Tag: Discovery Communications

Oprah Winfrey, Apple Sign Multi-Year Content Partnership

by Joe Otterton via variety.com

Apple and Oprah Winfrey have a signed a multi-year content partnership. Under the deal, Winfrey and Apple will create programs that will be released as part of Apple’s original content lineup.

The deal marks one of the first such agreements struck between Apple and a content creator. This is also the latest addition to Winfrey’s media empire. The former hit talk show host formed her own cable network, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, in 2011 in partnership with Discovery Communications. The channel has become one of the fastest-growing cable networks among women and has produced hit shows like “Queen Sugar,” which boasts Oscar nominee Ava DuVernay as showrunner.

Winfrey recently extended her contract with Discovery through 2025. Sources tell Variety that Apple’s deal with Winfrey does not conflict with the Discovery agreement. Winfrey remains exclusive in an on-screen capacity to OWN with limited carve-outs, such as her role as a correspondent for CBS’ “60 Minutes” and her recent acting work for HBO.

Via her Harpo Productions banner, Winfrey has also developed several long-running hit syndicated shows including “Dr. Phil,” “The Dr. Oz Show” and “Rachael Ray.” Through her Harpo Films, she has produced several Academy Award-winning features including “Selma,” which was directed by DuVernay. Winfrey also had a featured role in that film, and recently starred in other films like “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “A Wrinkle in Time,” and HBO’s “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.”

Winfrey also runs O, The Oprah Magazine and published the New York Times best-selling cookbook “Food, Health and Happiness” last year. As a noted philanthropist, Winfrey has contributed more than $100 million to provide education to academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds. The Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa celebrated its 10-year anniversary in 2017.

Even before the Oprah deal, Apple has a robust slate of originals prepared to launch. In addition to the previously mentioned morning show drama, the streamer is prepping shows like a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s “Amazing Stories,” a psychological thriller series from executive producer M. Night Shyamalan, the true crime podcast drama series “Are You Sleeping?” starring Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul, and an Emily Dickinson series starring Hailee Steinfeld among many others.

To read more: https://variety.com/2018/tv/news/oprah-winfrey-apple-content-partnership-1202848061/

Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Solidifies Profits with Higher Ratings and Ad Revenues

(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)
(Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is in the black for the first time since its rocky start two-and-a-half years ago. More than 30 new advertisers are joining original heavyweight sponsors Procter & Gamble and General Electric, and are paying higher rates as the channel has found its programming and distribution footing.  Headlines about profitability and audience growth have replaced the drumbeat of speculation that her ambitious venture with Discovery Communications might end up a costly flop and an uncharacteristic failure for Winfrey.

Now, Winfrey says, “rewarding” is the word for her experience at OWN, both as the chairwoman and CEO shaping the channel and as a viewer lodestone who hosts several series including “Oprah’s Next Chapter” and “Oprah’s Lifeclass.”

“I no longer have such fear and anxiety about it. I really have more confidence in my decisions,” Winfrey said. “In the beginning, I was in a lot of meetings where people said, ‘You don’t understand cable.’ … I’d say, ‘But I do understand the audience. Aren’t people the same?’”

The answer is yes, says Winfrey, who’s enjoying a career renaissance with OWN’s turnaround and her return to big-screen acting in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” No. 1 at the box office for two weeks with more than $50 million in tickets sales.

Her confidence in OWN also is backed up by numbers.  For the year to date, viewership is up 22 percent among the target audience of adult women and 23 percent among all viewers compared to last year, according to Nielsen Co. In the third quarter, prime-time viewership among women 25 to 54 and total viewers each are up more than 60 percent compared to 2012.  For August, OWN drew a channel-high 536,000 prime-time viewers, a fraction of the millions that watched Winfrey’s talk show but respectable for a developing cable channel.

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Oprah Winfrey’s OWN Channel Finally Set To Make Profit

Oprah WinfreyLast Tuesday afternoon, Oprah Winfrey called the co-presidents of her cable channel OWN with some jump-on-the-couch-with-joy news. “Lance wants to talk,” she said, referring to Lance Armstrong, whom she had been courting for a confessional interview about his long-denied use of performance-enhancing drugs.

Ms. Winfrey conferred with the co-presidents, Erik Logan and Sheri Salata, about booking a trip to Mr. Armstrong’s hometown, Austin, Tex., reserving airtime for Thursday night and announcing the “get” to the press.

What no one said on the call was that this interview — maybe Ms. Winfrey’s biggest since her 1993 sit-down with Michael Jackson — could be a turning point for OWN, which has been low-rated since its birth two years ago.

Another turning point — perhaps even bigger — came this month when OWN started to pocket substantial per-subscriber fees from some of the biggest cable and satellite operators in the country.

Some of these deals were made before OWN even had its premiere. The operators agreed to pay just a penny or two per subscriber a month until January 2013, and then start paying nearly 20 cents a month on average, according to people with direct knowledge of the deals who asked for anonymity because the details were confidential. The fees increase over a span of several years.

Multiply those dimes and quarters across most of the 83 million homes in which OWN is available (but not all — at least one deal is still pending) and the value for Ms. Winfrey and Discovery Communications is plain. Discovery, OWN’s other owner, has said that the channel will turn a profit for the first time in the second half of 2013. Discovery has invested more than $400 million to date.

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