Does a Financial Loss with Weight Watchers Mean a Loss of the ‘Oprah Effect’?

Winfrey loses $27 million amid Weight Watchers bad financial report

(Image: File)

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.

[RELATED: Reports: Oprah Makes Nearly $20 Million From Weight Watchers Tweet]

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.


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  • Irma DeAnda Schroeder

    Oprah is merely trying to capitalize on her viewers. I’m not buying into her attempts to sell Weight Watchers! SHE has a personal trainer and can have her meals prepared, AND can workout when she wants to. The average American has to work and deal weight loss on their own. Eat your bread Oprah! Go for it! Get richer off someone else.

  • Shunnae

    Everybody has their own struggle….I’ve been on WW a couple of times, but her commercial moved me…I joined and I’m going to stick with it…. Regardless of what we might feels as her motive, if she motivates even one person to eat healthier….which often leads to lower cholesterol and lower BP….then so be it…… We are always so quick to criticize instead of taking the good out of something and using it to our advantage…. so I say…take the good stuff out of it and “do you!”

  • Substitute Health Club .

    Not even Jesus can help a failing system. Its not Oprah’s fault. Weight Watches is so out of date. I mean it still follows the same system out of the 70’s. that’s 46 years ago. Its a pure starvation system, that fails because they have not followed the total recommendations of the latest revisions of the world Health weight loss guidelines for obese and over weight. Yes eat smaller portions but also exercise every day 60 – 90 minutes or more till you create a deficit. Exercise at home is best, using total body exercise with no machines. So that’s exercising all the major muscle groups, something that their system dose not include. If a system fails and WW has shown they only have a 10% success rate ( that’s luck not success) there is only so many times you can waste your time on weight watches. Vangel WLE.