Oprah Launches Oprah Mobile

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With the launch of Oprah Mobile, the daytime TV queen appears to be laying the groundwork for a bigger push into digital media in advance of the debut of the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) on cable TV next year.

The App, optimized for the iPhone, Android, BlackBerry and Palm Pre phones, offers a window into Oprah’s media empire — including clips and previews from “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” weekly polls, articles and photos from O, The Oprah Magazine and Oprah.com, and her Twitter updates.

Released by Winfrey’s Harpo Studios, the Oprah Mobile app sells for $1.99 in the App Store. A spokesperson for the studio said Monday the app may extend to OWN, though it’s not yet decided. But that seems like a pretty good bet, given the increased emphasis her forthcoming cable channel will place on digital distribution. Robert Tercek, president of digital media for OWN, said the project will build new media into programming from the ground up.
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He also noted that OWN would carry over the core of a digital audience from past efforts like periodic live Web broadcasts of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Oprah Mobile would seem to fit that strategy to help cultivate a wider digital audience via smartphone users, which are estimated to make up as much as a quarter of all U.S. mobile subscribers.

Down the road, it’s not hard to envision a comparable Oprah app for the iPad to showcase her various properties and extend live programming and interactive features, including m-commerce, to mobile devices. Tercek last month waxed enthusiastic about the Apple tablet, pointing out the advantage it has over any competing gadget because it comes with the ability to run existing iPhone apps (which would now include Oprah Mobile).

Tercek will have to make sure Oprah doesn’t get too out in front of her audience — which he acknowledged isn’t exactly the early-adopter crowd — in embracing new mobile and digital tools. No need to worry about impressing Apple fanboys.

Offering Oprah Mobile for free instead of charging might’ve been a good way to start, for instance, but the new cable network’s creators will have to test different approaches and learn as they roll out Oprah 2.0.

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KFC and The Power of Oprah!

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Oprah Winfrey is regarded as the most influential woman on U.S. television, driving popular opinion in areas such as books, pop culture and even politics through her support for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. KFC’s latest promotion is proof positive!

Some claim it was her support that catapulted Obama into the Whitehouse.
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The Oprah Winfrey-fueled free chicken give-away that caused pandemonium this week at Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants has been canceled due to what the fast-food chain called an “overwhelming response.”

I went of course and got a “rain check.”

Roger Eaton, president of KFC in the United States said restaurants would no longer accept the free coupons for its new grilled chicken meal after Oprah’s chat show promotion caused long lines around the nation.

“The lines of customers wanting to redeem their coupons have been out the door and around the block, so we’re unable to redeem customer coupons at this time.” Eaton said in a statement issued late Thursday.

KFC said millions of Americans had downloaded free coupons after the offer was featured on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and Web site on Tuesday, driving traffic to levels unseen in the brand’s 50-year history.

Eaton apologized to customers for the cancellation of the scheme and said those who already had a coupon could get a rain check form to enable them to use it at a later date.