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Oprah's OWN Tweet has Nielsen Chirping Back at Her
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Once upon a time, there was a queen who owned a kingdom of sheep. We'll call her Oprah.

These sheep would do anything she commanded. If the queen demanded her kingdom read a book about painting fences, that book would become a best seller. When she said she was giving away free stuff, the sheep believed it was out of love and not of clandestine product placement. And if the queen had a stimulating guest on her show, the serfs in the kingdom looked past her vain attempts to shut down the interview and make it about her. 

One day, Queen Oprah decided her kingdom just wasn't big enough and that squatters' rights on a few other kingdoms would be more her style. We'll call that OWN. And then, a very mysterious thing happened; the sheep didn't follow in the zombie-like droves she thought they would. Her ratings tanked. Her network sucked. 

She was accustomed to snappy marketing magic. That is to say, she would snap and magic would happen in the marketing department, lest said people in the department get excommunicated and banned from broadcasting ever again. Nothing was working for OWN, so Oprah took to the airwaves again. Her "next chapter" was read by a small flock of sheep. So, she went back to her lair, brewed up a bewitching idea over her cauldron. Voila!

And that's what brings us here today. 

According to EW.com
, Oprah is getting some backlash from Nielsen Media because she directly begged...asked for Nielsen viewers to watch her show over Twitter. Oh yeah, and she did it on the night of Grammy Awards — the second-highest rated show in its history largely because of the national sentiment regarding Whitney Houston's death. 

“Every 1 who can please turn to OWN especially if u have a Neilsen [sic] box,” she tweeted Sunday evening at the start of Oprah’s Next Chapter and the mega-rated Grammy telecast. She later added, “Commercial Grammy people..u can turn to OWN.”

That's not too obvious, right? Certainly no one would notice. After all, she is the Queen and can do whatever she wants. Eh, not so much. 

Due to some pressure from Nielsen, the tweet has since been deleted. Oprah released a statement — not a tweet — that said she "removed the tweet at the request of Nielsen and...intended no harm and apologized for the reference." So, why the brouhaha? 

“In accordance with our policies and procedures, Nielsen is reviewing this incident with our clients and we may withhold, breakout and/or make a note in the ratings,” a Nielsen rep told EW.com. “We take any violation of our policy seriously and will work with clients to resolve the situation.”

TV networks can do whatever they want to create ratings — season finales, guest stars, teases of character changes. They can beg, borrow, and steal for ratings. Except from anyone with one of those "Neilsen" boxes. If she would have "given away cars" to the handful of OWN viewers, that would not have been a problem. Because she pleaded to the people with the magic rating boxes, Nielsen got their dander up. Many sources have lambasted Queen Oprah, namely since being ranked next to reruns of "The Andy Griffith Show" would be an improvement to where she rests now. 

Is she over? Will her ratings ever rebound? Who knows. What is clear is that based on this Twitter issue and the ratings toilet swirling in the royal bathroom, the question to ask is "Who in the sheep cares?" Baaaaaah. 


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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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