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How to Cash in on Oprah Winfrey's New Network

At last count, Oprah Winfrey was worth a little over $23.234 trillion. Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but there's no doubt she's done well for herself doing well for others. Now it could be your turn. Oprah launched the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) at noon on January 1, 2011. It's a massive undertaking that could transform cable TV. And if you're willing, it could also transform you.

Here are five ways you can partner with Oprah:

  1. Buy stock in Oprah. You can make an investment in Oprah's new network by making an investment in Discovery Communications (NASDAQ: DISCA). Discovery Communications is a worldwide media and entertainment company operating many networks including Discovery Channel, TLC, and Animal Planet. Discovery Communications is also a 50:50 partner with Oprah in the Oprah Winfrey Network. Bet on Oprah with a bet in Discovery Communications. Disclaimer: This is not a recommendation to buy Discovery Communications stock.
  2. Get cast on a new show. There are two types of guests on shows: experts and non-experts. Take a look at some of the new and upcoming OWN shows to see if you would be a good fit as an expert. All of the major shows such as Dr. Phil, Good Morning America, and others get thousands of pitches a year from experts wanting to be on the show. It can be tough, but not impossible to break through. The other option is to appear as a non-expert. If you go on as a non-expert, make sure you learn something from the experience and experts and/or have a strategy for your 15 minutes of fame. Submit yourself to the general Oprah casting page or find the show you are interested in and look for who they are casting.
  3. Pitch your own show. What does a new network that promises 24/7 content need? Content of course! If you have an idea for a show that would be a good fit for OWN, this could be your opportunity. Here's what you need to know. First, an idea is not enough. At the very least, you need to write a two to three page treatment for the show -- similar to a business plan. What's the show about, what's the hook, who's the intended market, who's involved (e.g., host), what's the format, and how does it differ from other shows already on TV. You'll also want to summarize several sample shows. Second, if you're really serious, in addition to the treatment you'll want to shoot a pilot. Don't worry, it doesn't have to cost much, but it does need to get a producer interested in the concept. Before you pitch a treatment or pilot, watch the series "Oprah Behind The Scenes" for a inside look at what it takes to produce a show and what they look for. You can pitch Oprah via their website or look to partner with a production company.
  4. Write a book. Over the past several years there have been many bestselling books that took an idea and followed it for a year. For example, there was the woman who gave her husband sex every day for a year for his 40th birthday. She then wrote a book about it. Then there was another where the author strictly followed every word in the Bible for a year, and then wrote a book about it. I think a fantastic idea for a book would be for someone to follow every piece of advice on OWN and document their transformation. I'd call it, "My Year With Oprah" or something similar. I'd love to write this book, but I'd love even more to read it. If you're stuck in a rut, have a bit of free time, and like to write, consider this (learn how to write a book). Who knows? You may even end up on OWN talking about it.
  5. Start a blog. If you don't have a book in you, consider starting a blog that documents your transformation from watching OWN (learn how to start a blog). Watch the shows, follow the advice, and discuss how it's impacted your life. Maybe call it "My OWN Transformation." Once you get enough readers, you could easily display ads. If the blog becomes a hit, pitch it to an Oprah producer. If it doesn't become a hit, at least you've made some positive changes in your life.
There are lots of ideas on how to cash in on Oprah, but if you want to cash in with Oprah, just watch the network. . .

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