More NewsClueless Is as Clueless Does

Clueless Is as Clueless Does

Big Media may have new Internet strategies, but Dana believes they're about as funny as Elmer Fudd singing Bruce Springsteen. Find out why they're still as Clueless as ever.

I’m constantly entertained by the Internet strategies of Big Media companies. They’re always good for a laugh.

The complete, utter Cluelessness of it all is what gets to me. You just know they craft these things around big tables, using spreadsheets, moving assumptions and properties around the Big Board, thinking they’re in “Fail Safe” when it’s really “Dr. Strangelove.” It’s as funny as Elmer Fudd singing Springsteen.

In the past, we’ve seen them dismiss the Net, spin off the Net, claim domination over the Net, and seek to turn the Net into newspapers, magazines, TV, and vertically integrated AOL-like empires. All of these strategies failed because they don’t understand the first thing about the Net, namely that it’s primarily an interactive medium, and in order to take you first must give, then engage in free give-and-take. In other words, you win time by letting people talk, by encouraging fans, and by listening.

Listening is a skill they’ll never master.

Anyway, the latest Big Media plot is to go back to the beginning, to integrate everything and treat the Internet as just another channel for content created elsewhere. This lets them claim the content is free and makes the numbers look better.

Along the way, a ton of people have been let go at Major Media Web sites. But now they’re ready to “build” again. And last week Disney showed how it would build, buying 50 percent of US (an entertainment weekly owned by Rolling Stone founder Jan Wenner) in order to take it online.

Disney’s Fearless Leader, Michael Eisner, who claims to speak for the Mouse but whose changing strategies make him seem more like Donald Duck, insisted “this time for sure.” The exact quote was “We have content and technology, and now we have to find a way to drive it home.”

The key word here is “ownership,” as in controlling everything related to a copyright so people can be forced into Clueless content related to that property. Thus AOL’s Warner Brothers is busy trying to do to Harry Potter what Viacom’s Paramount did five years ago to “Star Trek.” It’s closing down fan sites to guarantee exclusivity and in the process angering fans that will then kill a fine franchise. (Seen any new “Star Trek” shows announced lately?)

I know — that trick never works. And what’s amazing is that there are plenty of successful examples out there of media property owners who “get it” and realize that the key to integrating online and offline media is to channel the fans, not make them angry. Yet all we get from Big Media are lawyers and financial game players, still — and it’s been nearly seven years since the Web was spun.

The only conclusion is the tautology “Stupid is as Stupid does.” That should make all you potential Internet entrepreneurs smile as you go to sleep tonight.

Related Articles

GDPR: The role of technology in data compliance

Data & Analytics GDPR: The role of technology in data compliance

3w Clark Boyd
What companies can learn from the We-Vibe lawsuit about the Internet of Things

Legal & Regulatory What companies can learn from the We-Vibe lawsuit about the Internet of Things

8m Al Roberts
Has advertising arrived on Google Home?

Media Has advertising arrived on Google Home?

8m Al Roberts
Is Twitter slowly dying?

More News Is Twitter slowly dying?

9m Al Roberts
FedEx launches fulfillment service to take on Amazon

Ecommerce FedEx launches fulfillment service to take on Amazon

9m Al Roberts
Target is the top retail digital marketer, so why is it struggling?

Ecommerce Target is the top retail digital marketer, so why is it struggling?

8m Al Roberts
YouTube is "on pace to eclipse TV" thanks to savvy algorithm use

More News YouTube is "on pace to eclipse TV" thanks to savvy algorithm use

9m Al Roberts
YouTube is getting rid of 30-second unskippable pre-roll ads

Ad Industry Metrics YouTube is getting rid of 30-second unskippable pre-roll ads

9m Al Roberts