Software Nerd

Friday, May 12, 2006

Crazy like a FOX

Recently, Murdoch was in the news because he hosted a fund-raiser for Hillary Clinton. As the owner of ultra-Republican Fox-News, this was obviously interesting. Here's a fictional NewsCorp paper explaining what's going on...
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Title: The Next Big Opportunity in Cable News

Strengths: Our biggest strength is our perception as being the premier channel for pro-right news. When we entered this business, the majors were speaking with a general left-of-center intellectual voice. No major media company catered to the vast and increasingly discontented mass of viewers on the right. We have had tremendous success in identifying our brand squarely with this segment.

Fair & Balanced: It is critical that we continue to stress that we're "fair and balanced", and it is critical that we defend ourselves against attacks of partisanship. A large majority or our customers do not consider themselves partisan. They consider themselves independent even if they have voted for the same party in every election. They do not want spin ["no spin zone"]. They want the truth, but they want it analyzed within the context of a value-system that closely matches their own. People who are left-of-center will always think we're unfair. However, these are not our customers. It is critical that we never be seen as unfair by our customers.

Competitive Response: The competitive response has been weak. In summary, instead of adding clarity to their own brands, our competitors have diluted those brands by trying to adopt some elements from us. The result is this: while our brand is still "the right wing brand", theirs is less of a "left wing brand" than they used to be.

Apart from the mistaken idea that they can protect their share by adopting a less left-of-center approach, some of our competitors may also have genuine doubts about their own objectivity. Viewing their business through a idealistic, non-business lens, they think it is their job to really be balanced in their commentary.

Threats: The internet and print media have numerous left-of-center sources. The last few years has seen a move into radio-talk as well. The untapped arena is TV news. There is huge vacuum in the "mainstream-but-avowedly-left-of-center" position in the market. The biggest threat to our competitors can come from this area. The first entrant who can build a credible brand on the slightly-left-but-mainstream position that mirrors the one that we have staked out on the right can take large audience from the ill-defined brands. Such an entrant would be less of a threat to us than to our competitors. On the other hand, they could be somewhat threatening by painting us as more right-wing that we wish to appear.

Opportunity: The attached document outlines a radical plan whereby NewsCorp fills the void and creates a second brand that takes the second large segment away from our competitors. This will shock those who think that we are wedded to the right. However, as this plan describes, if done right the two brands can be kept completely separate. If the same set of shareholders can own "Qdoba" and "Jack in the Box", why can't the same set of shareholders own a right-leaning and left-leaning network. Indeed, this reinforces our appeal to each group -- our appeal of "fair and balanced". Taking the left-of-center position also insures against a possible leftward swing after 8-years of Republican administration.

Summary: We've profited by creating a segment of news that is fair but "right-of-center" in interpretation. No challenger has done the same on the left, even though the market is large. There is no reason why NewsCorp cannot own a distinct brand that takes over that customer segment.
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Caveat: The above is fiction

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