The Ongoing Decline in Media/Entertainment Revenues

Chris Anderson’s Long Tail looks at the ongoing decline — is meltdown too strong a word? (Probably not) — in the mainstream entertainment/media:




All the relatively new competition has whittled down any single media’s former dominance:

TV: used to have 3 channels, now there are 1000s; of course viewership is down;
Internet sources of information, data, news, and entertainment is stealing readers from newspapers and magazines;
Satellite, P2P, and iPods are cannibalizing Radio

Is it any wonder that the pie keeps getting sliced increasingly thinner? And that’s before we address the issue of a general decreased quality (though there are exceptions) brought about through profit maximimizing moves.

As we noted in Attack of the Blogs Informed Citizens, anytime a vacuum in a any media format developes — or even a "quality void" forms — the internet seems ready to rush in to fill it . . .

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  1. Zach commented on Nov 8

    Do you think that the newspaper decline is a similiar phenomenon to the Radio decline? With all local papers being bought up by chains and losing some of their local appeal?

  2. Patrick (G) commented on Nov 8

    Given that Entertainment is a luxury (in the economic sense) enjoyed by a broad base of the American public; a flat or downward trend doesn’t necessarily indicate that the Entertainment Industry is ill-serving its customers worse than usual.

    It could just be that the consumer part of our economy has been flat/trending downward no matter how the GDP/LEI/BLS/etc. numbers are tweaked or spun.

  3. lord moranosa commented on Nov 8

    let’s cut away from soft peddling using numbers and stats that curbs away from the source of what’s going on…

    the downward trends are reflecting a changing of the proverbial guard. the mainstays are being deeply challenged because content of their offered programming has become has-beened.

    why would any intelligent individual, regardless of age or economic/social status wants to waste their time listening to ‘classic rock’ format..?

    this leads to my second thought – could all of these downward trend reveal to us that, my goddess, we all don’t need to think alike to be a collective culture…? that after years of being sold shit packaged as gold and frankencise that many of us are sitting down, using the basic technology of our personal home computer, and talking with others about what matters…?

    to wit – why sit around a television screen and be bored with the shit selection when you could sit down in front of your personal home computer, perhaps use your webcam, and scour the internet for that ‘hook-up’, via online or offline ‘real time’ meeting…? current ‘theories’ can no longer be applied to situations that unfold in the 21st century because those ‘theories’ have become outgrown, and quite useless. sure, the diehards will sit and argue this and that, and recite every possible theory from every possible book but a funny thing seems to be going on:

    those in the true know don’t really care about ‘theories’. these individuals have chosen to live on their terms, and couldn’t give two kisses to what dr. phil tells us, or what oprah has to tell us. the ‘experts’ have always been too gun-shy to leave their sacred tall and strong fortresses of rhetoric. but with the internet, the information becomes wonderously overwhelming, breaking down content into two categories:

    a) content that challlenges those
    b) content that scares the shit out of others….

    welcome, to very interesting times….

  4. fred c. dobbs commented on Nov 8

    Patrick: Consumer spending on recreation has been growing faster than the economy for many many years, going from 7.6% of spending in 1990 to 8.6% in 2002 (most recent data). But there are now many many more choices for consumers, especially with so much entertainment available for free (marginal cost) online and on TV. No surprise that each sector would show declining revenues even as the total pie gets bigger.

    Lord: Classic rock ROCKS!!

  5. skoobz commented on Nov 9

    watching you now on Kudlow…step out of the 70s man and get a new haircut. Jeezus.

  6. Barry Ritholtz commented on Nov 10

    LOL — The Remote Studio has no makeup person, no hairdresser, no anything. You sit in a closet (literally) sweating under 3 klieg lites with no AC . . . Its never pretty.

    From the cab thought the rain in to the building, elevator to the office into the studio — elapsed time, 2 minutes. Get Mik’d up, and sit and wait in front of a camera for a 14 minutes — trying not to sweat, drinking water, and eventually having to pee.

    Oh, and then geting grilled live by Kudlow over everything from markets to productivity improvements to election outcomes to rioting in France

    And all you can do is notice the hair? Your priorities are skewed, man.

  7. Skoobz commented on Nov 10


    just busting your balls. you’re a trooper. i know it’s tough work, i’d probably have to take a shot in order to have as composed as you. love your site, it’s a good one.

  8. Jim Rockford commented on Nov 10

    Lord — supposedly the Beverly Hillbillies drew in 60 million viewers during the late sixties when the population was a lot smaller. Highest rated shows now (Lost, CSI Original Recipe) draw 22-24 million tops. I would suggest that there is a lot of economic value in entertainment that has broad and mass appeal.

    The continued fracturing of the audience and ever smaller slices of pie tend to leave large segments of the audience with nothing. Leaving potential profits on the table. If I owned stock in Warner or another media company I’d be concerned.

    The perception is Mass audience = bad, low quality and that is not always so. The ultimate destiny without mass market appeal is for every broadcast, cable channel, theatrical/DVD release to be the equivalent of the free weekly alternative newspaper selling escort services ads and appealing to a few tragically hip scenesters.

    Toyota certainly made good products selling mass market cars that are good.

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