The draft of this post had been sitting in this wordpress account for roughly four years. Reading of ESPN’s unprecedented loss of 600K subscribers in November 2016 as well as the NFL ratings drop, I was reminded of the lessons that were unlearned by the Plain Dealer. So here’s that germ of a topic that never became a full-on post.
It’s sad to see people lose their jobs. It sad when an icon of my home town is diminished. But it’s worth remembering that a means to mitigate this problem was known as early as six plus years ago.
Linked above is a Regina Brett column with the results of her question: what do you want in the Plain Dealer?
You spoke so loudly I can’t hear out of my right ear. More than 500 readers have responded so far. The most common complaint? The paper leans left.
That ear-bending was received by the PD in 2006. Did anything change at the PD?
I don’t subscribe to the PD and I don’t know their day-to-day coverage. I do know that prior to that article the Editorial Board wanted to endorse John Kerry (and was overruled by the publisher resulting in a peculiar, no endorsement in 2004). In 2008 and 2012 the paper endorsed Obama. That’s all I’ve got to go on but if a paper endorsed Obama in 2012, it’s lefty.
The problem with this lies in the resulting business model. People tend not to pay to be alienated.
I stopped there because … because I was a sports blog and much of my readership would have been alienated by following this through to its logical conclusion. The conclusion being: Republicans buy newspapers too. Stop telling your customers that they suck and need to change.
It’s a lesson that ESPN could stand to learn.
The NFL’s problem is more nuanced in that they’re not outright telling me I suck, but with the never-ending marketing geared toward ’emerging demographics’ and women (i.e., not me) it’s clear that I don’t matter. Breast cancer ‘awareness’ month and video-game uniforms may get you a bump among feminists and fedora-wearers but for those of us who just like football, it doesn’t go unnoticed that we’re low in your prioritization hierarchy.
I’ll wrap this up with another case study.
The education of Bud Light
Bud Light learned this lesson the hard way with it’s recent sacking of the gross Seth Rogen/Amy Schumer ad campaign. Turns out Bud Light had a mid-single-digit volume decrease in volume since it began. Speaking for guys like me who comprise the vast majority of your purchasing — albeit not target — market: why the hell would I buy beer from people who literally hate me? Oh that’s right: I’m a 50 year old white guy and I’ll be dead soon. Thanks for reminding me Bud Light, message received. Good luck selling your rice-syrup based, enzyme-laden lager to dudes who put oranges in their beer.
Anyway, good to see that your bi-coastal ad agencies have gotten pulse on the market and are all about honchoing a campaign to go after that half of America that seems to be ready to MAGA.