Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Australian Taxpayers Say What Up Oprah


It turns out that Oprah is really not being as generous as everyone thought. Nope. Instead, it is the people of Australia who are being generous in paying for Oprah's audience earlier this week to head down under. The tourism minister of Australia said taxpayers will be shelling out $3M for Oprah to come to their country and have her show aired from there.

"Oprah is a household name and her star power has the potential to lift Australia's profile as a premier tourist destination."

He also said that despite spending hundreds of millions of dollars on advertising in the past 30 years, tourists still don't want to go to Australia. Really? I find that hard to believe. Yes, more people from Australia leave for other countries than go to Australia, but I don't think that says people don't want to go there.

I do find it interesting that Oprah didn't thank the people of Australia for paying for everything but made it seem like she was doing it all on her own dime.

38 comments:

Sylvia said...

And here I thought she was being so generous (being sarcastic)..

Marion said...

I don 't think it's that people dont want to visit Australia, it's just so darn far away ! I did one 20 hr flight in my life (and that was in a silver tube Boeing 707)and just don't feel like doing it again ! As for the mighty O - very tacky to take credit for taxpayers money !!

Lady J said...

I must be slow or something. Can someone explain how/why the taxpayers of Australia are paying for people to fly there? Thats sounds really weird, and messed up.

Susan said...

You're not slow, Lady J. I don't think this article makes clear what exactly the Australian taxpayers are paying for. So, I'm with you.

I would LOVE to go to Australia, but as Marion pointed out - It's super far away. So, I'm assuming airfare alone is way out of my price range.

Casey said...

Just because the country is paying 3 Mill to put the show on, doesn't mean that Oprah is not footing the bill to fly the guests to Australia.

captivagrl said...

I don't care for Oprah.

jax said...

i read that headline and this is all i can think of:

"Tell Sloan I said what up."

lol.

Karmen said...

capivagrl - you and I are so much alike. We both strongly dislike Oprah and we both share a love of the blue crab (your icon rocks).

With how much money that woman has, she should fork over a lot of that money, rather than take it from taxpayers. So tacky.

I'm with everyone else. Australia sounds amazing, but it's super far away. Someday ...

skeeball said...

Oprah did the same thing with the cars she "gave" away~she didn't pay for them, the dealer donated then~can't stand Oprah and I have never understood why she endorses products like bras that cost $100.oo dollars and seemingly intelligent women flock to buy them

Tenley said...

I've also been wondering about the breakdown of costs -- even before the taxpayer part of the story came up, I was thinking, hmmmm, is she just filling a private flight with warm bodies to fill the seats with her fans when she would have paid the same price whether it was just her and her entourage or not? (And is she getting a write off of some sort? I'm guessing she is while all audience members likely will have to pay tax on this "win" or "gift".)

MontanaMarriott said...

and the thought that it takes forever to get there coupled with the high cost of an airplane ticket didn't make them think THAT was the REAL reason people didn't travel to Australia??

Nicola said...

Hate to tell you folks this but most of the time you hear about really big contests that include trips to another country, it's that country's Tourism Board that is paying for them. Even developing nations like Mexico and Barbados do this.

In Toronto a local radio station broadcasts from a Caribbean island for a week every year, the station is just covering the overtime of their employees. The airline, hotel and Tourism board pick up the rest.

Australia (and New Zealand) have been spending a fortune on marketing in North America for the past couple of years. On Monday half the population here was uttering the word Australia. If only they would subsidize the price of a plane ticket, most of us would go.

Cheryl said...

skeeball: and some of the folks could not afford to pay the tax on the cars so thanks a lot O.

Patty said...

So over Oprah. Couldn's she just retire and disappear now? I too don't understand the need to buy what she endorses.

M said...

Didn't we read yesterday that Travolta was supposedly flying the plane (and his plane at that)? If that is the case, then is he "donating" the fuel for the trip or would Oprah be paying for that?

not on my dollar said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mme Siouxie said...

This summer Canada's Prince Edward Island paid to have Regis and Kelly broadcast from the Island for a few days. The affect on the Island's tourism was big this summer, and will no doubt be huge next year. It's a canny investment by Australia's tourism industry.

anarchi said...

I liked the car giveaway. The audience was all teachers. Yes, you have to sign a 1099 at the show, which means $8000 in taxes. But some folks took a lesser car and cash ($10K). Some may have sold the car (still a win).

And nothing comes from Oprah's pockets (she acknowledges unless source says not to), but she spent staff time arranging it, and no one has a gun to their head to donate.

I knew producers from the show at that time (I'm in Chicago). Stories they could tell (some are as confidential as the CIA) show O to be caring and generous, and wanting to be No. 1.

Huge respect, but I didn't like the premiere...weird giveaway (Travolta?).

sunnyside1213 said...

I think it was a shrewd move on the Australian governments part. I just can't stand Oprah anymore. I have heard she is extremely rude to people on the show when the camera is off.

awesome balla. said...

flight is way too expensive.

RocketQueen said...

I think everyone's making too big a deal of this. Regardless of which part of the bill (if any) she's footing, the people ARE getting a free trip to Australia and everyone wins. This is how business is DONE.

audieh_1 said...

Her show is airing all season. Does this mean we get nothing but sad long tributes every few days until it goes off the air?

Rose said...

No matter what the prize or giveaway you have to pay taxes. It's not just Oprah. People still go on The Price is Right. No one has to accept a car or trip.

I can't say i would want to have John Travolta as my pilot though.

not on my dollar said...

@anarchi,

so are you saying that O is actually very caring and generous but is also very secretive about it?


And about her wanting to be No. 1, that's pretty normal for most people in some aspect of their life unless she's taking unusual measures to assure that she's always no.1.

Syko said...

I wouldn't mind going to Australia, if for nothing but to listen to them talk, but like everyone else said, it's a long long trip and costs so much to go. If I ever do go, though, I don't want to ride with Oprah and I would prefer a real pilot, not John Travolta. Oh, I know he's a real pilot. But he's still John Travolta.

Syko said...

I wouldn't mind going to Australia, if for nothing but to listen to them talk, but like everyone else said, it's a long long trip and costs so much to go. If I ever do go, though, I don't want to ride with Oprah and I would prefer a real pilot, not John Travolta. Oh, I know he's a real pilot. But he's still John Travolta.

anita_mark said...

I've never understood the allure of Australia. Sydney is just Toronto with better weather. If I'm going to take the time and spend the money, I'll go to Asia. Better food!

MCH said...

My husband is in the travel industry and he says that The Travel Channel is nothing but an advertising channel. Nothing that you really see on there is "real". All the places/businesses featured on there have paid The Travel Channel to be featured.

So I guess it makes sense that Australia's Tourism Board would have paid to get some name recognition on Oprah.

Lana's Blog said...

Did anyone really think Oprah was shelling out? I assumed it was Quantas, some hotel chain, etc.

Mango said...

$8000 in taxes. *blink blink*

Really? I knew it wasn't free and they would have to pay taxes but 8k??
Holy fark!

rebellious, contrary and nice said...

It's posts like this that make me seriously doubt you went to law school and in the entertainment BUSINESS.

ITA, Rocket Queen,Anarchi, and Nicola. This is how business is DONE.

Char said...

There are a lot of reasons why tourism in Australia is suffering at the moment. It's really far, it's quite expensive, and it's just not THAT different that most other developed countries. (I'm not being stereotypical, I live in Melbourne, Australia). Add to that the recent reports about attacks on Indian students, fears about fires, floods, shark attacks, etc... tourism has dropped off an incredible amount here. People are figuring out that they can spend WAY less many and go to somewhere completely different like South East Asia.

So yah, the government is spending a heap of money on bringing over Oprah. This isn't new. They also spent a heap of money (more than Oprah) to bring over Tiger Woods (pre-scandal) and it raised WAY more money in revenue during the time he was here than they spent on it. It's a no brainer for them. There are millions of housewives and stay at home moms all over the world that watch Oprah EVERY DAY and are going to go... Ooooooh I want to go to Australia on our next vacation!

This is how business is done. Anyone that thinks any other trip giveaways, and celebrity appearances are any different is being naive. Celebrities get paid to go to places, so that people like you and I will want to go to those places too, and will spend money to do it.

Char said...

Oh I should also mention that the local news here in Australia tried to make a big deal of this when it came out that we were paying for it. And every person that commented it on it basically said... "so what? Totally worth it"

Manda said...

Basically the Australian government is paying for airfares, accommodation extras etc etc through Qantas (most likely struck a sponsorship deal).

Frankly i dont care if people come here..but i do care about in a climate where our hospitals are turnng people away, you have to wait 8 hours to see a doctor and there are people sleeping on the streets because they cant afford a house, our government has decided $3million + is ok to spend for oprah to increase our tourism numbers.

But since people are coming..someone want to bring me some mexican hot chocolate? I got addicted when I last visited the US and cant find any here:P

- Amanda

Lea said...

Australia is my most favorite place in the whole world but I can understand why so few Americans visit. It's a very long flight and one or two weeks vacation leave is not nearly enough time to take it all in.

f00bby said...

btw John Travolta is an ambassador - and has been for a few years - for our national airline qantas so it would be a neat cross promotion for them also

MacVixen said...

Yeah I guess I'm not getting the outrage here. This is a business, And Australia must feel that they will get their money back in tourist dollars. I know it's fun to beat up on the celebs here and on other sites, but this just seems like a bunch of fuss over BUSINESS being done the way business has always beend one.

Henriette said...

The Big O never pays! Everyone knows that. She knows how the business is done, her name is equal to gold. John Travolta better be flying that plain though. That I want to see on tape.

As everyone has said, Australia is just too damn far away. I have lived in Asia and those flights killed me. I can't imagine a flight to Australia.

Oh The Big O had pies on today.