LOWDOWN ON THE UPFRONT: Oprah's Pitch Of Her OWN

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New York – In a video clip, media-empire builder Oprah Winfrey Wednesday pitched her new cable network, ajoint venture with Discovery Communications, to Madison Avenue.

“If you’re an advertiser who cares about programming with a purpose, if you want your brand to be a part of something that aims to have an impact on how people can live their lives like they matter, our network OWN [The Oprah Winfrey Network] is going to be someplace you want to be,” Winfrey said in the brief video shown at Discovery’s upfront presentation.

Discovery held its star-studded upfront for all its networks April 23 in Manhattan, at the Frederick P. Rose Hall at the Time Warner Center.

Discovery Communications CEO David Zaslav basically kicked off the presentation by telling advertisers and agencies about OWN, which will debut next year. Discovery is converting its 70-million subscriber Discovery Health Channel into OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network, giving the talk-show queen and her Harpo Inc. full control of the network.

“All the years of doing The Oprah Winfrey Show have lead me to this very moment,” Winfrey said. “Our goal for OWN is to help the viewer do exactly what we’ve done in The Oprah Show: To help our viewer realize their deepest, truest self. All the programs on OWN are intended to inspire, to engage, to help our viewers live their lives as if it mattered, because it does. I want to shine a light on how people can be more of themselves.”   

Winfrey told media buyers that her own network is a lifelong dream.

“We can unleash the power of human potential,” Winfrey said. “And who better to be in business with than the makers of Planet Earth.”    

Zaslav described “the Oprah brand” as “maybe the strongest brand in media today.”

After the formal presentation, Zaslav said Discovery and Winfrey are still looking for a CEO to run OWN.


“Oprah and I are spending a lot of time together,” Zaslav said. “We’re looking for a CEO. There are a ton of really talented people that want to be part of it. And we’re excited about it.”

Plans for OWN were announced back in January.

“We don’t view it as a cable channel,” Zaslav said Wednesday. “It’s really a media company…It’s Oprah.com, it’s the cable channel and we’re looking to creating content relating to helping people live their best lives on all platforms.”

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