Media Buying and Inbound Marketing Blog

OWN Gets Big TV Ratings Boost From Lance

By Jane Peters on January 19, 2013 |


OWN, Oprah's network got a much needed ratings boost from her Thursday night interview with disgraced biker, Lance Armstrong. Oprah, media buyer OH

OWN debuted on January 1, 2011, in approximately 80 million homes, replacing the former Discovery Health Channel(DHC).

The programming includes a mix of original programs, strips, specials, documentaries and acquired movies. OWN broadcasts in both standard-definition resolution and high-definition resolution.

In June 2012, the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) charged Armstrong with having used illicit performance-enhancing drugs, and in August it announced a lifetime ban from competition, which applies in all sports which follow the World Anti Doping Agency code. Armstrong was also stripped of all titles won since August 1998.

According to Nielsen, the interview attracted 3.2 million viewers, a huge improvement from their average audience of 329,000 viewers. 

While not surprising, Fox's American Idol and ABC's Grey's Anatomy more than doubled Oprah's ratings in the first hour of the interview. Cable networks have always delivered much lower numbers than the traditional networks and OWN has had a slow start since its inception.

However, Oprah should be celebrating.  Not only did she get a ratings boost but was able to focus more attention to her struggling network.

A combination of digital and traditional platforms were used to attract viewers.  Free online streaming of the broadcast as it aired drew approximately 600,000 people.  The repeat of the interview right after the first broadcast caught the attention of another 1.1 million viewers. 

Once the the increasingly important Nielsen Live+7 DVR ratings are factored in, the audience numbers should be even more impressive. With nearly half of all US TV viewers (42%) owning DVRs, the platform is playing a larger role in determining the true viewership of a show.

Discovery Channel ran the program internationally and Facebook and Twitter reported 217,000 comments about the interview.  (Armstrong has become a popular Twitter user, with over 3.8 million followers as of January 2013. It seems not too may of his followers were actually following.)

The lesson for media buyers and advertisers is clear.  Using a combination of traditional and digital media is the path to success.

How are you combining the two?

If you would like to learn more about how to successfully combine traditional and digital media for your company, give us a call or contact us for a FREE Strategy Analysis.


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