The Daily Beast’s Daniel Gross deep-dives into the ongoing financial woes plaguing The New York Times. It is worth a read, but the observations I found most fascinating confirm a number of things I’ve previously speculated: That when the mainstream media erects online paywalls, they lose eyeballs, and with that political impact. Moreover, plummeting advertising revenues are part of a vicious circle likely to evolve into a vicious swirling ’round the drain.
Daniel Gross opens with this…
The future of good newspapers is expensive. The products that once were a metaphor for the democratization of information– remember the Penny Press?–are evolving into luxury products for high-end consumers.
…which is pretty much the only survival plan the Times can come up with, because….
Once upon a time, print publications essentially gave away circulation. The goal was to get the magazine or newspaper in as many people’s homes as possible and then turn around and charge advertisers a hefty premium for reaching such a large audience. That strategy was revealed as a loser when print advertising began to plummet, and fall, and then fall again.
Here is the vicious circle:
The media are left-wing and hopelessly corrupt in pushing their agenda. More than 50% of Americans, though, are not left-wing and know the media are corrupt and hostile towards them. But now, thanks to New Media, that portion of America is no longer enslaved by the media’s decades-long conspiracy to create an Ideological Monopoly.
The result is that customers go elsewhere, and fewer eyeballs mean lower advertising rates.
Fewer eyeballs also means that the Times (and this is true for much of the media) loses political impact. In order to make up for that impact, though, the media become even more obnoxious about pushing their agenda (See: Obama, all things). The result is even fewer customers and therefore fewer advertising dollars.
Here is the vicious swirling of the drain:
Also hurting advertising dollars are Obama’s failed economic policies that continue to kill any hope of a recovery. The media shills for Obama, shills for his failed policies, protects him by pretending all is well, and is obviously willing to take one for the socialist team. (The media will likely look for payback in the form of some kind of taxpayer bailout.)
Furthermore, paywalls are called walls for a reason. If you erect them, you keep people out. Fewer eyeballs result in even fewer advertising dollars. Fewer advertising dollars results in the need to charge even more for online and home-delivery subscriptions. Suddenly, then, only the left-wing elite are reading you, because in this economy, only the left-wing elite can afford you and aren’t hating you back with an individual boycott.
The ultimate consequence is that you lose even more political impact, which means you have to make it up by becoming even more strident, which means you drive more people away, which means fewer advertising dollars, and, and, and…
This mainstream media’s slow-motion train wreck would be fun to watch if they weren’t acting like a rabid dog who knows it has nothing to lose.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC