The sad truth about today's (and tomorrow's) mass media

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by smkspy, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. smkspy

    smkspy is one nice fucking kitty

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    Apologies in advance for the topic's subject matter. Unlike most articles about the poor girl, this one finally gets down to the truth of today's media industry and offers something besides the standard trash article.

    http://www.cnn.com/2008/SHOWBIZ/Music/01/29/thebritney.economy.ap/index.html

    updated 12:04 p.m. EST, Tue January 29, 2008

    (AP) -- In the days after the Britney Spears soap opera rode a police-escorted gurney to its apex, celeb-mag sales spiked, traffic jammed gossip Web sites, tabloid TV ratings rose and paparazzi photo prices surged.


    Britney Spears generates enough interest -- and money -- to keep a whole industry afloat.

    more photos » For a growing number of people and businesses, Britney's saga is about money: Every time she sinks to new lows, cash flows. And these days, no one is above the fray.

    When a custody dispute devolved into a three-hour standoff at Spears' home January 3, police officers and firefighters were pressed into duty. Television stations sent up helicopters, and cable news anchors reported the unfolding drama in real time. The Associated Press had two reporters working the story, with editors on both coasts updating it seven times throughout the night.

    Spears is just one of many stars driving the growing multibillion-dollar celebrity news industry. But the Spears story in particular, with a new twist nearly every week, has become a very profitable sub-sector unto itself. Gallery: When Spears lost it »

    "Britney is the most bankable celebrity out there right now, and she has been for the past year," said Francois Navarre, founder of the paparazzi agency X17.

    Spears became a can't-miss tabloid topic after filing for divorce from second husband Kevin Federline in November 2006. Since then, she's been in and out of rehab, shaved her head, revealed a bit too much above the hemline, was arrested after a traffic accident, and lost custody of her kids (and later her visitation rights). Watch the latest on Spears' troubles »

    "The product for the tabloid industry is the unusual, and Britney has been delivering that consistently," said Dan Smith, dean of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

    At a time when advertising spending in traditional media is declining, celebrity gossip titles such as Star, Us Weekly and In Touch Weekly are growing. That helped overall newsstand sales for magazines edge 1 percent higher, to $2.39 billion, in the first half of 2007.

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    "The increase is almost entirely attributable to the growth of the celebrity magazine," said John Harrington, who runs industry consulting agency Harrington Associates.

    Any time a magazine can boost newsstand sales past its average, the revenue is booked nearly entirely as profit, Harrington said: "People prints 2.5 million copies and sells about an average of 1.5 million. If they have an issue that sells 2 million, the extra half million goes to the bottom line."

    People, which takes a broader and less sensational look at the entertainment industry, dominates the sector in circulation, but that hasn't stopped such new titles as In Touch and Life & Style Weekly from elbowing in. Another newcomer, the U.S. version of Britain's OK!, has taken particular interest in Spears, putting her picture on the cover 54 times in the 103 issues since January 2006.

    "An editor's dream is to have a real-life soap opera unraveling in front of you, and Britney provides that every week," said Sarah Ivens, OK!'s U.S. editor. The magazine has a 10-person team in Los Angeles devoted to Spears coverage. "We're on constant Britney alert."

    She wouldn't disclose the costs to the magazine, saying only that Spears has been "amazing" for OK!'s business. Publisher Tom Morrisy said Spears drives newsstand sales and helped the magazine's ad revenue more than double to $51 million in 2007. OK! expects to turn a profit in 2008, three years after breaking into the market.

    US Weekly has been just as enamored of the star, putting Spears on nearly two-thirds of its covers last year, including each of the last 14. People has had Spears on the cover 10 times in the past 15 months.

    And that heightened demand for Spears pictures has been a boon to photographers.

    X17's Navarre said an exclusive shot of the star would sell for about $10,000 in the U.S. and generate thousands more in residuals. "She's the most expensive right now," he said. "For Angelina, for example, you divide by two or even three to get the price."

    In contrast, the average celebrity shot fetches $125 to $700, according to Scott Mc Kiernan, founder of ZUMA Press photo agency. He said residual fees on exclusives can push the value of a unique Spears shot well past $100,000.

    Many of those images wind up on celebrity gossip Web sites, like TMZ and PerezHilton. The sites make money by delivering viewers to ads on their pages, typically receiving a fee for each 1,000 hits. Navarre said Spears boosts traffic to his Web site, X17online.com, more than any other star.

    "During the ambulance incident, traffic doubled every hour," he said, citing internal server data.

    X17, which owns the infamous picture of a bald Spears taken in February, has a team of photographers tracking her at all times. "For us, she's the star No. 1," Navarre said.

    Television ratings show that a major Spears incident attracts viewers to each of the main entertainment news TV shows, too.

    "All of us sustained a major ratings spike" when Spears was taken to the hospital two weeks ago, said Charles Lachman, executive producer of Inside Edition. "It happens every time with her."

    It's more difficult to assess the economic gain for TV shows because they sell ads weeks in advance, with rates based on average expected ratings. If the show fails to deliver, it has to reimburse the advertiser, but there is no such compensation if ratings exceed expectations.

    Suffice it to say that advertisers love the extra attention. "Anything that boosts ratings is a win-win for everyone," said Shari Anne Brill, an analyst with ad buyer Carat USA.

    On the flipside, the Spears story isn't making money for everyone. There are costs involved, too. For instance, the increased scrutiny puts a burden on Los Angeles civil service units, which have to keep Spears safe and public spaces uncluttered.

    The L.A. Police Department wouldn't estimate the extra costs Spears generates. Her ambulance incident last week was handled by officers already on duty. The fire department said it was considering charging Spears for the ambulance ride, but did not disclose how much.

    Spears' numerous court appearances -- for custody hearings, divorce proceedings and a civil case -- have more measurable effects. Richard Barrantes, chief of court services division of the LA County Sheriff's Department, said when Spears and Federline were in court on October 26, his office billed the court $2286.10 to cover the cost of extra security at the courthouse.

    The star's behavior may be eroding her own brand, as well. Spears remains among the most-recognized celebrities, along with Johnny Depp and Will Smith, according to Marketing Evaluations, the company that developed the "Q Score." But she is not well-liked. Her negative Q Score is at 66 -- only Federline has a lower one among all celebrities -- meaning two-thirds of people who know who she is give her a "fair" or "poor" rating. The average for female performers is 30.

    Spears, who used to pitch for Pepsi but no longer fronts for any mainstream products, gets most of her income from music sales, augmented by several perfume lines and other side projects. Elizabeth Arden, Spears' partner in the perfume business, introduced a third Spears scent, "Believe," last fall.

    So far, Spears' antics don't appear to have hurt personal earnings, which, according to court papers released in November, are roughly $737,000 per month.

    "A good actor or musician can get away with some pretty bizarre stuff offstage as long as they keep delivering the goods in their focal profession," Smith said.

    Spears seems to have done that, winning critical acclaim for "Blackout," her first studio album in four years. The record hit No. 1 on the charts last fall, although it faded quickly. Its headline single, "Gimme More," topped out at No. 3 on the Billboard 100.

    Now that she's back in focus for offstage drama, her music is an afterthought. And at some point, most industry experts agree, the public will grow tired of the Spears story.


    That doesn't mean the economy that sprouted around her will wilt.

    "If it's not Britney, then it'll be Lindsay or Paris or some other person we haven't heard of yet," Smith said. E-mail to a friend

    Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
     
  2. EvaUnit13

    EvaUnit13 REBUILD

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    Wow, I'm actually on Chris Crocker's side
     
  3. funkatron101

    funkatron101 TFW2005 Supporter

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    I read the first paragraph, found out it was about Spears, and lost interest.
     
  4. Draven

    Draven Banned

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    I'd be on its side, if it didn't annoy the hell out of me the second it opened its mouth.
     
  5. Dinobot Nuva

    Dinobot Nuva Johnny 3 Tears Veteran

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    Eh people (i.e. adults) just like to bitch about the future. I saw some news anchors discussing the fact that teenagers can get their afternoon entertainment from a couple hours on youtube now compared to television. All this "rah blah blah you can't do that, you have to have some real drama and action, etc. in your entertainment!".
    Fuck that noise.
    So what if I find a bunch of 3 minute videos more entertaining than a sitcom or a drama or an action type show.
    Celebrities will ALWAYS be cash cows, b/c there's ALWAYS some people who just give a crap about what they're doing. IMO, the media industry is just f'ing retarded, but there's still some good stuff they put out. Its just like any other industry, you have your crap and you have your high end stuff.
    DN
     
  6. TheIncredibleHulk

    TheIncredibleHulk Find Gary Busey!

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    Power Rangers suck!!


    Oh wait, wrong thread :lol 

    I get more news from Stewart and Colbert.
     
  7. kronos

    kronos PSN = KRONOSX1

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    you watch Martha Stewart too?




    :confused2 
     
  8. Deceptikitty

    Deceptikitty all about the hasubandos

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    The news has just become a joke. People say The Daily Show and the Colbert Report aren't real news - and yet have you ever sat down to watch something like The Today Show? Half the crap they cover isn't even relevant - including the tabloid stuff. I get my news from a lot of sources, but when parody news is more informative than one of the most viewed news shows you know there's something wrong.
     
  9. Lance Halberd

    Lance Halberd oh hai

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    I believe the "it" is a "he".
     
  10. Dark_Convoy

    Dark_Convoy Old Bastard Veteran

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    Leave Britney Alone!!1!
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
  11. DarkDranzer

    DarkDranzer Well-Known Member

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    So celebraties aren't considered human but money making items according to the paparazzi and media?

    Yeah, now I'm on Chris Crocker's side...if only he ranted in a less annoying, more logical way but I guess you can't get everything in life.
     
  12. Deceptikitty

    Deceptikitty all about the hasubandos

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    [​IMG]

    You know you'd hit it.
     
  13. a person

    a person Is not amused.

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    But would you?
     
  14. Deceptikitty

    Deceptikitty all about the hasubandos

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    Nah, the whole dressing up like a chick thing is kind of a turn off.
     
  15. cagliostro

    cagliostro Victi Vincimus

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    Sure-with a Shovel
     
  16. lars573

    lars573 Well-Known Member

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    I'd have to be very intoxicated.
     
  17. Team Jetfire

    Team Jetfire Pop-POP!

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    i think that issue is that the media follow these stars around, but I think the stars tip off the media as to where they will be..they are victims of the own fame seeking selves.

    there are many stars that never spend time in the spotlight cause they don't want to be part of that scene.
     
  18. Otispq

    Otispq Elocution Onymous

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    It seems that the amount of research it would take to create such a posting is in itself proof that all that media coverage works, cuz smkspy seems to be paying too much attention to it...I couldn't read more than the first little bit and quickly skim some more, too much info to believe that you really hate the topic.
     
  19. jorod74

    jorod74 Psycholagnist (Ret.)

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    me, i want "hard" news, like straight political reporting -as in our newspaper prints each week the votes in the state legislature and how each person voted, and how our reps voted in D.C. and little else- and basicall the happenings around town.
    Entertainment news for me is merely the release dates for movies or announcements of movies that got greenlighted.
    do i care that madonna spends 10 grand a month on bottled kabballah water? no. should anyone else? no.

    my biggest peeve with the tabloid news monster is what i see on tv. example:
    Britney buys puppy, then kills it.
    some reporter from TMZ is asked by another reporter, "was this a surprise?" and the TMZ reporter acts like f-ing Nostradamus- "No, Cindy, i knew all along, i saw the warning signs. i was in her bedroom last week, and when i saw the Chocolate Soda stains on her pillow, it told me a pet would die."
    the hubris. hate it. hate it all.
     
  20. Lord Megatron

    Lord Megatron FFFF

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    I should make a tabloid about me. See if it sells.
     

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