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Posts Tagged ‘OWN’

Re-Branding: Oprah, HuffPo Join Forces

Two of the media world’s biggest one-woman brands have  joined forces in the interest of elevating both of their profiles—and their respective media outlets.

After some earlier announcements, the two chose today to launch “HuffPost OWN”, a co-branding project that amounts to a new section on the Huffington Post site focusing on lifestyle and personal/inspirational content drawn from Oprah’s channel, website and magazine.

Winfrey says she’s “delighted to join the conversation” and Huffington calls her new partner “made for the internet.”

The real message here? After her OWN Network suffered some disastrous ratings failures, Oprah realized that what her fans really want is her—in the flesh and ready to distribute her own well-formed brand of advice and “authenticity”. The network’s ratings began to steadily improve once Oprah realized her mistake and brought back the things her fans love: the book club, celebrity interviews, and controversial personalities like Rihanna and Kim Kardashian.

Will the venture work? As long as Oprah’s face is on the page every day, we see this as a branding win for both properties. Our only question: does the world really need more of the good doctors Oz and Phil? We hope the answer is no.

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Presentation Writing: Design and Delivery

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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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Struggling OWN To Target African-American Audiences

The Montgomerys, stars of 'Welcome to Sweetie Pies'

The lone hit on Oprah‘s OWN network has been Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s, a reality show starring an African-American family that runs a soul food restaurant in Alabama St. Louis, MO. If you have the OWN channel and do a lot of channel surfing, it would seem that Sweetie Pie’s is on almost continuously.

The show debuted in October and has gained an average audience of 418,000 versus the usual 216,000 for the network. The Hollywood Reporter says that network execs will be taking that into consideration for future programming and advertising pitches. (Discovery Communications launched OWN.)

An S&P analyst, Tuna Amobi, tells the magazine this would be a change from the Oprah brand, which has been built on diversity. “I don’t know that it would be a good thing for OWN to so narrowly define its target,” she says. OWN president Erik Logan says they will be “nurturing” the success of the program rather than doing a 180. Other OWN programs include The Rosie Show, hosted by Rosie O’Donnell, and Our America with Lisa Ling. Discovery has funded the network with about $254 million.

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OWN: A Test of the Oprah Brand, An Opportunity for Other Brands

Despite a launch that the AP calls “rather quiet” Oprah‘s new OWN cable network launched this weekend with an average of one million viewers on its first two nights, the New York Post reports. While that’s a much smaller audience than the one Oprah normally enjoys during her daytime talk show, it may be part of the plan.

“The strategy seemed that of a soft opening, aimed at whetting viewers’ appetites so they regularly come back and sample the network’s expanding menu of new shows as they roll out,” says an AP story.

Among all of Oprah Winfrey’s triumphs, those with a long memory will recall a few flops, such as her ABC program The Big Give. After the jump, an MSNBC segment analyzes the power of the Oprah brand and what she stands to lose if the network doesn’t live up to the high standard that has been set for it. The clip says she’s “one of the most influential tastemakers in the world” while also quoting analysts who say her “entire brand is on the line.”

Still, the safe bet is on OWN’s success.

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