December 28, 2011

In my marketing book (www.powershiftmarketingbook.com) I mention that often when a company is highly successful they stop listening to their customers and start reading their own news releases. No one was more successful in daytime TV than Oprah Winfrey. Looking at her ratings over the years and honors, you would think that her own cable channel (OWN – Oprah Winfrey Network) would certainly be successful, especially replacing DISCOVERY HEALTH, a seldom watched cable channel owned by DISCOVERY. But you would be wrong.

According to data pulled from the “TV by the Numbers” website (a great site for quickly checking rating info), when you compare OWN’S 2011 3rd Quarter ratings (July-Sept), with the old Discovery Health in 2010 3rd Quarter numbers), it’s not pretty for the Queen of Daytime.  Daily average viewership: Down 20%. Women 18-34 viewership: Down 32%. Women 18-49 viewership: Down 24%. Women 25-54 viewership: Down 15%. Adults 18-49 viewership: Down 25%.

What went wrong? Not sure, but I bet everyone involved was so convinced this network would be a slam dunk, they didn’t ask their target audience (women) what they wanted all day and night on a network. Oprah was wonderful in delivering an escape for a couple of hours a day. But living with her and her friends 24/7 is another story. As I tell my clients all the time, past success doesn’t indicate future success. That’s why you need to be constantly talking to your customers.


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