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Oprah Magazine Takes a Big Hit

Sales dive after talk show goes off air
  • February 7, 2012, 1:42 PM EST

Oprah Winfrey | Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

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Since Oprah’s namesake show went off the air last September, her magazine’s newsstand sales have also faded from sight.

Brass at Hearst, which publishes the 2.4 million circ O with Winfrey, had downplayed the impact of the show's ending on the magazine, saying they expected fans to turn to it to get their Oprah fix.

Yet, O, The Oprah Magazine’s newsstand sales plunged 32 percent to 413,363 in the second half of last year (after an 8 percent falloff in the first half), according to just-released Audit Bureau of Circulations figures. By comparison, all measured consumer magazines’ single-copy sales dropped 10 percent.

O was able to limit total second-half circulation to a decline of just 5 percent, thanks to a 4 percent increase in subscriptions—although they bring in less money per sub than they used to (an O rep said the price has gone up 5 percent in the past year).

The rep said that with the economy soft and the show ending, a drop-off in newsstand sales wasn't a surprise and pointed out that newsstand sales of the January issue were up 28 percent to 825,000.

Meanwhile, the daytime talk queen is struggling to win viewers to her new Oprah Winfrey Network, a partnership with Discovery Communications, where her audience is a fraction of what it used to be. Amid low viewing figures, Rosie O’Donnell’s show on OWN has laid off 30, moved to a smaller studio and scaled back the program.