Oprah Winfrey launched her first dedicated YouTube channel today through her Harpo Productions, offering up show highlights as well as behind-the-scenes footage from the "Oprah cam," Harpo Studios' green room and candid moments backstage. In a YouTube message to fans today, Ms. Winfrey said the channel was so new "we don't even have a name for [it.] So we're just going to call it, 'Hey, what about Oprah's channel?'"
The partnership will be formally announced on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" Nov. 6, when YouTube founders Chad Hurley and Steve Chen will be special guests, along with YouTube all-stars such as P. Diddy's new assistant, the "evolution of dance" guy and Tyson, the skateboarding dog. Of the latter, Ms. Winfrey said in her message, without irony: "If we all had the passion and intensity of that dog then everybody would be successful."
The Oprah channel represents the largest external media partnership Ms. Winfrey has entered for her content; she already hosts a comprehensive archive of show clips on her own website, dating back to 1999. Tim Bennett, president of Harpo Productions, described the YouTube relationship as more of a social-networking play.
"It provides another platform for people online to communicate with us and share in some of the one-of-a-kind experiences that occur behind-the-scenes at 'The Oprah Winfrey Show,'" he said.
Ms. Winfrey has partnered with other media companies before to share behind-the-scenes footage of her show, most notably with the Oxygen Network in 2002. Her "Oprah After the Show" was comprised of 60 minutes of additional guest interviews and backstage footage, not unlike what will be available on the new YouTube channel. But after four years, the show was quietly removed from Oxygen in 2006, around the time Ms. Winfrey cashed out her investment in the fledgling women's network, which was recently acquired by NBC Universal. "Oprah After the Show" still lives online, however, in archive form.
And if strong ratings were equal to page views, then Ms. Winfrey's channel should have no trouble gaining impressions. "The Oprah Winfrey Show" remains the undisputed ratings champ in daytime talk, regularly reeling in more than 5 million viewers daily.