The Dangers of Bifurcating Your Business
The only reason Pfizer would buy out the entire “ABC’s World News Tonight” production is if demographics showed that the core audience was made up of a huge percentage of smokers—neurotic people happily making themselves sicker.
My bet is that if you innocently ask the typical TV network news viewer, “How are you,” the answer will result in a tedious 25-minute inventory of ills, pains, adverse reactions to drugs and descriptions of recent doctor visits.
Do any other network programs have worse demographics than the evening news?
Curiously, in 2006 Charles Gibson whined to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Gail Shister about the ads on his news program. “When you put on ads mostly for medicines, you’re saying, ‘We want an older audience.’ I would like ads that say, ‘We have a younger audience here.’”
Shister’s retort, “Not likely, Charles.”
Katie Couric told New York Magazine’s Joe Hagan that she hoped her audience was made up of “people who are interested in the world and want to stay connected.” Then Couric added:
But truth be told, I don’t know if those people are in front of the television at 6:30 at night. I hope those that are will find our program compelling, but I don’t quite have them in my mind’s eye.
Now you know who they are, Katie.
Take a good look at your disappearing audience. You, Charlie Gibson and Brian Williams are not the problems.
It’s the bifurcated model you’ve been saddled with. The two halves of your business don’t communicate and, in fact, have contempt for each other.
You’re in a lose-lose situation.