|Originally published in the Jan. 2011 Socionomist|
Television celebrity Oprah Winfrey, whose massive wave of popularity that began in the great Cycle V bull market made her the queen of daytime television, is back. Her Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) drew 18.5 million viewers in its premiere week, which ended January 7. It ranked 25th in primetime among cable networks during the January 1-9 ratings period and averaged 505,000 viewers, an increase of 49 percent compared to the Discovery Health Channel, which OWN replaced.
Winfrey, a bull market icon, began her rise to popularity in September 1986. But ratings for her Oprah Winfrey Show began falling in 2006, the year that real estate prices peaked and a year before the Dow’s all-time high. Nielsen Media Research reported in 2008 that her average viewership was 7.3 million, down from 7.8 million in 2007. By September 2009, NBC Chicago was reporting that viewership for her show had slipped under 7 million.
The initial success of OWN, a joint venture between Winfrey and Discovery Communications, is not surprising in the current market environment. “Sentiment extremes are actually higher than they were when the DJIA touched its all-time high,” The Elliott Wave Financial Forecast reported earlier this month.
With conditions right for a downturn, according to the analysts at Elliott Wave International, what remains to be seen is whether OWN and Winfrey can hang on to their popularity. By the third week of January, OWN’s ratings had fallen near those of Discovery Health. If the bear market continues, OWN probably won’t.
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