Oprah Winfrey Builds OWN's Canada Audience

Oprah with recent interviewee Kim Kardashian.

The TV maven's move from network boss to on-screen host in "Next Chapter" and Master Class" is generating eyeballs for the fledging channel.

TORONTO – It turns out Oprah Winfrey is fixing her fledging OWN Network in Canada.

Interview series like Oprah’s Next Chapter and Oprah Presents Master Class that are hosted by the TV maven has produced a 20 percent year-over-year audience growth for the Canadian version of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Doug Murphy, executive vp of TV at Canadian broadcaster Corus Entertainment, told analysts on Thursday.

"That's being driven by, obviously, there's a lot more Oprah on the network these days with her Next Chapter, Lifeclass, Masterclass, and so the more Oprah, the more audience," Murphy said after Corus released its third quarter results.

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As in the U.S. market, the OWN Canada channel has been slow to grow after being licensed for the Canadian market by Corus Entertainment.

Murphy also said Canadian series commissioned for OWN Canada were also connecting with audiences, as programming expenditures from the licensing agreement with OWN are set to grow in the next two years.

"So it's a good blend of taking advantage of the new programming coming out of our partnership with OWN in the U.S., and layering in our Canadian spend to incrementally drive ratings," he added.

And Corus is taking advantage of the social media spill north of the border as Winfrey uses her legions of Facebook and Twitter followers to build the TV audience for her new shows.

OWN Canada launched in March 2011, replacing the former VIVA cable channel.

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