Why Oprah's Armstrong interview did not deliver like the old days

lance.jpgNot that ratings were bad. By the usual standards of Winfrey's struggling OWN channel, they were stupendous. The 9 p.m. telecast generated 3.2 million viewers, many times the average prime time audience on OWN. (Another 1.1 million watched a rebroadcast at 10:30.) It was, however, less than the 3.5 million that watched the Winfrey interview with Whitney Houston's family last March - and way less than the 10 million-plus viewers she would sometimes bring in during her afternoon talk show days. Those days, of course, are long gone - the media world is heavily fractured, and a cable channel that many folks still have trouble finding is simply not going to draw as many eyeballs, no matter how compelling the confessional. And whose idea was it to wait three full days to air the Armstrong interview? By Thursday night anyone who cared knew the key points of what Armstrong was going to say. From Variety:

Earlier in the week OWN president Erik Logan said the network received significant interest from advertisers as the scatter market picked up closer to the telecast, but it was not yet a sellout. Although he said those coming on board were paying a premium to be part of the telecast, he wouldn't reveal the prices for a 30- or 60-second spot. Logan added that the network had "a lot riding" on the interview in terms of bringing new viewers to OWN. Many men, especially, will have tuned on OWN for the first time.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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