Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Oprah launches "OWN" network with none of her own start-up capital ... really?

I don't know why we watch Entertainment Tonight anyway - the show format just makes me crazy - running previews within the body of the show to the point that by the time the actual 47 second "story" airs you've seen it all, five times minimum, along with the "stories" being followed for tomorrow night's show, also five times each.

Tonight's show featured a story about Oprah's soon-to-be-launched cable TV network, "OWN" (Oprah Winfrey Network) and the ridiculous assertion by some guy whose name I missed that she's launching it "without any start-up capital of her own". Her media partner Discovery apparently put up $189M for their part in the 50-50 joint venture, in addition to proferring their underwhelming Discovery Health channel for OWN's spot on the dial.

Sounds huge right? What's Oprah bringing to the party? No greenback capital perhaps. Her contributions are her brand name, her 25-year Oprah Winfrey Show library and her website Sounds like at least $189M worth to me! Think of the impact her endorsement has had on media properties, authors, movies, health, whatever. Like her or not, she's had a massive impact on popular culture for at least two decades.

And there's value in that brand called Oprah. That's what a brand is all about - a valuable, tangible business asset. In her case, she built hers to the point that it can launch a new TV network. Repeat after me: there's value in a brand...

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