Oprah At The Opera

5 December 2010

I’m sometimes a little critical of the way that both the State and Federal Governments throw our money around.  My rants about the $165 million spent to host the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day spring to mind, and the Federal funding of such ridiculous institutions as schools run by Scientologists.

But I’m not joining in with the criticism of the State’s contribution to the Oprah Winfrey roadshow which hits town this week.  This is going to cost us $3.5 million.

I’m not a particular fan of Oprah’s and have watched her show only a few times.  But I have a lot more respect for her than I do for the Pope.  And, strangely, she’s probably more influential. 

World Youth Day brought us a large number of young people (obviously) who were billeted in private homes, had not much money to throw around and contributed little to the country’s economy.

Millions of people in 145 countries watch Oprah, some hang on her every word and we know that she influences book sales tremendously.  She’s hosting two shows at the Opera House and is travelling around Oz a little so that she can show her viewers what it’s like.  If she can send a book to the top of the bestsellers list, let’s see if she can do the same for a country. 

The alternative is Australian Tourist Board advertising which  hasn’t always proved to be very successful or well-judged (the “Where the Bloody Hell Are You?” campaign was an unmitigated waste of money apparently) and $3.5 million doesn’t get you much air time around the world. 

I think this is a fairly modest PR investment and I’ll be very interested to see if tourist figures rise next year.   

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