TV

Oprah Effect: OWN Is Most-Watched Among African-American Women

The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday that the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) is experiencing remarkable growth since its launch five years ago.

OWN, which made its debut on Jan. 1, 2011, has had its average prime-time viewership grow roughly 30% in the past two years; in addition to becoming the most-watched network for African-American women.

A partnership with Oprah Winfrey and the Discovery Networks, the cable channel offers a wide range of programming including interview shows (“Oprah: Where Are They Now?”/”Oprah’s Master Class”); reality shows (“Flex & Shanice“/”For Peete’s Sake”); news specials (“20/20 on OWN”/”Dateline on OWN”); inspirational programming (“Super Soul Sunday”/”Belief”); talk shows (“It’s No You, It’s Men”/”The Nate Berkus Show”) and scripted series (upcoming “Greenleaf”/”Queen Sugar”).

OWN logoOWN launched to huge numbers in 2011 but quickly dropped to ratings on par with an upstart cable network shortly thereafter.

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Winfrey was hit with an onslaught of press calling her network a failure, when in actuality the channel’s viewership was in line with projections Discovery executives made before she launched.

The billionaire has since revealed that executives told her that it would take three years to successfully launch her network, but because of her 25 years of success in the talk show space she didn’t believe it would take that long.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

Regardless, the network started seeing viewership rise in late 2012 into 2013 with shows like “Welcome To Sweetie Pies,” “Raising Whitley” and “Iyanla: Fix My Life.”

In 2013, Tyler Perry launched two new series on OWN, the soap opera “The Have and The Have Nots” and a sitcom “Love Thy Neighbor.” Both series generated strong numbers for the channel, with “The Have and The Have Nots” breaking viewership records. Perry later relocated his former TBS dramedy, “For Better or For Worse,” to OWN; as well as launching a second soap opera, “If Loving You Is Wrong.”

That year, it was announced that OWN had finally turned a profit and was in the black.

Now, OWN is a true success story and largely because of the huge African American female audience that watches its programming.

Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey

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