Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

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Thursday, May 12, 2005
MSM meltdown
In The New York Post on Monday, John Podhoretz does the "mainstream media in massive cardiac arrest" story this week, breaking down the industry's woes thusly:
The mass-media melt down is happening everywhere you look - from the multiplex
to the newsstand, from late-night television to drive-time radio.
  • Hollywood is in a panic, because for nine weeks straight, box office grosses
    have been lower than last year's.
  • As Gabriel Snyder wrote in Tuesday's edition of Variety, "In recent years the first weekend of May has seen a big expansion in the marketplace. But if [the current] estimate of $83 million holds when final figures are tallied, it would be the worst weekend of an already listless year. It is also 26 percent behind last year's summer kickoff frame, when 'Van Helsing' opened to $51.7 million - perceived as a disappointment at the time."
  • The editors and publishers of most major American newspapers are terrified, because declines in newspaper circulation are accelerating at an alarming clip. By one reckoning, the Los Angeles Times lost an astounding 13 percent of its readers in a year's time.
  • Television networks are reeling from a dramatic contraction of its audience of young male viewers aged 18-34 - the cohort most desired by advertisers. According to a controversial Nielsen study, their prime-time viewership has declined by nearly 8 percent. The number has been shrinking for more than a decade.
  • Talk-radio audiences in major cities like New York and Washington have fallen since the 2004 election. Meanwhile, radio executives who program music
    stations - and who have been packing every hour with increasing numbers of commercials - are being forced by their impatient audiences to limit the number of ads and play more music.
  • The American recording industry is in tatters, increasingly unable to
    introduce new stars and to sell new music.
Podhoretz chalks up the doldrums to mostly mundane causes: sucky movies, TiVo, satellite radio-induced commercial avoidance and the Internet. But however you slice it, the media as a business model comes up screwed. The best thing the biggies have going for them is brand equity. Now all they have to do is figure out a way to stick those brand names on something people under 40 want a piece of.
Right up his alley: Buzzmachine gives props to BBC for doing just that.
posted by JReid @ 9:18 PM  
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