August 02, 2023

A Telling Statement

I frequently referenced this website to find out how many people were watching Pickleball on ESPN or CBS ... a month ago they announced that they were finished (click here).
One of the statements is absolutely telling.
  • "As everyone is aware, the bottom has dropped out of linear viewership, and the ratings have had increasingly less utility.  (Last Thursday’s cable ratings in the 18-49 demo included 25 shows clustered between 0.09-0.12, basically molecules of difference.)  The balance of home viewing, for better or worse, has swung toward streaming, and the proprietors of those companies have chosen to be opaque with their information, providing data that’s incomplete and unverified when it’s available at all.  That very lack of transparency is one of the key issues in the ongoing Writers Guild strike.  Meanwhile, scrutiny of linear numbers is becoming a preoccupation akin to documenting angels on the head of a pin."

For the first nine years of my consulting work, catalog brands represented more than half of my business. Now a quarter to half of those companies are no longer in business! As I shifted my content toward merchandise and forecasting/budgeting and customer development, I lost "some" readers from the catalog world ... "content no longer relevant" was the reason they gave.

Meanwhile, an industry leader penned a piece saying that even when the customer throws out a catalog there is value because the customer had to look at a catalog to throw it out. Sort of like there is value in a dollar because you have to look at the dollar as you light it on fire.

There are amazing competitive differences out there right now. There are brands I'm working with who have ten million dollars to spend and want to know how much money they lose paired with how many customers they generate so that the business looks ripe to an investor in a few years. This kind of stuff has always happened, but wowzer, what a difference from a catalog brand looking to cut back on catalog spend by 50% because they can't get paper and the paper they can get is terribly expensive and response is declining anyway and the customers buying are age 65+. I mean, it's two completely opposite worlds. It's like the two different worlds in the quote above.

Toss in subscription-based business models (it's a key way to overcome the tepid 25% annual rebuy rate e-commerce businesses suffer with), and we realize just how much the word changed. Yeah. Completely different than a decade ago. I mean, last weekend CBS showed Pickleball at a time when an affiliate might have broadcast a scripted show a decade ago. A completely different world.

It's time for you, a Leader in my industry, to respond to this different world. You've got this! You have so many choices, so many ways to be successful.


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