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Oprah Winfrey's 'O' Magazine Faces Ad Slump

Oprah's Last Hurrah
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

While monthlies are down 7% overall, the Hearst publication grapples with a 31.4% drop.

With her daily talk show off the air and an overall decline in the women’s lifestyle category, Oprah Winfrey’s current projects are not faring so well.

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Her young network, OWN, faces lackluster ratings, while O Magazine, continues to struggle with ad sales.
 
According to the Media Industry Newsletter, the magazine world as a whole has been confronted with a 7 percent ad drop for all monthlies. O – Hearst’s second-most profitable title behind Cosmopolitan – is down 31.4 percent, dropping 81.4 ad pages in August.

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The New York Post reports that September’s crucial numbers saw a rebound in Vogue, In Style, Glamour and a number of other publications, but O failed to earn gains. The September issue will see 126 ad pages, an 18.2 percent fall.
 
O’s ad page performance is pretty consistent with what’s going on in the women’s lifestyle category,” explained a spokesperson for the mag. “There is softness, especially in the food category, which is systemic to their business, not ours.”

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“The magazine is really the purest platform for Oprah’s message, and the best place for fans who miss the show to stay engaged with the brand,” the spokesperson added.
 
Though the statement may be true, a former Hearst insider questioned the level of demand for Winfrey’s message.
 
“I think that the Oprah brand has gotten slightly weaker,” the source said. “Ratings are down significantly for the new network, and there is a sense some of the magic is gone.”

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In an attempt to boost the brand, Winfrey herself has been enlisted for more promotional efforts, including an “O You” event at the Georgia Convention Center. The Atlanta function reportedly has potential to gross $725,000 if the 5,000 expected attendees each pay their $125.
 
Also struggling are Martha Stewart Living and EveryDay with Rachael Ray, with August numbers falling 14 and 25 percent respectively.