Oprah Winfrey’s “O” Magazine Struggles With Ad Slump

Publication joins OWN network in fight for footing.

Posted: 07/26/2011 12:00 AM EDT
Filed Under Oprah Winfrey

The decline in Oprah Winfrey’s media empire continues, with reports emerging of a major dip in ad sales for her O Magazine.

 

According to The Hollywood Reporter, O—one of the nation's most profitable publications—has lost 31.4 percent of its ad sales, dropping 81.4 ad pages in August. In comparison, Martha Stewart Living was down 14 percent and Every Day With Rachael Ray was down 25 percent for the same month.

 

O’s ad page performance is pretty consistent with what’s going on in the women’s lifestyle category,” explained a spokesperson for the magazine. “There is softness, especially in the food category, which is systemic to their business, not ours.”

 

The spokesperson added: “The magazine is really the purest platform for Oprah’s message, and the best place for fans who miss the show to stay engaged with the brand.”
 

While this may be the case, loyalty to the Oprah message—across media platforms—seems to be waning, both at her magazine and at her OWN network.

 

“I think that the Oprah brand has gotten slightly weaker,” said a former Hearst insider. “Ratings are down significantly for the new network, and there is a sense some of the magic is gone.”

 

In an attempt to give her brand a boost, Winfrey herself has been enlisted for more promotional efforts, including an “O You” event at the Georgia Convention Center. The Atlanta function reportedly has potential to gross $725,000 if the 5,000 expected attendees each pay their $125.

(Photo:  O, The Oprah Magazine, July 2011)

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