Oprah’s Next Obstacle: Can O Magazine Survive Without The Talk Show?

The world of Oprah Winfrey has changed. The billionaire entertainment mogul was plagued by doom and gloom media reports that predicted the end of an era for Winfrey because of the struggling ratings that her television channel OWN faced early on. recently reported on Sept. 6 that the 58-year-old talk show host had “turned the corner,” as she put it, with the OWN Network and the channel will see a profit in 2013.

READ: Oprah Winfrey: OWN Network To Turn Profit In 2013

Now a new story in the New York Times explores whether the print edition of O magazine can survive without the daytime talk show.

The glossy has seen a decline in both newsstand sales and advertising revenue since the talk show ended a year and a half ago.

“Obviously, the show was helping in ways that you know I hadn’t accounted for,” Winfrey said. “I’m not interested, you know, in bleeding money.”

Winfrey expected some falloff in readership, as her staff did prepare her to expect a 25 percent decline in newsstand sales after the talk show ended.  According to the paper, it has declined 22 percent.

Susan Casey, the magazine’s editor in chief since 2010, said that some readers thought when the talk show ended; the magazine was folding as well. But that confusion seems to have passed, and the magazine is attracting attention to itself by collaborating with other parts of Winfrey’s empire.

Winfrey “acknowledged that she enjoyed ‘holding the magazine in my hand,’ [but] she was pragmatic about print’s future and said she would stop publishing a print magazine if it were not profitable,” reported the Times.

The median age for an O magazine reader is 49, whereas Vogue’s median age reader is in their thirties. Oprah now wants to attract readers in their twenties and thirties, because, as she told the Times, “By the time you’re 40, 42, you should have kind of figured it out already.”

The Emmy Award-winning Winfrey is confident she will draw more younger fans because people want “what we have to say in this magazine about fulfilling your destiny, who you’re meant to be, living your best life.”

That offering those types of life skills and inspirational messages is the thing Winfrey predicts people, regardless of age, will continue to pay for. “You’re never going to run out of people who are looking for a more joyful life,” she said.


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