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Oprah Signs With XM Radio

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It was announced today that Oprah Winfrey has signed a deal with XM Satellite Radio to launch a new channel in September called Oprah & Friends. The three-year, $55 million contract will provide XM listeners with programming on health and fitness, and the type of self-improvement topics that Winfrey has become well-known for by her legions of fans. Content will be provided by many of the same health and fitness experts and lifestyle gurus who appear regularly in the pages of O, The Oprah Magazine and frequently visit Winfrey’s television show.

As the battle for market share continues unabated between XM and its competitor, Sirius Satellite Radio, the acquisition of talent is the most visible way in which stations attempt to lure listeners. Winfrey joins radio personality Howard Stern (who has signed on with Sirius) and music icon Bob Dylan as some of the more noteworthy talents to jump on the satellite radio bandwagon. As Craig Lyndall reported here on Blogcritics just a few days ago, XM seems to be leading the technology race at the moment, with the introduction of two new radios, due to hit the market this spring, that are improvements over what is currently available from either company.

Winfrey, of course, is the head of a well-branded media empire that has, up until now, included television, film (as an actress and a producer), print media (she publishes two magazines and has co-authored several books), and the Internet. XM Satellite Radio, with over 6 million subscribers, has a bigger share of the market than Sirius, with only 3 million subscribers.

With subscriptions to both services costing roughly the same, and each service providing listeners with well over 100 channels of programming, content will clearly be a major factor in choosing which service to subscribe to, and big-name talent in all areas will be a draw. It will be interesting to see if Winfrey’s Midas touch enables XM to pull out even more of a lead.

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About Lisa McKay

  • NOOOOOOOOO! The Cult of Oprah must be stopped.

  • Check your facts, Howard Stern is on Sirius Satellite Radio, NOT XM.

  • My bad – that will be corrected, and thanks for pointing it out!

  • I knew that and I glanced right over it. Heh. The satellite radio conversation was a brief one in our house. OVERRULED! Heh.

  • Scott Butki

    What’s next? Her own Web browser?

  • Love her or hate her, Oprah is a force of nature. She has overcome literally incredible odds to become the most powerful woman in American media and business.

    I don’t care for her “spirituality” stuff or the pandering to celebrities, but I can’t deny that she’s a talented communicator and a smart-as-hell businesswoman who has made the most of every single opportunity she’s come across. Plus, she’s made opportunities for herself where none even existed.

    Give credit where it’s due: hers is an amazing story.

  • There’s absolutely no denying Oprah’s success, that’s for sure. She’s an incredibly savvy businesswoman and a force to be reckoned with.

  • Oprah has a hold on the stay at home mom’s of America, there is no doubt about it. There are a few problems with her starting a satellite radio channel:

    1) Why pay for the milk when you get the cow for free? Oprah is on TV every single day for free, why should I pay to hear her channel?

    2) Will she even be on her channel? Martha Stewart has a channel on Sirius, but she isn’t on it much.

    3) Isn’t radio geared toward the commuter in his/her car driving to and from work? I don’t know many Oprah fans who have a commute other than dropping the kids off at school.

    Howard Stern was successful because you can’t get him anywhere but Sirius and on top of that you get him uncensored. Being uncensored doesn’t help Oprah in the least.

    I have both XM and Sirius, and my opinion is that Sirius is better when it comes to content.

  • KYS

    You’re right. If Oprah had anything new to offer to satellite, she’d make what Howard is making: 500 Million over five years!