*The viewing figures have just been released and so far Oprah Winfrey’s new channel is failing to attract the number and type of audience investors had hoped to pull in.
According to the Nielsen Company, OWN – a two-month-old joint project of Winfrey and Discovery Communications – drew a maximum of 135,000 viewers on any given day in February – a smaller audience than the little-viewed channel it replaced Discovery Health.
In addition, less than 45,000 of those viewers were women in the 25 to 54 age range – the channel’s target demographic.
In January, several critics accused OWN of not having sufficient diversity as it was dominated by a host of white faces. However, even the show hosted by Winfrey’s close friend Gayle King is doing poorly. According to Nielsen, “The Gayle King Show” (10 a.m. weekdays) did not draw a large enough audience to even generate a total viewer rating.
However, in a series of interviews this past weekend, the channel’s top management essentially said “just wait until fall.” The highly successful “Oprah Winfrey Show” ends its network television run this September and will be switching over to OWN. Plus, the New York Times is reporting, Discovery is getting ready to pour another $50 million into the channel on top of the nearly $190 million it has already invested.