By Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg 

More than 18 years after O, The Oprah Magazine hit the newsstands, the publication finally has its own digital home.

The title previously existed online as a section on Oprah.com, which serves as a hub for all things Oprah, including Oprah's Book Club and OWN, the cable network majority-owned by Discovery Inc. (Oprah.com is part of OWN.) The new website, OprahMag.com, is expected to go live at 10 a.m.

At a time when newsstand and print-advertising sales continue to be challenged, the launch represents a new major revenue opportunity. The Swedish furniture chain IKEA is the exclusive site sponsor for the first two weeks.

The magazine, which debuted with the May/June 2000 issue, is a joint venture between Hearst and Oprah Winfrey's company Harpo Inc. For the six-month period ended June 30, it had an average monthly circulation of nearly 2.4 million, making it one of the leading women's titles in the country.

The website gives Hearst an opportunity to package Oprah both digitally and in print with many of its other properties. "Our largest advertisers can now buy across the entire spectrum with us," said Jayne Jamison, the magazine's publisher and chief revenue officer.

"We felt we were missing an opportunity by not connecting daily," said Kate Lewis, chief content officer for Hearst Magazines. A spokeswoman for Harpo said that the timing "felt right" for the new website. "The magazine's creative team is in New York and it made sense for them to build out their digital property there." The website will be headed by Arianna Davis, digital director.

Oprah.com's audience fell to 1.9 million multiplatform unique visitors in August 2018, down from nearly 3.6 million in August 2016, according to media measurement firm comScore Inc.

"The context around the comScore numbers is that the focus is no longer on driving traffic to editorial content, but rather video and network content via our social and newsletter platforms to the mobile app and other platforms where OWN content is available," said a Harpo spokeswoman.

Hearst has three other titles that don't have websites: Food Network Magazine, HGTV Magazine and The Pioneer Woman, a quarterly. A spokeswoman for Discovery said that when the joint ventures were created, digital operations remained with the original brands to avoid consumer confusion.

The new site will focus primarily on service stories, including content from the print magazine; coverage of some live events, such as awards shows; a smattering of topical news and videos. It will also have access to Hearst's digital newsroom, as well as content created by Hearst's other brands, including Elle, Cosmopolitan and Woman's Day.

Write to Jeffrey A. Trachtenberg at jeffrey.trachtenberg@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

October 09, 2018 07:14 ET (11:14 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2018 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.
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