OWN Fees Have Oprah Winfrey Fans Upset

Oprah Winfrey in an ad for her OWN cable channel.
OWN
Oprah Winfrey in an ad for her OWN cable channel. (OWN)

NEW YORK (CBS) Oprah Winfrey may have won over critics with the debut Jan. 1 of her OWN Network, but her decision to go the cable TV route has angered some of her most loyal fans.

Upset over the fees charged by the cable companies, hundreds of angry fans have logged on to the network's web site to voice their outrage. Her hugely popular TV talk show is on network TV.

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"We live in Santa Barbara ... and already pay $133.99/month for cable tv and we still don't get OWN, wrote one fan. "I just called our cable company and they tell me that i can add OWN for another $8/month. Unfortunately, we just can't do that right now. I will miss you.........."

From another fan: "i guess you can't comment on the reason to put own on paid subscriber cable and not basic on the open forum ..., it's all about $$$$$$$$$$$$$ and that would ruin oprah image."

Yet another wrote: "goodbye to Oprah - can't afford the upgrade."

Meanwhile, several fans, including one who vowed he would not pay his cable company "another copper penny," said they intended to follow OWN on the Internet only.

In addition to comments like this from fans locked out because they either do not subscribe to cable or cannot afford to upgrade from basic service, which does not include OWN, the network's more than 8,000 posts include congratulations and kudos for some of the shows.

When it launched last Saturday, OWN said it is available in more than 80 million homes, a figure based on the number of customers on all the cable systems carrying the network.

The network, a partnership between Winfrey and the Discovery Channel, debuted to generally positive comments and drew a prime-time viewership of 1 million, four times what it had been on Discovery Health, which it replaced. And The New York Times is reporting today that OWN expects to turn a profit in its first year.