One might think that the success of Oprah Winfrey’s commercial empire would make monetizing OWN (the Oprah Winfrey Network) a non-issue. Likewise, one might assume that Oprah Winfrey’s business acumen, astuteness, and commitment to raising consciousness would extend to OWN’s advertising paradigm. As it turns out, neither of these assumptions are true.
Despite her galactic success, Oprah Winfrey has yet to solve the problem of advertising and funding OWN, and attracting a new generation of conscious advertisers. OWN remains deeply rooted in the old advertising paradigm, which is empowered by the ratings system. Since television and radio were first made available to the public, advertising has been based on ratings. The ratings system has its own criteria for salability, value, and whether programming is considered viable. Many television and radio shows have been dropped by networks because they didn’t fit into the criteria of the ratings system. It’s not that they lacked public appreciation or value: it’s that the ratings system takes a narrow view of what is considered valuable, based as it is on product sales.
In this commentary, Kim Greenhouse outlines many of the difficulties involved in broadcasting, both online and on cable networks. She talks about what it will take to liberate broadcast media from a parasitic advertising culture that prioritizes profit over integrity, seeking product sales at any cost rather than promoting honest businesses and products. Kim also shares her real-world experience of interacting with NPR and OWN, and speaks frankly about her experience producing It's Rainmaking Time!® over the last four years, and her disappointment that so few listeners have donated in that time.
Join It's Rainmaking Time!® on the anniversary of the launch of the Oprah Winfrey Network as Kim shares timely insights on the liberation of broadcasting from an advertising paradigm based on greed and control.