You sure hit the nail on the head and predicted this would happen since the precedent was set with Fox’s firing of Bill O’Reilly. Whether karma has anything to do with it, I’m not sure, but it is a scary thought: Advertisers dictating content. Where karma may play a role is that no network is immune any longer. The ones that cheered on Fox’s problem are not dealing with their own advertiser problems. But I don’t think this is all as bad as it seems on the surface.
In marketing, TV has always been the best choice for reaching a wider demographic market. However, the rest of technology has made it possible to reach your exact target market, instead of shotgun marketing to everyone. When advertisers reach their direct market, it lowers their cost of customer acquisition. What I’m getting to here is that TV advertising isn’t as affective as it used to be for a lot of corporations, and it’s certainly still the most expensive. So when we discuss these new trends in advertising, I feel we need to take this into account as well.
Some advertisers may just feel they are not reaching enough of their direct market. A good example of this is Megyn Kelly’s Sunday Night. If I were an advertiser, I would have pulled my ads off her show last week after seeing her huge fail of an interview with Vladimir Putin. Putin, who should have gotten his own one-hour special with Kelly, instead cut his interview to a few minutes, after getting pissed off at Kelly’s idiotic questions. She failed so badly that I’m shocked she wasn’t fired for being an idiot. You’re 100 percent correct: Kelly and her staff just don’t seem to get it at all. Those advertisers that were on the fence after Putin’s interview likely decided to pull the plug after hearing about the Alex Jones interview coming up. But is that because of Alex Jones being a nut job? Or, is it because of Megyn Kelly? I’d guess it’s maybe a little of both.
I saw the Shakespeare in the Park video on Facebook yesterday. If I were a sponsor or advertiser, I would have done the same thing and pulled my support. That’s not dictating content — that’s just choosing to not support something in such bad taste. Who suffers? The rest of the festival suffers. I can’t even fathom the bad choice the festival organizers made when allowing that play into the festival. There’s free speech and just horribly bad decisions, and this debacle is all about horribly bad decisions. It wasn’t too long ago you’d have been jailed or beheaded for staging a play like that. Trump or no Trump, it’s just not right and in horrible taste.
So taking all those factors into account, it’s impossible to say whether or not we are in a new era where corporations censor content. To a certain degree, this has always been the way things were done. Advertisers picked the shows their ads would appear on, and those shows reached the demographics of their customer. If the show no longer reached the demographics they wanted or the cost of customer acquisition was too high, they pulled their ads. Shows that don’t attract advertisers get cancelled, and people get fired. This is reality, and reality will always happen. But it doesn’t make the thought of corporations dictating what we see, hear, and take in from media any less scary.
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