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O LIVES IN PRINT: Hearst Magazines isn’t terribly worried about Oprah Winfrey’s exit from her talk show in 2011. Winfrey plans to end her broadcast TV program in September 2011, and in January 2011 will launch her own cable network, OWN, to develop and appear in original programming. With the talk show’s demise, O — and its advertisers and sponsors — lose a huge promotional outlet. For example, Winfrey in January broke her silence about her weight gain with an essay in the magazine and a before-and-after image of herself for the cover. She used the topic as a kickoff to Oprah’s “Best Life Week,” a weeklong series on her Web site, Sirius radio show and on the TV talk show geared toward life improvement. The January issue sold 1.1 million single copies, the largest in three years.
The magazine has 18 months to prepare for the demise of what is the ultimate cross-promotional platform, but it is already planning to tap OWN for that purpose. “We view the launch of her own 24-hour cable network as a thrilling next chapter for Oprah and a very positive thing for O,” said a magazine spokeswoman. “OWN presents lots of great opportunities for integration with the magazine and will enable consumers to get their ‘Oprah fix’ around the clock.” O maintains a 2.4 million circulation and sells about 700,000 copies on newsstands monthly, but ad pages for the magazine fell 26 percent this year, to 1,349. Before “The Oprah Winfrey Show” celebrates 25 years on air in its final season, O will celebrate its 10th anniversary this spring with events and promotions. As reported this fall, O is under transition under new editor in chief Susan Casey, and has hired several new editors and a new design team, including design director Patrick Mitchell and art director Gillian Berenson.
— Stephanie D. Smith