As the news has surfaced that the Oprah Winfrey Network has reportedly lost as much as $330 million since it launched four years ago, commentators are gleefully writing the network’s obituaries, many obviously hoping that Oprah’s enormous experiment becomes her most embarrassing failure. But as many of her detractors have learned time and again, it would be wrong to bet against one of the most powerful women on the globe.
First of all, Oprah has said that it would take at least five years—late 2013—before her network found its footing. After all, launching a new network in the crammed cable line-up and having viewers actually be able to find it consistently is a daunting challenge, one that has bested many start-up channels over the years. Just ask the new NBC Sports Network, which has not exactly gotten off to a booming start. And that’s with the backing of one of the big three networks.
Oprah has admitted that the network has made serious tactical errors.
“If I were writing a book about it, I might call the book ‘101 Mistakes,'” she said.
Though one analyst has called OWN, the most “successful failure in television today,” their doubts are probably exactly the motivation the media magnate needs to turn things around.