Discovery Drops $15 Million on OWN Ad Push

Hopes to rescue the struggling network

It’s no secret that Oprah Winfrey’s OWN network has been struggling since its launch this past January, with ratings currently behind those of its predecessor, Discovery Health. Now, OWN executives are hitting the “reset” button on the network, sources told the New York Post—and they’re willing to drop a lot of cash to do it.

Discovery Communications is reportedly investing millions of dollars in an effort to promote OWN’s new programming and reel in more viewers. In the lead-up to their Oct. 10 premieres, Discovery is running ads for two new OWN series—Rosie O’Donnell’s new talk show, The Rosie Show, and self-help series Oprah’s Lifeclass—on all of its 14 cable networks, on rival channels, in weekly magazines, and even on billboards.

Discovery will also make sure that viewers can’t miss the series' debut episodes by running them on other Discovery-owned networks, including TLC, Planet Green, Investigation Discovery, and Discovery Fit + Health.

As far as the price tag, according to sources, Discovery is expected to spend $15 million on the ad push—a 50 percent increase over the $10 million that Discovery dropped on OWN’s January launch. And that’s on top of the $200 million that Discovery already spent to fund the channel.

OWN, meanwhile, is stressing the fact that this promotion blitz is part of a new (and hopefully more successful) beginning for the network. “For Oprah and the network, we do start on Monday,” O’Donnell told reporters yesterday. “We begin the actual real launch [of OWN]. . . . It was sort of a soft launch in January, and now we begin again.”