Oprah Winfrey Magazine, Website Struggle After End of Syndicated Talk Show

Oprah Winfrey - OWN Upfront - H - 2011

Meanwhile, BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield wonders "if Oprah had started a YouTube channel and reached a global audience whether she would have been far more successful" than with cable network OWN to-date.

NEW YORK - There has been much talk about the early ratings struggles of Oprah Winfrey's OWN cable network, a joint venture with Discovery Communications.

But her magazine and Web site have also seen some weakness following the end of her long-running syndicated talk show, according to Women's Wear Daily. Observers have said that the real test of Winfrey's strength will come when she increases her visibility on OWN.  ??

During the first half of the year, when Winfrey was still on the air, ad pages at O, The Oprah Magazine, rose 4.1 percent, according to the Publishers Information Bureau, WWD said. In September, ad pages fell nearly 19 percent from the year-ago period. In October, they dropped 13 percent. And ad pages declined about 8 percent for both the November and December issues, according to WWD.

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In terms of newsstand single-copy sales, July was lower, August was flat, and September saw a 256,000 drop from the same time last year, WWD reported.

Meanwhile, Oprah.com, jointly run by Winfrey's Harpo Productions and Discovery Communications, had 18 percent fewer unique visitors than a year ago in October, WWD said citing comScore data.

BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield in a report, entitled "Internet Video Tsunami," on Monday said: "While Oprah Winfrey chose to start a cable network and has been widely viewed as a failure-to-date by investors and the mass media, Glenn Beck’s launch of IP-only GBTV has been seen as a success - albeit subscription driven versus ad-driven." Added Greenfield: "We wonder if Oprah had started a YouTube channel and reached a global audience whether she would have been far more successful, though she would not have a traditional channel to call her OWN."

Email: Georg.Szalai@thr.com

Twitter: @georgszalai