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The magic beans at the end of the internet rainbow

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The magic beans at the end of the internet rainbow

Yesterday we touched on the GB News plan for its new channel: rent the news, own the analysis.

The FT piece referenced also had some rather sniffy remarks about the commercial model. “Strikingly old-school: free-to-air, ad funded television,” it reported.

What nonsense is this? Expecting someone, somewhere, to pay for your product? This will never catch on.

That free-to-air model is the same as ITV and the paper version of the Evening Standard. You get it for free, we sell your eyeballs to big advertisers. (The product is you, in other words.)

Today, ITV predicted a 90% ad boom in June alone, suggesting there may be life in this tired old business model after all.

Some went so far as to proclaim a coming Summer of Love.

What is pleasing about the GB News model, if the FT has it right, is that it is not going down the route of imagining there is money to be made for anyone but Google by chasing clicks on Google ads.

That method is the equivalent, in fact it is almost exactly the same, as hiring a monkey to go in search of the magic beans at the end of the internet rainbow**.

(The Google ad that appears most frequently next to my work is for a miracle medicine that will cleanse your bowels in minutes. It’s fine. I’m not offended.)

I keep hearing from broadcast and newspaper hacks that their employers are cutting back on the core product to get more Magic Beans folk.

A description of their work from an internet expert: “Google robots write algorithms to order the information on the net. Publishers hire humans to chase the robots. Guess who wins?”

The monkeys are running after the internet rainbow, in defiance of the facts their organisations are supposed to be good at discerning.

Maybe I have this all wrong. Do tell.

**Spoiler alert: this plan will never ever work ever.

Press release of the day

The ONS published a report on Coronavirus and depression in adults this morning.

There are quotes on that from Dr Marianne Trent of Good Thinking Psychological Services, here.

Does this sort of stuff merit discussion in the business pages? Pre-pandemic, you would have said no.

Staff being depressed is clearly a business issue though, so why not?


Rent the news, own the analysis

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