New TV networks don’t launch every day. It’s a big deal when they do, especially when they can reach 80 million homes from the very beginning, as OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, will on 1/1/11. Created to provide “meaningful television,” Oprah says, “it’s a channel where people will see themselves, and their ideals and their values and their hopes, see their struggles, see who they are through the lives of others — in a real way, that enriches them.”
Oprah goes on to say, “…you can do anything you can imagine — you can create. Anything you can imagine, you can create. You can give a show to anybody, to any idea, to any concept.” So the question is, to whom (or what) is she giving shows to? And will it make a difference? So far, there seems to be a heavy reliance on go-to experts from The Oprah Winfrey Show: Dr. Phil, Dr. Oz, Suze Orman, organizer Peter Walsh, etc. as well as celebrity features and a smattering a real life stories — just as you’d see on the current Oprah Winfrey Show.
So the question is, will watching Oprah and her friends, always available 24/7 on one network, make a difference? Oprah aims to have the network be a space where viewers can be comforted, get guidance, be entertained and have fun. Definitely her fans will make this a TV destination (if they can find it on digital cable or satellite — check this channel finder for your area.) Will it reboot the media? Like peace, let’s give it a chance.
You can watch OWN beginning January 1st if you currently receive Discovery Health Network (which OWN is replacing — check the channel finder), or sample the shows and watch for episodes to be posted on www.oprah.com/own. UPDATE: Now on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/own.
“The larger social point is that media creates reality, and it matters what people are tuning in to. Do we live in a world of ‘people finding their truths and living their best lives’ or do we live in a deeply divided nation of Republicans and Democrats? Watching OWN 24/7 could certainly lead to a kinder, gentler, more compassionate social being than watching non-stop bickering partisan pundits on what passes for news 24/7.
While the subject matter on OWN is universal (as Sarah Ferguson says, “we are all the same, actually”), the theme is personal growth and development. While that can make a big difference in individual people’s lives, for the media to be truly rebooted (i.e. make a difference), we must take what we’ve learned and apply our a-ha! moments to the problems of the world. Hopefully OWN will get to that — and whether or not they do, there is plenty of room in the TV landscape for others to pick up that mantle and run with it.
Note: RebootTheMedia (www.RebootTheMedia.com) supports the growing movement to produce and deliver content that inspires, motivates, educates, and generally contributes to the human spirit, serving a substantial audience that is increasingly fed up with negative content and hungry for something more uplifting and relevant.”