Oprah Winfrey was the surprise “one more thing” guest at the end of Apple’s March 25 event, announcing two new TV shows that she’s creating for the Apple+ streaming network. But even though she’s putting in a lot of time with Apple and has signed a huge deal with them, she’s also still very involved with and committed to her own network, called OWN. OWN is still very much in business and producing shows too.
Just a little less than a year ago, Oprah announced that she had signed a new multi-contract deal with Apple. And the fruits of that deal are now being realized. (Sources told Hollywood Reporter that when Oprah signed the deal with Apple, it was after she was also pursued by Netflix and Amazon, so it was likely quite lucrative.)
Oprah’s deal with Apple includes letting her company, Harpo Films, own any content she produces with Apple, Hollywood Reporter noted. This is different than the deals Netflix made with stars like Shonda Rhimes and Ryan Murphy, where Netflix owns the rights to its original programming.
Despite her work with Apple, she’s still very involved with her own network called OWN. Chad Kawalec of The Brand Identity Center told Fortune that Oprah is working with Apple so she can increase her exposure and get herself on new platforms. Kawalec added that “OWN has not really knocked it out of the park,” so Oprah is focusing on expanding her own personal brand. By appearing on Apple programming, Kawalec believes Oprah will draw more people to her network too.
In fact, Oprah’s deal with Apple in non-exclusive, so it won’t stop her from continuing to create programming with OWN. In December, Oprah extended her contract with OWN through 2025. However, Discovery acquired an additional 24.5 percent ownership of OWN from Harpo, Hollywood Reporter noted. That means Discovery is now a 70 percent owner of OWN, while Oprah and Harpo have a “significant minority interest.”
Oprah does still have an exclusivity contract with OWN, Hollywood Reporter added. The contract stipulates that she’s exclusive for pay-cable on-camera work, but she can do on-camera work for other platforms “on a limited basis.” It’s not clear what “on a limited basis” means, but considering her appearance at Apple’s event on March 25, she’ll likely be doing some on-camera work for her Apple shows.
The exact amount that Apple paid Oprah for her deal is not known.
Oprah announced on March 25 that her first two shows with Apple TV+ will be documentaries. One documentary is about sexual harassment in the workplace called Toxic Labor and the other is about mental health. “We’re going to replace stigma with wisdom, compassion, and honesty,” she said. She also plans to bring a new, vibrant book club to Apple devices, including hosting conversations with authors.
Just last month, OWN aired Oprah’s interview with Beto O’Rourke, where she encouraged him to run for President of the United States. So she’s definitely still creating compelling content for OWN too.