Oprah’s OWN Not Owning It Yet

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Despite Discovery Communication’s recent infusion of an additional $12 million into its joint venture with Oprah Winfrey, OWN, the high-profile cable network that launched on January 1st is still losing money.

Recent ratings from Nielsen Media’s OWN coverage ratings report viewership growth, with Oprah’s Lifeclass debut in October, anchoring primetime at 8 p.m., up across key demos. Oprah’s Lifeclass live webcasts, including interaction with viewers, posted 3.5 million plus video views to date on Oprah.com and OWN’s and Oprah’s Facebook pages.[more]

Lead-in Rosie O’Donnell’s The Rosie Show (which runs Monday – Friday at 7 PM) also posted growth for the month, while Our America with Lisa Ling continues week-to-week growth and Welcome to Sweetie Pie’s is showing double digit growth. But is it enough to win advertisers and more viewers? Discovery CEO, David Zaslav, reportedly remains upbeat as advertisers renew their deals and OWN sets it s sights on added distribution.

Discovery put major marketing muscle behind promotion of Oprah’s and O’Donnell’s shows, with major cross-promotion across Discovery’s 14 networks, but current ratings continue to lag behind those of Discovery Health, the Discovery cable channel that OWN replaced.

With premiere numbers at 333,000 for Oprah’s Lifeclass and 497,000 for O’Donnell’s new show, Oprah’s Lifeclass is up against major competition on broadcast TV in the US: ABC’s Dancing with the Stars, How I Met Your Mother on CBS, Fox’s new sci-fi series Terra Nova and NBC’s The Sing Off.

It’s a quantum leap for the queen of daytime television to launch a 24/7 network around her personal brand. That said, if anyone can do it, Oprah’s got the moxie and the life experience — as does her new partner in prime (time), Rosie.

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