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Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Retreat and revolution

The head of CNN finally tires of being repeatedly prison-raped in the ratings every night by Fox News and throws in the towel:
After almost a year of tinkering, CNN Worldwide President Jeff Zucker has concluded that a news channel cannot subsist on news alone. So he is planning much broader changes for the network—including a prime-time shakeup that’s likely to make CNN traditionalists cringe.

Once, CNN’s vanilla coverage was a point of pride. Now, the boss boasts about the ratings for his unscripted series, and documentaries like the Sea World-slamming film Blackfish. Zucker, in his first one-on-one interview since taking control of CNN last January, told Capital he wants news coverage “that is just not being so obvious.”

Instead, he wants more of “an attitude and a take”: “We're all regurgitating the same information. I want people to say, ‘You know what? That was interesting. I hadn't thought of that,’” Zucker said. “The goal for the next six months, is that we need more shows and less newscasts.”

Zucker—“rhymes with hooker,” he likes to say—also expanded on comments he has made about breaking CNN out of a mindset created by historic rivalries with MSNBC and Fox. He wants the network to attract “viewers who are watching places like Discovery and History and Nat Geo and A&E.”

“People who traditionally just watch the cable news networks [are] a great audience,” he said. “I'm not trying to alienate that audience. But the overall cable news audience has not grown in the last 12 years, OK? So, all we're doing is trading [audience] share. … We also want to broaden what people can expect from CNN.”

The 48-year-old Zucker initially faced internal resistance to his experiments beyond the realm of hard news, but he now has an irrefutable retort: The No. 1 show on CNN is now “Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown,” a travel-adventure show featuring the bad-boy celebrity chef. Zucker said that inside CNN, his formula has finally been accepted “because people have seen the results.”
As JartStar commented: "It will be amusing that in another year or two CNN will have less to do with the news and more to do with reality TV than SyFy has with science fiction".

And fitting. What Fox has done to CNN is exactly what Larry, Mike, Tom, Sara, and me are going to do to the world of Pink SF. By presenting an ideological alternative that appeals to more than half of the prospective audience that is ignored and denigrated by the monolithic gatekeepers, our market is far less saturated. Having lost their former ability to keep us out of print and out of the bookstores, there is nothing the genre publishers can do except watch helplessly as we cut into their sales in the same way that Fox News cut into CNN's ratings.

I only wish Amazon permitted authors to give away Kindle Select books on an ongoing basis. Every individual who downloads a free copy of The Last Witchking or The Wardog's Coin and reads it isn't merely a potential buyer of A Throne of Bones or Quantum Mortis, he is also one more book sale lost to the gatekeepers.

They are the dinosaurs, heavy with overhead and thin operating margins. We are the mammals, able to write and publish a book in the time it takes them to bring a finished book to market. That's why we are going to win despite their best efforts to pretend we don't even exist.

Speaking of which, I'm looking for translators who are interested in translating my books in return for a share in the revenue. If you are a native speaker of a language other than English and you want to take active part in the Blue SF Revolution, fire me an email.

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106 Comments:

Anonymous dh December 03, 2013 1:03 PM  

I think you are missing the point of Zucker's comments. RIght now CNN thinks they are not ideological. Set aside whether or not that's true. Right now they think it's too vanilla.

So the strategy is too fold:

1. Become overtly ideological.

2. Become less about newscasts and more about television shows.

#1 is ideological, but #2 is just about coarsening or broadening the appeal of the network to entertainment viewers.

That's the opposite of what you are doing. You are anti-mainstream.

Right or wrong, Zucker thinks that CNN is out of the mainstream and only interesting to news nerds. He wants to make more TV and less newcasts.

CNN wants to be more like Scalzi.

Anonymous VD December 03, 2013 1:09 PM  

I think you are missing the point of Zucker's comments. RIght now CNN thinks they are not ideological. Set aside whether or not that's true. Right now they think it's too vanilla.

Not missing them, ignoring them. He's talking about what he's going to do in response to the ratings prison-raping. I'm explaining why he found himself in that situation in the first place.

To stop doing news and start doing entertainment instead is an open admission of defeat. Although if Zucker genuinely believes they are non-ideological, he's still clueless as to why CNN lost so badly.

That's the opposite of what you are doing. You are anti-mainstream.

Granted.

Anonymous Josh December 03, 2013 1:09 PM  

CNN should hire that Will McAvoy guy.

Or Ron Burgundy.

Anonymous Josh December 03, 2013 1:13 PM  

What CNN doesn't get is that the people who watch TV news are going to be more partisan than the general public. The people who want vanilla or unbiased coverage don't exist in large enough numbers. And they're probably already watching PBS or the BBC.

Anonymous Sigyn December 03, 2013 1:15 PM  

Zucker—“rhymes with hooker,” he likes to say...

Classy. But at least he's willing to admit openly that he's basically whoring at this point.

Anonymous dingus December 03, 2013 1:22 PM  

And fitting. What Fox has done to CNN is exactly what Larry, Mike, Tom, Sara, and me are going to do to the world of Pink SF.
 
This isn’t correct.  The reason for Fox’s success is spelled out in the first sentence of the blurp you posted.  They do not subsist on news alone.
 
To piggy back on dh’s comment, CNN wants to be more like Scalzi.  And Fox IS Scalzi.   
 

Anonymous Josh December 03, 2013 1:23 PM  

dingus, Megyn Kelly looks much better in a dress than McRapey does.

Anonymous Porky December 03, 2013 1:25 PM  

This is the guy who Comcast paid $30 million.... to quit.

Blogger Glen Filthie December 03, 2013 1:25 PM  

I hope you make a million bucks, Vox.

Anything you could do to speed that up would also be appreciated...

Anonymous dingus December 03, 2013 1:26 PM  

To stop doing news and start doing entertainment instead is an open admission of defeat.
 
It’s an admission of defeat regarding their all news format, not the ideology.  Basically what this says is the viewing public is a bunch of retards, and CNN is adjusting accordingly. 
 

Anonymous Josh December 03, 2013 1:30 PM  

Basically what this says is the viewing public is a bunch of retards, and CNN is adjusting accordingly.

Coming up at 8, "ow my balls" on CNN.

Anonymous VD December 03, 2013 1:34 PM  

It’s an admission of defeat regarding their all news format, not the ideology.

Yes, of course. If they had more sense and admitted their ideology was the problem, they'd try to broaden their ideological appeal. Now they're going to get steamrolled by Disney and ESPN and Fox instead of Fox News.

Anonymous Stickwick December 03, 2013 1:35 PM  

dingus: It’s an admission of defeat regarding their all news format, not the ideology. Basically what this says is the viewing public is a bunch of retards, and CNN is adjusting accordingly.

You ought to email Zucker and offer "the viewing public is a bunch of retards" as CNN's new slogan, sort of like FOXNews' "Fair and Balanced."

Blogger Patrikbc December 03, 2013 1:40 PM  

I can do Ebonics ....
O.G. Graven Tower raised his sphinx in the air turnt sidewayz and fired two shots, hollerin to the two racially profiled youths across the skreet "brake Yo self Nigga!". ET Bitsy snapped in a hurried tone to his "homeworldies".... "Five 0, we gosta dip!"


Too much?

Anonymous dingus December 03, 2013 1:41 PM  

Yes, of course. If they had more sense and admitted their ideology was the problem, they'd try to broaden their ideological appeal.
 
That doesn’t make sense.  As you said, they are being “prison-raped” by FOX News and therefore adopting their model, which is to drastically narrow the ideological appeal.  Should be interesting either way. 

Blogger JartStar December 03, 2013 1:42 PM  

Is there really much of a market for a far left wing reality channel with just a bit of news, or are they going to put the the ideology second and just go for the ratings?

Anonymous Jack Amok December 03, 2013 1:42 PM  

Y'know, this trend of TV execs changing the format of a network away from what it originally was is pathetic.

"Oh, look at me! Not good enough for me to keep going what someone else built - I need to tear it down and build my own monument on top of the rubble!!!!"

He's just like the pink-SF crowd that way. No clue what made the original successful, no desire to figure that out and fix things, has his own hobbyhorse agenda to push.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 03, 2013 1:44 PM  

Is there really much of a market for a far left wing reality channel with just a bit of news, or are they going to put the the ideology second and just go for the ratings?

I would've thought the failure of AlgoreTV answered that question already, but I guess Leftists always assume past failures were the result of not being tried by special enough snowflakes.

Anonymous Sigyn December 03, 2013 1:44 PM  

Is there really much of a market for a far left wing reality channel with just a bit of news,

I don't know. How's network TV doing?

Blogger IM2L844 December 03, 2013 1:49 PM  

They should just sell CNN to Oprah and be done with it..

Anonymous Farfig Netwon December 03, 2013 1:50 PM  

I'm fluent in Gibberish, Pig Latin and innuendo.

Anonymous Daniel December 03, 2013 1:57 PM  

It's like C-SPAN for Snookie.

Blogger Joshua Dyal December 03, 2013 1:59 PM  

That doesn’t make sense. As you said, they are being “prison-raped” by FOX News and therefore adopting their model, which is to drastically narrow the ideological appeal. Should be interesting either way.

Yes, but that's speaking overly broad. It doesn't sound like they're adopting Fox News' model, it sounds like they're adopting MSNBC's model. I don't see how that's going to help anything, since MSNBC is the only news network that CNN can mostly have a good shot at beating in the ratings.

Blogger Patrikbc December 03, 2013 2:02 PM  

There's always a market for just about anything as long as it's guaranteed to tick off some large demographic. I'd imagine a good portion of Vox's book sales were from liberals or atheists who wanted to have more to whine about.

Blogger Harold Carper December 03, 2013 2:05 PM  

Is there really much of a market for a far left wing reality channel with just a bit of news...

It's called MTV.

Blogger Crowhill December 03, 2013 2:06 PM  

Sorry to make a slightly off-topic comment, but this resonated with me.

I only wish Amazon permitted authors to give away Kindle Select books on an ongoing basis.

There are so many things Amazon is doing wrong re: publishing it astonishes me. It's as if they didn't talk to anybody in the industry before they designed their system.

Anonymous Michael Maier December 03, 2013 2:08 PM  

CNN: Hire Jamie R to do his takes on the news and let him have free reign.

Ratings GOLD in no time.

Anonymous FP December 03, 2013 2:15 PM  

This is called Channel Drift or Network Decay. Aka they can't make money anymore being blatantly left wing hoes for the gov but don't want to lose the supposed value left in the brand name. "This is CNN. Cooking News Network."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Channel_drift

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NetworkDecay

Anonymous Daniel December 03, 2013 2:20 PM  

The free thing at Amazon is logistical more than it is financial: I don't recall the ins and outs, but Bezos addressed it once, and it seemed, on the face of it, reasonable. They have a specific business objective with "free" that was fundamentally different than what they perceived the other companies to be using it for.

Anonymous VD December 03, 2013 2:21 PM  

Y'know, this trend of TV execs changing the format of a network away from what it originally was is pathetic.

That's because the networks keep hiring from the other networks. If it worked at NBC, obviously it will work at PBS, right? I wouldn't be surprised if we saw CNN-Zucker introduce a comedy about six friends of both sexes, (two Jewish), centered on a coffee shop in New York City, followed by another comedy starring a whiny Jewish comedian. In New York City.

Anonymous DJF December 03, 2013 2:21 PM  

“””””“We're all regurgitating the same information. I want people to say, ‘You know what? That was interesting. I hadn't thought of that,’” Zucker said.”””””

The problem is that they are all regurgitating from the same PC point of view. If they are not going to change that then nothing will change with their ratings

You could give many people a headline from CNN and they will give back what the story is about, what will be talked about, what won’t be talked about and whether the network will think that the story is important. There is not much point in watching them if you already know what they are going to say.

Anonymous WaterBoy December 03, 2013 2:28 PM  

"He wants the network to attract “viewers who are watching places like Discovery and History and Nat Geo and A&E.”"

ENPN.

Blogger JartStar December 03, 2013 2:30 PM  

Channel drift can almost be summed up: add reality shows.

Anonymous Daniel December 03, 2013 2:32 PM  

This is called Channel Drift or Network Decay. Aka they can't make money anymore being blatantly left wing hoes for the gov but don't want to lose the supposed value left in the brand name. "This is CNN. Cooking News Network."

One of the interesting examples of this is Pawn Stars...on the History channel. It combines reality t.v. with economics, history and cars, gold and guns. A far cry from the 24-hour Hitler channel that it once was, but still, for all its weirdness, the show is one of the few left that is somehow appropriate to the original mission of the channel. I think it was once (or still is) their top rated show. Sadly, the other popular one is about how history might have happened because of space aliens.

For the first time in months, I hit the SyFy channel, intrigued by what I assumed was a documentary on Heinlein, circa 1970, called Naked Vegas.

This masterpiece of science fiction, in fact, was documentary about completely naked showgirls in Las Vegas, painted like pirates.

On a waterslide.

Talk about contracting a fatal case of SyPhy.

Anonymous Red Comet December 03, 2013 2:43 PM  

Once, CNN’s vanilla coverage was a point of pride.

If they really believe this they're delusional. CNN is as left washed as any other major news source that isn't owned by Rupert Murdoch. If they want that Fox News money they're going to basically need to suck it up and become Fox News.

After all, Murdoch himself is to my knowledge not even a conservative by the common American definition of the word. His political beliefs, whatever they may be, don't factor into what he knows must be on his networks across the world to attract the under-served audience and make money.

Anonymous Jimmy December 03, 2013 2:47 PM  

CNN will have the same ideology, but a format that will broaden their appeal. It is funny that liberal news doesn't appeal to many, but people still vote along the same ideological lines. You would expect CNN to have the same ratings as Fox News since the public is divided equally red and blue. Maybe this is about the low information voter who happens to be Democrats.

Anonymous WaterBoy December 03, 2013 2:50 PM  

Daniel: "This masterpiece of science fiction, in fact, was documentary about completely naked showgirls in Las Vegas, painted like pirates."

Technically, it is a recurring reality TV show about a company of body painters, and is itself an offshoot of their series about special-effects makeup artists called Face-Off (which provides a great behind-the-scenes look at monster movie makeup). Body-painting was featured in a couple different seasons, and apparently was popular enough to spawn its own show.

Blogger Eric December 03, 2013 2:59 PM  

CNN will have the same ideology, but a format that will broaden their appeal. It is funny that liberal news doesn't appeal to many, but people still vote along the same ideological lines. You would expect CNN to have the same ratings as Fox News since the public is divided equally red and blue. Maybe this is about the low information voter who happens to be Democrats.

No, you wouldn't expect them to have the same ratings because competition on the left side of the spectrum is fierce. CNN is competing with all the legacy networks plus NPR and MSNBC. Fox has the entire right side of the ideological spectrum all to itself.

I haven't watched broadcast TV in years. I was never that impressed with Fox - too much faux populism and sensationalism. But if I broke my neck or something I'd probably watch Fox given the alternatives.

Blogger Tiny Tim December 03, 2013 3:12 PM  

All they need are more gay talking heads. Women with moustaches, men with lisps... that would turn things around in a heartbeat.

Anonymous VD December 03, 2013 3:17 PM  

You would expect CNN to have the same ratings as Fox News since the public is divided equally red and blue. Maybe this is about the low information voter who happens to be Democrats.

Incorrect. CNN has to share its audience with PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC etc. Fox News has the right side of the political spectrum all to itself, which is why it is mostly faux-conservative. If I were starting a news channel, I would start one just to the right of Fox.

Anonymous Molon Rouge December 03, 2013 3:27 PM  

"Zucker—“rhymes with hooker,” he likes to say—"

More like rhymes with sucker. If your network continues to spew the liberal DNC line similar to MSNBC then why should we tune in? How about truth and nothing but the truth?

Anonymous Stickwick December 03, 2013 3:32 PM  

VD: CNN has to share its audience with PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC etc.

And even then, CNN lost over half its audience in just the last 12 months. I dunno much about TV, but that seems like a drastic drop. It'd be interesting to know why that happened, and whether those viewers went to the other left-leaning alphabet networks or somewhere else entirely.

If I were starting a news channel, I would start one just to the right of Fox.

Surprised no one's done this. Ron Paul started an online news channel, but it may be too far out there and not sensational / entertaining enough to draw people away from Fox.

Anonymous Daniel December 03, 2013 3:33 PM  

Technically, it is a recurring reality TV show about a company of body painters, and is itself an offshoot of their series about special-effects makeup artists called Face-Off

Oh! Thanks! That actually makes sense.

The extra bonus for me personally is that naked watersliding pirate gals are now technically science fiction, and they don't even have to wear those cumbersome Clarke belts anymore!

Blue SciFi - Foundation and Empire (Isaak Yudovich Ozimov)
Pink SyFy - Foundation and Lip Gloss (Maksymilian Faktorowicz)

Anonymous VD December 03, 2013 3:36 PM  

It'd be interesting to know why that happened, and whether those viewers went to the other left-leaning alphabet networks or somewhere else entirely.

My guess is less subjective Nielsen metrics. The diary-based extrapolations were always absurd.

Anonymous Josh December 03, 2013 3:36 PM  

If I were starting a news channel, I would start one just to the right of Fox.

Surprised no one's done this. Ron Paul started an online news channel, but it may be too far out there and not sensational / entertaining enough to draw people away from Fox.


I would think that most of the people to the right of Fox aren't getting their news from TV and don't plan to.

Anonymous shibes meadow December 03, 2013 3:40 PM  

"VNN...Voice of the Nation Network. More news... no Jews."

Anonymous dh December 03, 2013 3:40 PM  

After all, Murdoch himself is to my knowledge not even a conservative by the common American definition of the word. His political beliefs, whatever they may be, don't factor into what he knows must be on his networks across the world to attract the under-served audience and make money.

I tend to agree with this. Murdoch is above all a money making machine. Low-information conservatives were and are an under-served media market.

Although, FoxNews ratings are somewhat problematic. Despite saying it's all rosy, it's not all rosy. They don't get a huge bang for their buck. A slightly older, slightly more conservative base is not a great audience for selling ads.

Anonymous dh December 03, 2013 3:41 PM  

Josh, I am pretty sure it's still #1, 3 major networks, #2 - cable news (led by fox), #3 - talk/news radio, #4 - newspapers.

But all of that is overshadowed by.. Facebook.

Anonymous MendoScot December 03, 2013 3:41 PM  

Just the fiction, or TIA and RGD as well?

Anonymous Josh December 03, 2013 3:42 PM  

A slightly older, slightly more conservative base is not a great audience for selling ads.

It is for selling gold line, reverse mortgages, life alert, diabeetus supplies, and medicare supplement insurance.

Anonymous Anonymous December 03, 2013 3:42 PM  

The problem with CNN, MSNBC, and the alphabet news programs is not their leftist bias, it's their blackout on news stories that don't fit the agenda/template.

How does a "news" program expect to have an audience if they don't report news?

Anonymous VD December 03, 2013 3:44 PM  

Just the fiction, or TIA and RGD as well?

Ideally, all of it.

Anonymous Samuel Scott December 03, 2013 3:44 PM  

Josh December 03, 2013 1:13 PM

What CNN doesn't get is that the people who watch TV news are going to be more partisan than the general public.


Corrected version: What CNN doesn't get is that the people who watch cable TV news are going to be more partisan than the general public.

Fox News' constant trumpeting of the fact that they are the #1 cable news network is liking winning first place in the Special Olympics. You're still retarded.

Let me know when they have numbers even approaching the nightly "Big 3" broadcast news programs.

Anyone who gets their news primarily from any cable TV outlet -- from MSNBC to Fox News -- is going to be badly misinformed. In addition, TV as a whole can convey very little comprehensive information -- it's simply not possible as far as the nature of the medium. And Fox News will gradually lose viewers as the elderly die off.

There are far better places to get quality news than TV.

Anonymous Josh December 03, 2013 3:45 PM  

But all of that is overshadowed by.. Facebook.

And drudge. I would assume the majority of the to the right of fox crowd gets their news from drudge.

Anonymous Jimmy December 03, 2013 3:46 PM  

"CNN has to share its audience with PBS, ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC etc."

CNN is in competition with MSNBC and Fox News on a 24 hours basis. PBS, ABC, CBS, and NBS are only an issue on the evening broadcasts (30 minutes) and the morning daytime broadcasts (2 hours). Fox News ratings exceed that of both CNN and MSNBC at every broadcast.

My feeling is the liberals don't even believe in their own product. They instinctly know they are liars. They can't handle the truth.

It is no different when the liberals blame Rush Limbaugh for the low sales of electric cars. Rush might not care for electric vehicles, but his opinion has no sway with liberals and many conservatives. If every environmentally friendly liberal buys an electric car, sales would skyrocket. But sales remain stunted because few want them.

Anonymous Nathan December 03, 2013 3:47 PM  

"The problem with CNN, MSNBC, and the alphabet news programs is not their leftist bias, it's their blackout on news stories that don't fit the agenda/template."

Like if it happens east of SF and LA and west of DC and NYC...

Anonymous WaterBoy December 03, 2013 3:47 PM  

Stickwick: "whether those viewers went to the other left-leaning alphabet networks or somewhere else entirely"

The farthest-left probably went to The Daily Show. Still others have gone to Al Jazeera America.

Anonymous Samuel Scott December 03, 2013 3:50 PM  

dh,

A slightly older, slightly more conservative base is not a great audience for selling ads.

Actually, older people should be the primary demographic. Here are some observations from an old ad guy:

...who was responsibly for about half of all consumer spending

...who control over 70% of all the wealth in the country

...who dominate 94% of all CPG categories

...who buy almost 2/3's of all new cars

...who owned 57% of all second and vacation homes and all the stuff that goes with that

...who are far easier and cheaper to reach than other groups


The "target the young to establish lifetime brand loyalty" may be incorrect. After all, young people are broke and can't afford anything. Older people have all the money.

Anonymous VD December 03, 2013 3:52 PM  

They don't get a huge bang for their buck.

That's because the lefties running the ad campaigns don't want to spend the money there. It has relatively little to do with the audience. Their ratings are so much better that they get more younger viewers than any other channel at all times of the day except for CNN and MSNBC at prime time. (They get more at prime time, but that counts the older viewers.)

Anonymous Salt December 03, 2013 3:55 PM  

"After the perfect Barack Obama, who's a perfect physical specimen to many people's eyes, does it matter?" Morgan asked his guest. "Or is actually somebody very different, someone who's much more of a regular kind of guy who likes cheeseburgers and beer, but appears to be a straight talker, somebody perhaps more of a straight talker than it appears Barack Obama turned out to be?" - Piers Morgan

CNN. Well, there ya go. Buh Bye.

Anonymous Samuel Scott December 03, 2013 4:07 PM  

Moreover, cable news just infuriates me (as a former newspaper journalist years ago). It's all style over substance.

"News programming": Summarize events already reported by the AP or someone else. Then have two people shout at each other as "commentary" for five minutes. Repeat. Little to no original reporting.

Prime-time: Host repeats talking points from the left or right viewpoint of choice. Have guests to comment, 90% of whom agree with the host.

Fox News does it better than most largely because of its focus on attractive, thirty-something women paired with authoritative fifty-something men. Cameras: Include the bare legs of the women (in above-the-knee skirts) in shots whenever possible. It's a great way to appeal to the target demographic of older, conservative men.

And they're great at fear-mongering, which especially works with an older audience that is likely at various stages of mental impairment and/or going senile.

And as someone once put it (I forgot who), "Fox News is rich people telling middle-class people that poor people are the source of their problems."

Anonymous Anonymous December 03, 2013 4:09 PM  

"It will be amusing that in another year or two CNN will have less to do with the news and more to do with reality TV than SyFy has with science fiction"

Or the history channel with history. i used to joke that they should change their name to the Hitler channel. All Hitler, all the time. But at least Hitler was part of history. Now It's all bigfoot, aliens, and "reality" shows about ghosts.

--Hale

Anonymous Ralf Mouth December 03, 2013 4:10 PM  

They should look on the bright side, they've captured 75% of the angry lesbian and transgendered demographic.

Anonymous Anonymous December 03, 2013 4:12 PM  

And as someone once put it (I forgot who), "Fox News is rich people telling middle-class people that poor people are the source of their problems."

As opposed to all the other "news" channels being corporations run by rich people telling poor and middle class people that rich people/corporations are the source of all their problems.

--Hale

Anonymous Josh December 03, 2013 4:13 PM  

I think Hitler has migrated to either another history channel or one of the national geographic channels.

One of them was having a Hitler marathon last weekend.

Blogger JartStar December 03, 2013 4:18 PM  

Low-information conservatives were and are an under-served media market.

I suppose because they don't even want to be associated with them the media companies don't bother catering to conservatives, but they fight like wolves over a rabbit corpse for the millions upon millions of low-information liberals.

Anonymous Heh December 03, 2013 4:19 PM  

Or the history channel with history. i used to joke that they should change their name to the Hitler channel. All Hitler, all the time.

That's what made it actually worth watching!

Anonymous Samuel Scott December 03, 2013 4:19 PM  

newrebeluniv December 03, 2013 4:12 PM

And as someone once put it (I forgot who), "Fox News is rich people telling middle-class people that poor people are the source of their problems."


As opposed to all the other "news" channels being corporations run by rich people telling poor and middle class people that rich people/corporations are the source of all their problems.

My point on Fox News is correct. What you say that other "news" channels say is also correct.

I laugh when Fox News pundits always say that "tax cuts" will help to decrease unemployment when corporate profits are at all-time highs, real wages have been stagnant or fallen since the 1980s, if not the mid-1970s, and so on. The rich have gained while the middle class has remained stagnant or fallen. Just look at the skyrocketing levels of inequality.

The premise of tax cuts helping to encourage hiring is based on the premise that companies do not have enough money to hire. They do. The premise is flawed, as is the argument.

Still, the true driver of employment is demand. If a company makes baseballs, it will hire more people when more people want to buy (and can buy) baseballs. But no one can buy anything because no one has any money in part because of the falling real wages described above.

Blogger Outlaw X December 03, 2013 4:21 PM  

When I turn on the TV I hit 269 which is the History Chanel then hit guide and all my favorite channels are just below it. I never watch CNN,MSNBC or FOX. I can get my news off Drudge and pick the stories I want to read and don't have to listen to bloviators spewing a bunch of BS. I also spend my time looking at what Vox is interested that day and look through the Infowars site.
Sometimes I watch FBN. I also catch at least the weather on the local news, NBC or ABC as they have the best Weathermen here.

Crossfire started the current ncable news bloviators and people are getting tired of it I used to watch FOX cable news just to get my angry high. I wonder if others are feeling like me and stopped watching them all together?

Anonymous Samuel Scott December 03, 2013 4:26 PM  

Outlaw X December 03, 2013 4:21 PM

Crossfire started the current ncable news bloviators and people are getting tired of it I used to watch FOX cable news just to get my angry high. I wonder if others are feeling like me and stopped watching them all together?


I used to watch Fox News for my US news simply because it was the only American news channel on Israeli cable. But I stopped watching when I got so sick of the spin and outright distortions and factual lies and almost threw might remote at the screen while yelling curses in Hebrew. I'm now a marketer by trade, so when I get sick of spin, that's saying something.

Now, I just scan the Internet headlines each day just to follow what's going on in America in general.

Blogger Eric December 03, 2013 4:43 PM  

CNN is in competition with MSNBC and Fox News on a 24 hours basis. PBS, ABC, CBS, and NBS are only an issue on the evening broadcasts (30 minutes) and the morning daytime broadcasts (2 hours).

That's only partially true. Much of the prime time lineup on the left leaning networks caters to leftists. How many conservatives dropped what they were doing to watch The West Wing?

Anonymous Ferd December 03, 2013 4:54 PM  

The extra bonus for me personally is that naked watersliding pirate gals are now technically science fiction, and they don't even have to wear those cumbersome Clarke belts anymore!

Nope,
Pirate girls in those sloshie boots, with the wide belt low on the hips and a frothy feather in a wide pirate hat is much more flirty. Dontcha think?

Anonymous Jack Amok December 03, 2013 4:56 PM  

There are so many things Amazon is doing wrong re: publishing it astonishes me. It's as if they didn't talk to anybody in the industry before they designed their system.

Perhaps that whole not talking to anybody in the industry thing is why they're cleaning everyone else's clocks. I mean, juxtapose that with Vox's obervation about the serial carbon-copy failes of networks:

That's because the networks keep hiring from the other networks. If it worked at NBC, obviously it will work at PBS, right?

One of the truly idiotic things about cable TV (and this it shares with traditional publishing) is the uniformity of content. When cable really hit the big time with satellite systems and broadband wired isntallations, it was - well, diverse. You had channels devoted to music videos, history, news, cooking, DIY stuff, comedy, highbrow theater, old movies, new movies, science fiction movies, old TV shows, several different sports, outdoor shows, travel... But within ten years, it's almost all become various flavors of "reality TV" shows.

I haven't seen the actual data, but I would bet the networks doing the best are probably the ones that show old movies and old TV shows, because those are the ones that still cater to their niches while everybody else chases the same demographic. Meanwhile, podcasts (audio and video) are starting to fill the void...

Anonymous Samuel Scott December 03, 2013 5:07 PM  

Jack Amok December 03, 2013 4:56 PM

One of the truly idiotic things about cable TV (and this it shares with traditional publishing) is the uniformity of content. When cable really hit the big time with satellite systems and broadband wired isntallations, it was - well, diverse. You had channels devoted to music videos, history, news, cooking, DIY stuff, comedy, highbrow theater, old movies, new movies, science fiction movies, old TV shows, several different sports, outdoor shows, travel... But within ten years, it's almost all become various flavors of "reality TV" shows.


I blame the ever-increasing need for ever-increasing profit. Shareholders and analysts expect more and more profit every quarter. A channel in a specific niche may make a comfortable profit every quarter -- but, no, it's not increasing!

So, the only choice is to broaden the type of programming to increase the size of the audience and profits (from advertising). It ends up in a race to the bottom with everyone airing whatever reality TV crap will get the most eyeballs. And then you essentially don't have different channels -- you have different versions of the same channel.

Anonymous Josh December 03, 2013 5:29 PM  

Duck Dynasty also prison raping the competition shows what happens when you create a reality show that appeals to red state America.

Blogger Eric December 03, 2013 5:30 PM  

But within ten years, it's almost all become various flavors of "reality TV" shows.

It sucks, but it's not very surprising. The problem with the niche channels is even fans don't want to watch the same things all day. If you're aiming at a small audience and even they won't watch your channel consistently you're in big trouble. Were I in charge of the History Channel and the choice was between a WW II documentary everybody's already seen and a new reality show that could potentially have ten times the audience... well, you have to take the shareholders into consideration.

Anonymous Samuel Scott December 03, 2013 5:34 PM  

Josh December 03, 2013 5:29 PM

Duck Dynasty also prison raping the competition shows what happens when you create a reality show that appeals to red state America.


Also a great example of marketing. When you see pictures of the family from a few years before the show, they look like rich, clean-shaven yuppies. It's all about the crafted image.

"Duck Dynasty" is the KISS of TV. It's not really about the show (or music). It's all about the merchandising. A young family member of mine in America just bought "Duck Dynasty" bed sheets, pillowcases, and such.

/ enter the quotes from "Spaceballs" about merchandising

Anonymous WaterBoy December 03, 2013 5:36 PM  

Josh: "Duck Dynasty also prison raping the competition shows what happens when you create a reality show that appeals to red state America."

I thought that was already covered by Honey Boo-Boo?

Anonymous Josh December 03, 2013 5:40 PM  

I thought that was already covered by Honey Boo-Boo?

Um...no...

Anonymous Josh December 03, 2013 5:47 PM  

"Duck Dynasty" is the KISS of TV. It's not really about the show (or music). It's all about the merchandising. A young family member of mine in America just bought "Duck Dynasty" bed sheets, pillowcases, and such.

It's also the number rated show on TV this season. But yeah, they sell a ton of merchandiser.

Anonymous Shorr Khan December 03, 2013 5:48 PM  

I regularly review the new Kindle Store submissions in SF, and have noticed a marked increase in the number of ebooks published by female authors. A large number of these are simply thinly veiled romances rather than the hard SF I prefer, so I give them a pass. Unfortunately, it is taking me longer and longer to winnow the list every month.

Perhaps that is the strategy; flood the market to make finding worthwhile SF too difficult to find to be worth the trouble.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 03, 2013 5:51 PM  

The problem with the niche channels is even fans don't want to watch the same things all day.

Why do you need them all day? What's wrong with 4 or 5 hours a week from a viewer? You're saying nobody should open a sushi restaurant because even sushi fans don't want to eat it every meal, every day...

Were I in charge of the History Channel and the choice was between a WW II documentary everybody's already seen and a new reality show that could potentially have ten times the audience... well, you have to take the shareholders into consideration.

What kind of consideration is it to have their property commoditized? That's what you're doing by chasing the same rainbows as everybody else. You have no more brand distinction. Nobody cares about your network, you mean nothing to them, you're just the same as every other struggling dreck-wars network.

Differentiate.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 03, 2013 5:59 PM  

Unfortunately, it is taking me longer and longer to winnow the list every month.

Gee, maybe there's an opportunity for someone to create a hub of sorts where good blue-scifi titles could be easily located. If they were really smart, they might even center it on a game.

Anonymous Stilicho December 03, 2013 6:23 PM  

Let me know when they have numbers even approaching the nightly "Big 3" broadcast news programs.

What are the ratings for NBC, CBS, and ABC nightly news? What are the ratings for Fox News' top shows like O'Reilly and Hannity? Or the newscast with Shepard Smith? What are the gross numbers and the demographics of the audiences?

Blogger Eric December 03, 2013 6:25 PM  

What kind of consideration is it to have their property commoditized? That's what you're doing by chasing the same rainbows as everybody else. You have no more brand distinction.

While that's true, brand distinction has to pay off. If I can make more money as an also-ran reality show purveyor than a differentiated niche network I'm going to make reality shows. I'm assuming they've done this calculation and reality shows pencil out.

I keep hoping the era of the reality show will come to an end and they'll join bell bottoms and Air Supply as something nobody will admit to being associated with. But clearly we're not there yet.

Blogger Eric December 03, 2013 6:28 PM  

Why do you need them all day? What's wrong with 4 or 5 hours a week from a viewer? You're saying nobody should open a sushi restaurant because even sushi fans don't want to eat it every meal, every day...

If I'm only aiming for, say, 20% of the general audience they have to watch my network for more than 4-5 hours a week for me to be profitable. The whole business model is built around pulling in people who love history or science or fashion or whatever. Because if they're only going to watch for 4-5 hours they might watch NPR instead.

Blogger Bogey December 03, 2013 6:52 PM  

I only wish Amazon permitted authors to give away Kindle Select books on an ongoing basis.

Please explain how giving away books helps an author (nothing else to that question, not trying to be a dick or anything).

Blogger Bogey December 03, 2013 6:53 PM  

I only wish Amazon permitted authors to give away Kindle Select books on an ongoing basis.

Please explain how giving away books helps an author (nothing else to that question, not trying to be a dick or anything).

Anonymous AXCrom December 03, 2013 7:13 PM  

"Please explain how giving away books helps an author..."

How many times have you checked out a book at the library that you liked and then sought out other titles by the same author? An author giving away free books on Amazon these days is the equivalent of me discovering a new author from a book I checked out for free at the library and then going on to read/buy their other work. It's happened to me a number of times.

Anonymous VD December 03, 2013 7:24 PM  

Gee, maybe there's an opportunity for someone to create a hub of sorts where good blue-scifi titles could be easily located. If they were really smart, they might even center it on a game.

(laughs)

Please explain how giving away books helps an author

Some books are for selling, others are for building the core readership over the long term. I don't have the benefit of bookstore distribution or a publisher pushing my books on people, so I have to find other ways to reach potential new readers.

In the last 364 days, I've given away 21,612 books on Amazon and sold 4,461. Now, obviously only the books sold count in terms of revenue, but each of those 21,612 books potentially represents a new reader who will be willing to buy one of the books for sale.

Based on the difference between the books that are occasionally free and the books that are never free, and accounting for the fact that there are three books in the former category, (and we assume that each free reader grabs all three), I estimate that one out of every five free readers buys ATOB. That's a pretty good conversion rate.

So, for every five free readers, one more reader joins the core readership. That's why I wish Amazon would let me give them away more often.

Anonymous pdimov December 03, 2013 7:28 PM  

Samuel Scott: Still, the true driver of employment is demand. If a company makes baseballs, it will hire more people when more people want to buy (and can buy) baseballs.

Another true driver of unemployment is whether people are unemployable, that is, whether total cost of labor exceeds what said labor can produce. And total cost of labor can certainly be affected by taxes or regulations.

Blogger JCclimber December 03, 2013 7:42 PM  

Exactly. I'm no longer going to pony up some money to buy an unknown author's book.
Having even a short novella by that author first will let me know if they have any talent for telling a story. Then I can go spend my $$, and even more important, my time on seeking further reading material from that author.

Anonymous Jack Amok December 03, 2013 8:18 PM  

If I'm only aiming for, say, 20% of the general audience they have to watch my network for more than 4-5 hours a week for me to be profitable.

No, not at all. You just need people to like your product enough to pay you for it.

Possible the problem is you're assuming it has to follow the same advertising-based business model everybody else is using. The problem with advertising-supported products is they don't provide the producer a way to monetize depth of enjoyment. A product that 10 million people sort of like wins out over a product that 200k people absolutely love, because the people who love your product can't pay you more for it. Which pretty much explains most cable TV these days. American Idol vs Firefly.

If you just do what everyone else is doing, you're all going to lose money because there's no reason for anyone to pay any of you more than anyone else. Run away from that business fast...

Anonymous Jack Amok December 03, 2013 8:22 PM  

Still, the true driver of employment is demand

A bit too Keynesian for my taste. The driver of demand is product. Nobody can buy something that doesn't exist, and few people want to buy something that is crap. If you produce something people want, it's not terribly difficult to get them to give you money for it.

Producing something they want is the hard part.

Anonymous Ferd December 03, 2013 10:35 PM  

" Some books are for selling, others are for building the core readership over the long term."

Do any of your writings have bare-chested pirate girls in floppy boots?

Anonymous cheddarman December 03, 2013 10:59 PM  

I am on board with the blue sci fi authors. I used to devour sci-fi as a kid, then walked away from sci-fi as an adult because the pink sci-fi people took over the genre.

After reading "Watch on the Rhine" by Ringo and Kratman, I am reading scifi again. That book had some totally balsy ideas and i loved it, am buying copies of it for myself and friends. I look forward to reading Vox' stuff as well.

go team blue!!!

sincerely

cheddarman

Anonymous YIH December 04, 2013 2:52 AM  

Oddly enough, it was Vox's 'divorce' from WND that finally gave him the freedom to write about the truth and encouraged him to write actual fiction and even fully adopting the pseudonym 'Vox Day' as an author.

Anonymous The CronoLink December 04, 2013 6:39 AM  

"I wouldn't be surprised if we saw CNN-Zucker introduce a comedy about six friends of both sexes, (two Jewish), centered on a coffee shop in New York City, followed by another comedy starring a whiny Jewish comedian. In New York City."

Aw come on, Seinfield was pretty funny unlike that brain-killing dredge Friends.

Anonymous The CronoLink December 04, 2013 6:54 AM  

I really want to give it a shot at the translator gig, though I suppose it's much more than just being over 90% proficient at reading/understanding English. If anyone got any tips on this subject I'll be deeply grateful; in the meantime I'll research about it in the web while I wait for my hardcovers to arrive.

Anonymous 141 December 04, 2013 7:54 AM  

1. The CNN position(frame) is the mainstream position
2. The views on CNN aren't interesting or controversial to the majority
3. Therefore, the majority doesn't give a fuck.
4. Or, in other words, everybody who gives a fuck about politics prefers websites with comment sections, except for the fuckgivers who don't use the internet. I'd imagine this would be old people.

Blogger James Dixon December 04, 2013 9:02 AM  

> Seinfield was pretty funny

Perhaps if taken in small doses. That wasn't the way he was served.

Anonymous Anonymous December 04, 2013 9:08 AM  

I'm no longer going to pony up some money to buy an unknown author's book.

Yep. It's no longer 1987, and I'm standing in Waldenbooks (the only bookstore in town then) with $20 burning a hole in my pocket, trying to decide what to buy based solely on the cover art and back-page blurbs. There is so much legitimately free entertainment out there today, in all formats, that it makes no sense to take a chance on something unknown.

Many retailers let you try out their products for free in a sense, by having a money-back guarantee. You have to put the money down, but if you're not happy with the product, it's easy to get your money back. You can't do that with electronic products because you can't make them give their copy back (though you can if the copy is hosted on your site somehow and never downloaded, which is why they're trying to move that direction). So it makes sense to give people a free taste in another way, like giving them a novella or the first book in a series.

Anonymous The CronoLink December 04, 2013 1:40 PM  

"Perhaps if taken in small doses. That wasn't the way he was served."

Fair enough.

Blogger abcdefgh December 04, 2013 5:37 PM  

And even then, CNN lost over half its audience in just the last 12 months. I dunno much about TV, but that seems like a drastic drop. It'd be interesting to know why that happened...

It might have been skewed by the latest female murderer bumping up their ratings then jumping off a cliff once the trial ended. I'd like to see the last 12 months broken down by month.

Anonymous Obvious December 04, 2013 9:45 PM  

"What Fox has done to CNN is exactly what Larry, Mike, Tom, Sara, and me are going to do to the world of Pink SF."

The best part is that you really believe that.

Blogger Tommy Hass December 05, 2013 5:47 AM  

Why do people complain when somebody mentions the fact that Jews pretty much control the media?

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