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Apparently there are some who didn’t get the Nielsen memo from 15 years ago concluding that people aren’t likely to follow their heroes anywhere — even a goddess of Hope, Change & pajama parties like Oprah:
Oprah Winfrey is finding out just how hard it is to build an out-of-the-way channel into a television destination.
OWN, her two-month-old channel, is attracting fewer viewers than the obscure channel it replaced, Discovery Health. At any given time this month, there have been about 135,000 people watching OWN, according to the Nielsen Company, and only about 45,000 of those people are women ages 25 to 54, the demographic that the channel is focusing on.
Those ratings levels, down about 10 percent from Discovery Healthâ€™s levels last year, are being carefully watched by people who would like to rebuild cable channels around other celebrities, and by investors who worry that OWN is a drag on Discoveryâ€™s stock.
Even still, 135,000 watching at any given time is a dream day for Keith Olbermann’s new home, Current, which averages 18,000 viewers in prime time. The “reasoning” is that Olbermann can multiply that by ten. There’s a better chance Barney Frank will get caught in bed with a woman than Olbermann will get 200,000 viewers on a consistent nightly basis on Current.
First of all, like Oprah, for many Olbermann viewers, just getting the channel could require an upgrade to their cable packages. This was a chief complaint of many of Oprah’s freebots. People obviously aren’t paying the freight to keep watching Oprah, and Olbermann’s fans who don’t already get Current won’t either.
Let’s face it, to a good degree, these are groups of people seeking ways to get out of paying for stuff. Instead of paying it themselves, if anything, look for them to lobby Obama to declare that “free cable upgrades are a universal human right” or something like that.
The good news for Gore is that maybe he’ll be able to reclaim some of the money his company loses on this deal by selling Olbermann carbon credits.