Oprah Winfrey Network Analysis



Less than two years on the air, the Oprah Winfrey Network continues to evolve with a mixture of original series, syndicated acquisitions, and plenty of programs starring the woman in charge, Oprah herself. Primetime scheduling is consistent, which allows the audience to rely on what they’re tuning in to each day of the week.

Tuesdays and Sundays are Oprah nights, airing an assortment of programs starring the boss lady, including TOP 25 BEST OPRAH SHOW MOMENTS where viewers can re-live some of the greatest moments from the very popular OPRAH SHOW. Thursdays and Fridays run syndicated episodes of mystery-driven shows such as DATELINE and 48 HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE.

Following a common method for many young networks, the reliable syndicated shows, along with the many Oprah-starring programs, are used as lead-ins to original series during the whole week. Themes such as self-help, food, and inspiration can be found in Oprah’s original shows guaranteeing the viewer a positive and rewarding experience while watching OWN.


Live Primetime Ratings Comparison / September 2012 vs. September 2011  (% Change)




Monday 8-11pm




Tuesday 8-11pm




Wednesday 8-11pm




Thursday 8-11pm




Friday 8-11pm




Saturday 8-11pm




Sunday 8-11pm




MTWTFSS 8-11pm




Source: The Nielsen Company's National Television Audience Sample

The annual demo growth for OWN this month can be put in the whopping category with every single night showing positive growth over last year. In fact, both weekend nights were up in the triple digits over September 2011, resulting in the weekly average demo growth to be 100% or higher in both Female age demos. Monthly changes were less consistent, but the best night was still on the weekend, with Saturdays showing triple digit percent increases over August.

New show IYANLA, FIX MY LIFE was the top telecast for the month. In August, the syndicated 48 HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE was very popular, taking 7 of the Top 20 individual telecast slots. This month, however, 14 of the Top 20 went to original OWN programming.

On Mondays this month, repeat episodes of the CBS show UNDERCOVER BOSS was used as a lead in to OWN’s original show LOVETOWN, USA. The “first-of-its-kind social experiment” where Oprah remakes a small town in Georgia helped keep Mondays on an upswing from both last month and last year across the board.

The schedule change on Tuesday night from blocks of OUR AMERICA WITH LISA LING to blocks of TOP 25 BEST OPRAH SHOW MOMENTS did not work too well for the network. The first two weeks of the month showed very low numbers, which most likely prompted the shift to blocks of IYANLA, FIX MY LIFE in the second two weeks of the month. Numbers still reflected a negative change over last month, down 25% in both Female age demos. The night was still in the win column over last year, up more than 70% in both demos.

Wednesday kept a consistent schedule keeping with the crime-investigating theme by adding DATELINE ON OWN to its blocks of 48 HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE. This kept the numbers moving in a positive fashion for F18-49 at a 22% increase from August. F25-54 stayed flat for the month, but both demos were significantly up from last year.

The one night of the week that showed the least amount of annual change was Thursday night. HHLD numbers were up a solid 47%, but F18-49 remained flat, and F25-54 was up only 30% (still a good percentage, but comparatively low for the network). Thursday was the only night of the week that showed a negative monthly change in both demos. The schedule remained exactly the same as August, with blocks of 48 HOURS: HARD EVIDENCE every night.

Fridays, like Thursdays, also kept the same schedule as August, airing blocks of POLICE WOMEN… The difference with this night was that all demos were significantly up from both last month and last year. The monthly change showed a 60% increase in F18-49 and 58% increase in F25-54.

While the Saturday night schedule remained similar from last month with blocks of SWEETIE PIES, the addition of IYANLA, FIX MY LIFE no doubt helped bump up the ratings for this night. The monthly increase was well into the triple digits across the board, and the yearly change told a very similar story.

Sunday nights were the obvious annual winner, but not so much when looking at the monthly difference. The schedule stayed consistent by airing a mixed bag of original Oprah-starring shows and original programming from last month, and the ratings seemed to reflect this consistency. F18-49 was down 8% from August, and F25-54 stayed flat.