Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is an American basic cable channel jointly owned by Discovery Inc. and Harpo Studios that launched on January 1, 2011.
The network is led by Oprah Winfrey and largely features entertainment and lifestyle programming targeting African American audiences. Initially they made a 50/50 joint venture, where Discovery acquired a larger stake and Harpo remains a “significant” minority stakeholder. This contract will last at least till 2025.
According to a recent survey, 77 million homes with television in the United States use OWN.
History Of Oprah Winfrey Network:
David Zaslav became the new CEO of Discovery Communication in 2007. At that time, Discovery Communication wasn’t doing very well so David thought of re-launching this channel as something newer and bigger and with this thought his quest for a partner began.
Zaslav’s wife liked Oprah’s magazine a lot, she introduced her to her husband. As a result, Zaslav held a meeting with Oprah to discuss the deal. On 15th January 2008, Discovery Communications announced their official partnership with Harpo production. The Discovery Health relaunched as “Oprah Winfrey Network” in 2009. Oprah became the chairwoman of the channel.
In an interview, Oprah proudly said, “Fifteen years ago, I wrote in my journal that one day I would create a television network, as I always felt my show was just the beginning of what the future could hold. For me, the launch of OWN is the evolution of the work I’ve been doing on television all these years and a natural extension of my show.”
OWN is a network that claims to provide a self-discovering pathway for people where they find their own hidden potentials. The program described her own philosophy of, “living your best life”; including every kind of topic like finding beauty in own self, health, love, parenting, and spirituality.
OWN didn’t gain much viewership tt the time of its launch. During the first shows, audience engagement and rating was even lower than the previous discovery health show. In 2006, the network rescheduled the shows broadcasted upon the channel, they also changed some of the team members. New ideas and new shows attracted the audience; show, “Welcome to Sweetie pie’s” achieved the highest ranking among all the series.
Soon they started including shows that were much relatable to the audience, a Sunday show, Super Soul Sunday, ran around the topic that what it feels to be alive in today’s world. Similarly, OWN premiered Iyanla: Fix My Life—a reality series starring Iyanla Vanzant. It attracted critical acclaim and a large audience; 1.1 and 1.6 million total viewers respectively saw its two-night premiere event.
Currently OWN airs many programs. The nature of all these shows is related to the everyday life of people. “Fear not with Iyanla Vanzant”, is a show that guides people to live beyond their fears. For entertainment purposes, they also air certain primetime series. Lastly, Oprah and her team members conduct various interviews with celebrities and other known personalities to discuss current issues and to take a more in-depth view of their lives.