After years of using her talk show and recently-launched cable network to provide inspiration and guidance to fans, Oprah Winfrey will come out from behind the camera.
Winfrey is marshaling her entire portfolio of media outlets – her magazine, her cable network and her Harpo production company – and jointing with William Morris Endeavor Entertainment to create an eight-city tour that will urge attendees to rise to their greatest potential. Procter & Gamble”s Olay and Toyota will sponsor the events, to be billed as “Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend.”
Each tour stop will take part over a weekend. On Friday nights, Winfrey is expected to relate her own story and offer insights. On Saturdays, Winfrey will lead a day-long gathering of thousands with handpicked thought leaders and pop culture icons including Iyanla Vanzant, star of OWN series “Iyanla: Fix My Life”; “Eat Pray Love” author Elizabeth Gilbert; and influential author and pastor Rob Bell. In some cities, mind and body guru Deepak Chopra will take the stage.
Winfrey has taken part in similar events in years past.
Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning April 7 at 10 a.m. local time at http://www.oprah.com/tour. Tickets for the weekend event start at $99. In addition, VIP experience, concierge and gift bag opportunities will be available in each city depending on ticket level.
“All of my life I have wanted to lead people to an empathy space. To a gratitude space,” said Winfrey in a prepared statement. “I want us all to fulfill our greatest potential. To find our calling, and summon the courage to live it.”
If successful, the tour would presumably add another stream of revenue to Winfrey’s operations. Many media outlets have been spurred to create events, an attempt to capture revenue that might once have come through advertising or subscriptions. As the audience for TV continues to splinter around dozens of new viewing windows given rise by new technology or new types of video entertainment available on non-traditional outlets like Hulu or YouTube, revenue from traditional sources has been harder to come by.
Print outlets like The New York Times and The New Yorker have found events to create new revenue opportunities. Conferences, symposia and the like bring in fees from attendees as well as sponsorship funds from advertisers who want to court the audiences. TCM, the classic-movie cable network owned by Time Warner’s Turner, regularly mounts a classic-film festival. This year, sponsors include Delta, Genworth Financial and Citigroup.
The advertisers who have signed up for the Winfrey tour cited an expectation of reaching hundreds of female consumers in a fell swoop. “Olay is excited to be partnering with ‘Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend’ to spread the message that women should never have to settle and help them put their best face forward – the best possible version of themselves every day,” said Lela Coffey, marketing director of North American beauty care at Procter & Gamble, in a statement. ““By partnering with ‘Oprah’s The Life You Want Weekend,’ we hope to empower countless women from coast to coast to strive toward greater levels of achievement,” said Jack Hollis,, vice president marketing, Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.