Author Topic: Media Thread  (Read 2677 times)

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Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #15 on: September 05, 2017, 10:36:24 AM »
The journalists also get to write about whatever they want (within reason) at whatever length and that, from a creative aspect, is attractive. They also don't have to tweet/blog/video for clicks/ad impressions if they don't want to.

This is one of the things I wonder. For guys like Lebrun and Rosenthal, who also have TV gigs, I wonder if a certain level of editorial freedom maybe might sell them on a gig that doesn't pay all that well to a traditional media gig. Especially if, like I said, they have supplemental income.
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Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #16 on: September 05, 2017, 10:39:38 AM »
The other day their co-founder said that 100,000 subs was the goal by the end of the year.

Sure and we could parse that to argue whether it means they're close to that number or they aren't. But the key for a new venture isn't hitting a particular number it's then retaining that subscriber base.
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Offline Peter D.

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #17 on: September 05, 2017, 10:45:20 AM »
All are fair points.  But it does also make me wonder why such a business setup wasn't thought of long ago.

It'll be interesting to see what comes of it.  I'm actually surprised they would have such a big subscription base considering how adverse people are to paying for content.  With that being said, I'm not a subscriber and I don't foresee myself becoming one either.   

Offline Zee

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #18 on: September 05, 2017, 10:50:06 AM »
All are fair points.  But it does also make me wonder why such a business setup wasn't thought of long ago.

It'll be interesting to see what comes of it.  I'm actually surprised they would have such a big subscription base considering how adverse people are to paying for content.  With that being said, I'm not a subscriber and I don't foresee myself becoming one either.   

I've tried it out for this year.  They have some good articles, but then there's so much information on the web for free that I don't know if I can justify the cost for me.  It doesn't hurt that they launched just as the Leafs are getting good again, as I'm sure a huge chunk of their base is Toronto fans.  Not sure if they'll last but it'll be interesting to see that's for sure.

Offline Zee

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #19 on: September 05, 2017, 10:54:50 AM »
One more thing, will Howard Berger find a home on the Athletic?  ;)

Online herman

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #20 on: September 05, 2017, 10:58:07 AM »
All are fair points.  But it does also make me wonder why such a business setup wasn't thought of long ago.

It'll be interesting to see what comes of it.  I'm actually surprised they would have such a big subscription base considering how adverse people are to paying for content.  With that being said, I'm not a subscriber and I don't foresee myself becoming one either.   

It's all in the timing.

Newspapers are contracting as they scramble to adjust to the digital era and cutting their sports departments. The blogosphere has reached saturation as the type of writing the good ones were doing have started to be noticed on a mainstream level (Sportsnet, newspapers, and even actual teams hiring out of that pool), demonstrating that there is an appetite for sports analysis beyond game recaps. The mobile hardware and app market has reached a maturity to the point where that's how most people are consuming content these days.

As for paying, I think people don't mind paying a nominal amount for what they deem to be good content in an ad and hassle-free environment (see Netflix). The target demographic is a post-Napster generation.

If you get a chance to check out the comments in The Athletic, the level of engagement there is quite a bit above the reddits/blogs/newspapers/youtube communities (that subscription threshold really helps weed out the chaff).

Offline Coco-puffs

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #21 on: September 05, 2017, 11:01:39 AM »
All are fair points.  But it does also make me wonder why such a business setup wasn't thought of long ago.

It'll be interesting to see what comes of it.  I'm actually surprised they would have such a big subscription base considering how adverse people are to paying for content.  With that being said, I'm not a subscriber and I don't foresee myself becoming one either.   

I've tried it out for this year.  They have some good articles, but then there's so much information on the web for free that I don't know if I can justify the cost for me.  It doesn't hurt that they launched just as the Leafs are getting good again, as I'm sure a huge chunk of their base is Toronto fans.  Not sure if they'll last but it'll be interesting to see that's for sure.

I guess everyone is in a different financial position than I, but for me the free information on the web is subpar compared to the quality of the content I am reading there, and thus it justifies the cost to me.  Plus, no clickbait, no auto-play videos, no ads. 

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2017, 11:07:37 AM »
As for paying, I think people don't mind paying a nominal amount for what they deem to be good content in an ad and hassle-free environment (see Netflix). The target demographic is a post-Napster generation.

The problem with that comparison, or alternately that it's apt in a way you don't acknowledge is that,  A) Netflix is 20 billion dollars in debt and B) It's becoming clearer that Netflix's survival headed into the future is largely based on having exclusive content. As good as I'm sure the Athletic is, there's still lots of free places to get analysis. As subjectively good as some of the Athletic writers are, how good would Netflix be doing if, for free, you could get a show that was effectively 90% of what Daredevil or Narcos or The Crown was?

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Offline Peter D.

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2017, 11:15:58 AM »
I guess everyone is in a different financial position than I, but for me the free information on the web is subpar compared to the quality of the content I am reading there, and thus it justifies the cost to me.  Plus, no clickbait, no auto-play videos, no ads.

I suppose the irony in this for me is that a bunch of these writers were previously with outlets that provide free content (or at least you can get around it to get such free content). 

Online herman

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2017, 11:23:27 AM »
The problem with that comparison, or alternately that it's apt in a way you don't acknowledge is that,  A) Netflix is 20 billion dollars in debt and B) It's becoming clearer that Netflix's survival headed into the future is largely based on having exclusive content.

I wasn't so much sidestepping the Netflix debt as I was just simply forgetting about it :) It's a very fair point about the longevity of a subscription model (that all major software platforms have shifted to).

As subjectively good as some of the Athletic writers are, how good would Netflix be doing if, for free, you could get a show that was effectively 90% of what Daredevil or Narcos or The Crown was?

That's an interesting question that I don't have a full answer to at the moment. TV is an interesting beast and Netflix's prime competitor is outright piracy. I don't think The Athletic really has a true competitor at the moment with ESPN and Yahoo! and other sports-specific properties hemorrhaging.

What I can say is that the Athletic content I was consuming for free (at the time) was definitely a cut above what other resources I could find, insofar as Leafs coverage went, and there isn't such a large piracy market for paywalled written content. And similar to the Apple-effect, whatever people might feel about Apple products, I don't think I can deny the trickle-down effect it has on the rest of the market when their competition feels driven to up their game (or copy); I think The Athletic is driving the sports analysis conversation in a positive direction.

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2017, 11:39:35 AM »
I wasn't so much sidestepping the Netflix debt as I was just simply forgetting about it :) It's a very fair point about the longevity of a subscription model (that all major software platforms have shifted to).

Well, to Sportsify it up, in some ways what's happening to Netflix mirrors what happened to the Oakland A's. They built a great deal of success by capitalizing on an undervalued commodity(in Netflix's case, the streaming rights to major studios/networks libraries) but are now faced with the reality that their success means those commodities may now be overvalued and somehow have to pivot to another thing. Netflix, now, effectively wants to be a standalone HBO. Can that work? Sure, but there are only so many Game of Thrones to go around.

To some extent the Athletic is like that. There may very well be a market for people who really want to read about whether or not Second Baseman X's throwing angle on turning double-plays leads to a higher conversion rate than Second Baseman Y's and good for them. But could it survive a competitor? Or could it's success handle some of their own staff being hired away?

That's an interesting question that I don't have a full answer to at the moment. TV is an interesting beast and Netflix's prime competitor is outright piracy. I don't think The Athletic really has a true competitor at the moment with ESPN and Yahoo! and other sports-specific properties hemorrhaging.

ESPN isn't doing incredibly well financially right now(to tie all this in, largely because of people cord-cutting for streaming but also because of TV rights bubbles bursting) but they're still competitors. They still have good writers writing good things about sports and sports folks. I just read an excellent Aaron Rodgers profile over there. They still have The Undefeated which, while marginalized, at the very least makes me feel less like it's a paean to people screaming "Stick to Sprots!" while the world burns.

Toss in Deadspin, The Ringer, Yahoo and so on and there's more competition out there for analysis and such than you're making it seem.
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Offline Coco-puffs

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2017, 11:42:49 AM »
I guess everyone is in a different financial position than I, but for me the free information on the web is subpar compared to the quality of the content I am reading there, and thus it justifies the cost to me.  Plus, no clickbait, no auto-play videos, no ads.

I suppose the irony in this for me is that a bunch of these writers were previously with outlets that provide free content (or at least you can get around it to get such free content).

I'm not sure I see the irony. 
a)  Most of them lost their jobs because those outlets providing free content could no longer afford to pay them.  ie, Revenue problem. 
b)  In a lot of cases, these writers were also constrained by the limitations on newspaper writing (deadlines for print, word count limits, etc) or free-content websites (ie, need to drive the clicks to generate ad revenue). 

These writers, almost all of them, have said in their "why I'm joining the athletic" articles that it was time to try a new model (subscriber revenue vs ad revenue) and its exciting to them that they don't have the above mentioned limitations on their writing. 

Online herman

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2017, 11:45:36 AM »
Toss in Deadspin, The Ringer, Yahoo and so on and there's more competition out there for analysis and such than you're making it seem.

Just to clarify, I wasn't trying to understate these other options; they're just actual blindspots I have because I haven't really dug for sports content that hard beyond Leafs coverage.

Offline Nik the Trik

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2017, 11:51:38 AM »
Just to clarify, I wasn't trying to understate these other options; they're just actual blindspots I have because I haven't really dug for sports content that hard beyond Leafs coverage.

Fair enough. And to be clear, that's something I can't really speak to as I've never been the market for day to day beat coverage.
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Online herman

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2017, 12:02:10 PM »
Fair enough. And to be clear, that's something I can't really speak to as I've never been the market for day to day beat coverage.

It basically comes down to tastes, which, for me, the Athletic is fulfilling: deep beats, analytics dives, video/play structure breakdowns, and sprinkled with behind-the-curtain peeks at management/players. They get the press access that the other (free) blogs I follow don't always get firsthand, and the freedom to actually write about it.

Some of those other outlets have that access, but the focus is different (still interesting, but not something I'd pursue outright), and thus live on my periphery.

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Re: Media Thread
« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2017, 12:02:10 PM »