Live In Australia It’s Oprah!

Tourism Australia pulled off a major coup last week when Oprah Winfrey announced she was taking the audience of her show to Australia.

That is 300 people for a 7 day, all expenses paid, trip to australia.

The deal has been a year in the making but came through suddenly when Oprah told Andrew McEvoy of tourism Australia’s Los Angeles office that she liked the idea so much she wanted to move her announcement forward from late October to the first episode of her new season.

At that point, says Mr McEvoy, ”It was all hands on deck. It was a bit of a shock to the system, but all our partners – Qantas, the Sydney Opera House, all these guys – came on board to make sure we could deliver what we were promising.”

Oprah’s production company, Harpo has committed to filming at least two programs in Australia.  The episodes will to go to air in mid-January, just before Tourism Australia’s ”G’Day USA” event kicks off in the week before Australia Day, and at the height of the US travel-purchasing season.  Tourism Australia is reluctant to put a dollar value on the Oprah exercise but it is possible to do a rough calculation.

The Chicago Tribune recently reported that a 30-second advertising slot on Oprah typically sells for about $US100,000 (although the asking price for her final show next September is as much as $US1 million a spot). Assuming Oprah’s Australian shows are largely positive, there will be two programs at 43 minutes each extolling the virtues of this country. To buy that much advertising on the show would cost $US17.2 million. If there is a third show, that becomes $US25.8 million.

As Mr McEvoy says: ”We’ve obviously got our investment back in spades already, and all that programming is still to come.”

Oprah is in her 25th and final season – she is retiring her talk show next September to launch her own cable channel, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), next January.