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From “O, The Oprah Magazine” to “OWN”, programming for a television network is born. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview with Jill Seelig, O, The Oprah Magazine’s Publisher and Chief Revenue Officer

December 28, 2010

“Change” can easily be the word that defined the publishing world in 2010, and “Adapting to Change” will be the sentence defining the publishing world in 2011. One major change taking place in 2011 is Oprah Winfrey, the “show queen” of television, closing the “window” on her daily show and opening the “door” to her own television network OWN. A network that O, The Oprah Magazine is used “as the basis for the network’s programming.”

How will this end of an era, and the beginning of a new one, effect O, The Oprah Magazine, one of the most successful magazine launches of the last decade? I had the opportunity to ask Jill Seelig, vice president, publisher and chief revenue officer of O, The Oprah Magazine few questions regarding the forthcoming changes and in the words of the main cover-line of the January issue of O, The Oprah Magazine, “What’s Your Next Chapter?”

Here are the sound-bites followed by The Mr. Magazine™ Interview with Jill Seelig, publisher of O, The Oprah Magazine.

The magazine has very little duplication with viewers of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
Oprah loves the iPad – it was even part of her Favorite Things episode this year.
The app is an enhanced version of our print product, offering video and audio — much of it featuring Oprah herself – animation, interactivity, customization and tap-to-buy functionality.
The print and digital editions of our magazine live side by side comfortably.
O offers one of the most unique reading experiences for women. We are the only women’s magazine that comes from a place of optimism, inspiration and authenticity.
Advertisers tap into the depth of this reader connection, and it enhances and elevates the credibility of their brands.

And, now for the full interview:

Samir Husni: As the Oprah daily show comes to an end and a new era of Oprah starts, how will that effect O, The Oprah Magazine? Will the out of sight out of mind premise work here? Some say that repetition a major source of addiction, what will happen to the magazine without Oprah being seen on television every day?

Jill Seelig: O, The Oprah Magazine and OWN will be the go-to places for women who want to connect with Oprah and her message. Interestingly, the magazine has very little duplication with viewers of The Oprah Winfrey Show – currently only 19% of the show’s audience are O magazine readers. We believe that OWN – a 24/7 television presence – will drive more readers to the magazine, with more synergy and shared content living across both platforms. After all, as Oprah has said, David Zaslav came to her holding a copy of the magazine and said he wanted to use it as the basis for the network’s programming. OWN is dedicated to Oprah’s Live Your Best Life mission, just like the magazine.

SH: With Oprah now having her OWN, what are the plans to expand O, The Oprah Magazine? You’ve launched the first App. in Dec., any other plans of expanding and promoting the brand?

JS: We’re very excited about our iPad app, which launched as a monthly with our December issue. It has been extremely well-received, and was a featured app in the iTunes store from the moment it launched, taking the #1 spot in the lifestyle category right out of the gate, and we also have a digital edition available on the Nook as well as through Zinio.

Oprah loves the iPad – it was even part of her Favorite Things episode this year. Each month the O, The Oprah Magazine app gets richer and more compelling, as our editors incorporate innovative functionality and exclusive content – all filtered through the prism of Oprah’s philosophy and uplifting message. The app is an enhanced version of our print product, offering video and audio — much of it featuring Oprah herself – animation, interactivity, customization and tap-to-buy functionality. And Oprah loves books, and they are an important part of the magazine so one of the most unique features on the app is that users may access, for free, the first chapter of every book featured in the issue. If users like what they read, they can tap-to-buy through Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

SH: Hearst Magazines have invested a lot in enhancing and promoting their print products. What are you doing specifically with O, The Oprah Magazine to enhance and promote the print magazine? Are you working on ensuring a print future in a digital age?

JS: The print and digital editions of our magazine live side by side comfortably. O, The Oprah Magazine is the #3 monthly magazine at newsstand, and demand is high – readers love the tactile experience of holding our beautiful, glossy magazine and they love to interact with our brand up-close and in-person. Every year, thousands of readers join us at our signature event, O You!, which is a day of inspiration and education, delivered directly to our attendees by the experts they connect with every month in our pages. Over the years, we’ve held the event in cities from coast to coast. Speakers have included Dr. Oz, Suze Orman, Nate Berkus, Martha Beck, Donna Brazile and others, and of course our editor at large, Gayle King, who welcomes everyone and broadcasts her radio show from the venue. It is amazing to see the readers relating to our content in a dynamic way – we get (mostly) women from around the country and around the world who are passionate about the magazine.

Social media is proving to be a great way to stay in close contact with our audience – and it is not only the tweets from our magazine, or from creative director Adam Glassman or Gayle King – women can interact with nearly all of our contributors through social media. And of course we use emails and Facebook postings to ask for our readers’ opinions, encourage dialogue as well as invite them to attend events and enter amazing sweepstakes.

One recent example of print and digital working side-by-side was our 12 Day Holiday Give-O-Way, which was featured in the December issue, and awarded 12 winners all 70 products from the Holiday O List, plus select items from Oprah’s Favorite Things episode. Codes were hidden within the magazine’s pages and were accessible via the iPad, both of which drove readers to Oprah.com to enter every day for 12 days for a chance to win. In addition, we tweeted reminders, posted messages on Facebook and the result was more than 2.1 million entries!

SH: With the hope that the economy is rebounding, are there any plans to bring back O At Home or launch any other spinoffs?

JS: We’re focused on O, The Oprah Magazine and our digital editions at the moment.

SH: One of my mantras for the New Year is to Romance the Customer and not the platform. How do you see your readers, users, etc. interacting with the product and what are doing for them? The same when it comes to the advertisers? How would you answer the simple question for both readers and advertisers, “What is in it for me?”

JS: O offers one of the most unique reading experiences for women. We are the only women’s magazine that comes from a place of optimism, inspiration and authenticity, and because of that, 16 million readers connect with O on a deep emotional level every month. This magazine is truly a guide for our readers – helping them recognize what is wonderful about their lives and offering sage wisdom from our contributors on everything from achieving goals and dreams and making the most of their relationships, to financial planning to the best fashion and beauty buys.

Advertisers tap into the depth of this reader connection, and it enhances and elevates the credibility of their brands. Our readers tell us that when they consistently see an ad in O it’s a signal to them that the advertiser supports and shares the mindset of the women who read the magazine….that’s a powerful endorsement that moves readers to action and drives sales.

SH: If I am to give you a magic wand and you strike O, The Oprah Magazine to create a human being, who will it be? Can you describe that human being?

JS: That’s easy…it’s Oprah Winfrey. A woman in process who is curious about the world, eager to learn and grow, works in service of others, and challenges herself to Live Her Best Life everyday.

SH: Thank you.

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One comment

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Samir Husni, Samir Husni. Samir Husni said: From "O, The Oprah Magazine" to "OWN", programming for a television network is born. The Mr. Magazine™ Interview wi… http://wp.me/p3FXF-1aa [...]



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