Anyone who has followed Oprah Winfrey’s career knows her track record of turning anything she touches into gold.
However, her latest venture with Weight Watchers has some people questioning whether or not the ‘Oprah effect’ is a thing of the past.
For the last few years, Weight Watchers has taken a huge hit financially. In 2014, about 800,000 people attended Weight Watchers meetings, which was a decrease from the 1.3 million in 2011. Then, in the first half of 2015, sales of the company were down 22% and profits down nearly 50%, according to CNN Money.
However, things changed for the company last October when Winfrey put her public stamp of approval on the weight loss program by announcing her 10% stake in the company, joining its board and becoming a member herself. Hours after her announcement, Weight Watchers stocks soared from $6.79 a piece to more than $13, peaking at $28 in November.
In January, the media mogul shared insights on her Weight Watcher’s journey with a video and a tweet where she announced her 26 pound weight loss with the program thus far. The billionaire made nearly $20 million from the tweet alone and caused a 20% surge in company stocks, but recent financial reports show that the ‘Oprah effect’ may not be as long lasting as some had hoped.
On Friday, reports of Weight Watchers shares showed a dip of 30% after the company announced a quarterly loss of $11 million, leading Winfrey’s stake to fall by $27 million. As her business deal with the weight loss company shapes up to be a rocky investment, many are wondering if it’s a reflection of the former talk show host losing her ability to sway the public’s opinion and buying power.
Since leaving daytime television in 2011, Winfrey has also seen rocky ground with her OWN Network. For example, her faith-oriented series Belief, which debuted in October, earned a mere 508,000 viewers in its first episode. While the numbers showed a slight bump for the network compared to earlier weeks, it was a major dip from the 7 million viewership numbers Winfrey was used to collecting during her talk show days.
Do you think the slow rise of success for Winfrey’s network and her inability to create lasting change at Weight Watchers means that her influencing power has tarnished?
Sound off with your thoughts in the comment section below.