Oprah's OWN Downfall By The Numbers

oprah winfrey

Photo: Michelly Rall/Getty Images

“Oprah’s Next Chapter” may have seen record ratings two weeks ago; however, it’s not enough to save her OWN network from the brink of disaster.On the coattails of OWN announcing a 20 per cent staff layoff, research and investment firm SNL Kagan said The Oprah Winfrey Network could lose $142.9 million this year, leaving many to wonder whether Discovery may pull the plug on its big investment and raising concern advertisers may begin to pull if the ratings don’t rise. 

Despite double digit growth, showcasing more of the Big O, injecting big name Rosie O’Donnell into the mix and receiving hundreds of millions of dollars from Discovery the channel cannot hold its own.

We’ve pulled together the numbers foreshadowing OWN’s trouble from the start.

Huge expectations:

$239 million: The amount Discovery Communications invested in OWN. They initially committed $100 million, agreed August of 2010 to add an additional $89 million. February, the company invested $50 million more. WSJ reported the actual total as $314 million this week. 

$220 million: the amount of revenue OWN was expected to bring in by 2015, according to Benjamin Swinburne, a media analyst at Morgan Stanley.

685,000: Viewers lost in first week. OWN’s prime-time viewership dropped from 1 million to 315,000 in four days.

Poor Social Media Marketing:

181,907: number of people who follow the channel’s official Twitter handle: @OWNTV  

10 million and counting: number of people who follow @Oprah on Twitter.

Photo: Twitter / @OWNTV


Photo: Twitter / @oprah

1.3 million: People who have liked OWN’s Facebook page

Compare this to: 6.8 million following Oprah’s personal Facebook fan page on Facebook. 

40 million: number of viewers per month since September. 

42 million: number of viewers ABC’s “The Oprah Winfrey Show” used to get per week in just the U.S.

Big Losses:

$57 million: losses reported by OWN in 2010. Last year, the company reported a loss of $35 million.

$15 million: amount network paid Rosie O’Donnell for her broken two-year contract. It was originally a $40 million deal.

rosie o donnell

Low ratings:

497,000: premiere viewers for Rosie O’Donnell’s show. Viewership dropped to under 200,000 before the show got the axe.

333,000: number of viewers for “Oprah’s Lifeclass” launch.

116,000: average network viewers per day from July through October 2011.

3.5 million: viewers who tuned into Bobbi Kristina’s first interview on “Oprah’s Next Chapter.” These were the highest signs of life Oprah’s network saw since 1.6 million viewers tuned in for Pastor Joel Osteen.

Photo: OWN screengrab

800,000: viewers who tuned into “Oprah’s Next Chapter” the following weekend for the supposedly last Lady Gaga interview with press for a while. 

Not Enough O:

70: the minimal number of hours Oprah is to appear on her channel per year; a rise from 35 hours in the original contract.

30: number of people laid off in New York and Los Angeles this week. That’s 20% of her entire 150-person staff.

1 Backfired Tweet:

During the Grammys, Oprah asked her Twitter following to tune into her network when her show started. She later removed the tweet at Nielsen’s request. “I intended no harm and apologise for the reference,” she said in a statement.


Photo: twitter.com

Now, see Oprah’s emotional interview with Bobbi Kristina that brought her network its highest ratings>

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