The New York Times has lowered the number of free articles that non-paying readers will have access to, from 20 to 10. The new rule goes into effect in April.

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Oprah Tries to Boost OWN Ratings, Broke Nielsen Rules in the Process

While most of the tweets that turned up on our feed last night were about the #Grammys, I remember one in particular from my (imaginary) friend @Oprah that was not: “Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Neilsen box.” Because we’re (imaginary) friends, I took a quick look and remember thinking, “Hey, now, that’s a pretty strange tweet.” Then I quickly returned to the Grammys. Bruno Mars!!

Some fans and the Nielsen company weren’t quite as dismissive as we were. Followers called the tweet “desperate” and “unethical.” After a discussion with Nielsen, Oprah has deleted the message and issued a statement apologizing for any offense caused. Nielsen will make a note of “possible biasing effect” next to the ratings for that episode of Oprah’s Next Chapter.

It’s no secret that OWN has struggled. But everyone, even the mighty Oprah Winfrey, must be careful about how they use promotional muscle to turn things around. These days, particularly with social media, it’s far too easy to overstep.

[image via George Burns, OWN via AP]

Missoni, Oprah Go to Target

Angela Missoni

Target scored BIG this week on a few fronts.

First, they had the mad rush for its special Missoni line of products (launched on Tuesday), which shut down the website and caused a run on stores around the country. The site is back up, but most of the items are out of stock. But fear not, because a lot of the stuff is on eBay at inflated prices.

So just when the Missoni/Target partnership was already paying dividends, celebrities took to Twitter to comment about the items they like and whether they think it’s OK to sell the low-cost items at the aforementioned inflated prices on eBay.

“So all of @target is totally sold out of Missoni and the only way to get it is from extorting eBay trolls??” tweeted The Office’s Mindy Kaling.

And then, for the company’s manager’s meeting in Minneapolis, Oprah, Beyoncé (who’s selling an album exclusively at the retailer), and Taylor Swift were among the guests.

These partnerships are really working out for them.

Big Corporations Among Major Donors to MLK Memorial

Photo: Amy Ta/NPR

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, which will have its official dedication this Sunday, August 28, had financial help from some major corporations. The Root has pulled together a list of some of the major donors, which includes GM ($10 million), Tommy Hilfiger ($6 million), and the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity ($3.5 million, Dr. King was a member). The memorial cost $120 million to make; $114 million of that was raised.

The article notes the lack of African-Americans on the list of big donors, including Maya Angelou and Oprah Winfrey, who attended the groundbreaking for the memorial, and Samuel L. Jackson and Angela Bassett, who will both be appearing in the Broadway show “The Mountaintop,” which is set the night before Dr. King’s assassination. Samuel L. Jackson will play Dr. King.

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Military ‘Joining Forces’ With Hollywood

Michelle Obama with military panelists on Monday. Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson

Hollywood’s relationship with the military has needed counseling for quite some time. But it took Michelle Obama‘s call for support with the White House’s Joining Forces initiative to get either side to make the first move.

On Monday morning, they showed up in droves.

On a panel moderated by J.J. Abrams — whose own depiction of the military in Super 8 was criticized in the New York Times Media Decoder blog this week – the First Lady urged nearly 500 writers, directors, and producers to help “promote a better understanding and appreciation of the sacrifices made by military personnel and their families” by integrating their experiences into TV, movie, and digital-media story lines.

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Who Is Katie Couric, Really?

Photo: Rick Rowell, ABC via Getty Images

Katie Couric’s new gig at ABC opens up new doors for her on daytime TV. According to yesterday’s announcement, Couric will jump right in to the ABC News fray, contributing stories starting this summer. Then she’ll be launching her syndicated show in fall 2012. This is getting a lot of attention because Oprah has left some big shoes to fill and some wonder whether Katie Couric can do it.

When Couric left the Today show to join the CBS Evening News, everyone wondered whether her morning show personality would work on the very serious evening news program. Now, everyone wonders whether her more serious evening news presence will work on daytime.

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Oprah Winfrey’s Many Lessons in Good Branding

The final installment of The Oprah Winfrey Show is airing across a sad country today. And at Oprah’s final good-bye (from her ABC daytime program, at least; she’ll be starting a new program called Oprah’s Next Chapter on OWN), she will not only shut down a wildly successful daytime enterprise, she’ll be taking one of the best branding platforms of the past 25 years off the air.

Over the years, there have been a number of companies that have credited a windfall of business on a mere mention by Oprah. Maribel Lieberman told Reuters that once her company MarieBelle was mentioned among “Oprah’s Favorite Things,” the phone began ringing, leading to $600,000 in sweets sales in the following month and opportunities to sell her products at nationwide retailers.

Oprah’s Book Club has added both sales and innovation to the book publishing industry. She’s launched the careers of a number of famous personalities including Dr. Oz and Dr. Phil. Her support of President Obama during the 2008 election was critical. And, of course, the show launched her own stratospheric rise that has led to her own OWN TV channel.

Branding strategist Jonathan Salem Baskin told Reuters that “Winfrey tapped into consumers’ need for trusted personal referrals long before social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter capitalized on it.”

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Oprah’s Not Owning “OWN” Thus Far

Many new shows on network TV are given a few weeks to get their sea legs. Other shows are treated differently because so much time and money has been invested that they are forced into the deep end of the pool regardless. Drown and the money drowns too.

But when it’s a network owned and operated by the media queen of the universe Oprah Winfrey, expectations are high. Time doesn’t exist in the same way other shows do.

After five weeks, OWN is, well, not doing to well. Even Oprah’s bread and butter target audience – women 25 to 54 – is neither bread nor butter. Kinda crazy considering if you Google the word “own,” three of the first four hits are about Oprah Winfrey’s network.

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