*(Via LA Times) It happened in its OWN time.
After three years of planning, delays and management misfires, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network finally arrives Jan. 1, the biggest launch of a cable channel in more than a decade.
Wall Street and the television industry are eager to see whether the celebrity who can unleash consumer trends can leverage the success of her 25-year run in daytime television into a 24-hour cable channel. The new channel is a mix of programming that encourages people to “live their best lives” with the empowerment message that is the Oprah Winfrey brand.
If viewers can only find the message. Winfrey’s network will mostly reside on channels above 200, taking over the position of Discovery Communications Inc.’s Discovery Health Channel. Even in the digital age, that’s a handicap – the higher the number, the less likely viewers will stumble across the programming as they switch among the more heavily watched channels lower on the lineup.
OWN will also be competing against several other entrenched cable networks aimed at the same female audience. Still, backers believe, Winfrey’s emphasis on positive and optimistic programming is unique among cable networks that appeal to women. Moreover, when it comes to brand awareness, it doesn’t get more prominent than Winfrey, whose daily talk show is watched by 7 million viewers.
“There is no network that has ever launched in 80 million homes and with the advantage of the best brand in media, which is Oprah, and a website, which is the No. 2 or No. 3 website for women,” said David Zaslav, chief executive of Discovery Communications, which owns 50% of OWN.
“It will be a historic launch, in terms of the reach and power,” he said.
For now, however, and with only 11 days to go before launch, Winfrey is still immersed in her longtime Chicago-based syndicated talk show. She will tape her last episode in May – five months after OWN premieres – for episodes that will run through Sept. 9, when the program takes its final bow.
Read MORE of this LA Times story HERE.