Oprah Winfrey Network is Toast – Verizon Could Have Saved Her

Posted on May 7th, by Michael Rosenblum in New Media. 1 Comment

photo of Oprah from The Daily Mail from Twitter, Tweeted by Oprah (so I hope there are no rights issues here)

The Daily Mail, the UK newspaper everyone loves to read, announced today that The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is pretty much over.

The network has so far lost a staggering $330 million, with no end in sight.

Part of the problem is that almost on one watches and part of the problem is that their convetional production costs are just astronomical.

Oprah used to get 12.5 million viewers a day.

Now, Rosie O’Donnell on OWN gets 200,000 on a good day.

You can’t charge much for ads for 200,000 viewers

And her production costs look as though they are about where they were when she was making an hour a day, but now she is making many hours a day – all losing money.

So she has three choices

1. She can contiue to throw spaghetti (or something with an s) at the wall to see if something sticks. This is the usual network response to bad ratings.
2. She can close down the network
3. She can radically alter the way she makes TV.

For the past five years, OWN has chosen #1.  They have turned over their entire staff four or five times.  They have fired more CEOs than Hewlett Packard.

Now, they will probably choose #2.

It’s too bad, because #3 is a much better solution.

Ironically, today Verizon actually gave the folks at OWN a very elegant way to go to option 3, but it is unlikely they’ll take it.

Verizon announced the release of a new app in partnership with COLOR.

COLOR lets Verizon users live stream broadcast quality HD video from their phones.

What does this mean?

This means that Oprah could have ‘broadcast’ her show from her livingroom (or anywhere else she was).

And so could Rosie.

And so could Dr. whoever it is at the moment that Oprah likes.

Get rid of the studios, the cameras, the lights, the control rooms, the buildings, the support staff…. and lots more.

And what do you have?

Oprah on TV.

Well, isnt’ that where all this started?

yeah, but at about .00001% of the cost.

Which… if my math is correct… suddenly makes OWN very profitable.

So Monty,  I will take door number 3… if the show hasn’t already been cancelled.

©2102 Michael Rosenblum

One thought on “Oprah Winfrey Network is Toast – Verizon Could Have Saved Her

  1. Thank you for the useful information.
    Mr. Rosenblaum, I tip my hat in awe of your
    tenacity. I am an independent filmmaker with a
    dream of having my own network. I have minimum
    content, but great ideals for content. I need a little
    direction before i pursue production of content.

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Every day Michael Rosenblum blogs about the latest developments in the world of video and the media as well as future trends in technology and equipment.

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