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.