Contributor Post Created with Sketch. The Cruel Marketplace

 

The great thing about a marketplace is, it always tells you when you’re missing the mark.

Ricochet, for instance: we know we’re providing a useful and valuable service, but we also know we need to do better. Our customers — you — tell us that. When we launched the new site, memberships plummeted. When we got our act together, they picked up steam. We’re now growing about as fast as we were before the Great Migration.

Or, take some of our larger colleagues in the media galaxy. CNN, for instance. They and their resolutely progressive counterpart, MSNBC, keep fighting it out for second place among the cable news outlets. From the Hollywood Reporter:

The cable news ratings seesaw for No. 2 has been in MSNBC’s favor for some time, but not in July. CNN reclaimed runner-up status to Fox News Channel for the month by most key measures.

What’s most disconcerting for MSNBC might be its total day average among the news demo of adults 25-54. Dropping 33 percent from July 2013, it actually ranked below HLN by 16,000 viewers for No. 4 status.

Number one, of course, is Fox News. I didn’t have to tell you that.

But it’s interesting to note that CNN and MSNBC duke it out for distant second. CNN, which used to be the market leader, is essentially a dead property. Why? Well, we know why, don’t we? It’s unmitigated drumbeat of left-wing orthodoxy and progressive pro-Democrat propaganda. The market doesn’t dig it, and the market is speaking.

Okay, let’s look at another powerful media property. From the Financial Times, via the economics blog Zero Hedge:

A fall in advertising sales and stepped-up investment in digital products sapped second-quarter profit at the New York Times as the publisher forecast flat circulation revenue and further declines in advertising in the coming months.

Net income of $9.2m, or 6 cents a share, was down 54 per cent from $20.1m, or 13 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted operating profit, which strips out some one-time items including retirement costs and depreciation, fell 21 per cent to $55.7m.

A trio of digital offerings – the NYT Now app, targeted at mobile users, a standalone opinion app and a higher-priced premium subscription service – helped lift circulation revenues in the quarter. But the company said subscriber growth for its website and core mobile app had flagged, and said it needed to do a better job of marketing its offerings to the right audiences.

The right audiences? Is that a Freudian slip? Because the Times does an excellent job of appealing to the “correct audiences. But it leaves the audiences on the Right in the cold. Perhaps that explains the declines?

Here’s the cruel and effective way the blog illustrates the Times’ decline — revenue from the moment it hired economist Paul Krugman:

NYT revenue_0

Okay, so where’s the good news? Right here: our friends at the Washington Free Beacon have an announcement to make:

Happy news: The Washington Free Beacon is taking its talents to the free market.

Since its launch in February 2012, the Free Beacon has been a project of the Center for American Freedom, a nonprofit that has graciously supported our reporters, editors, and contributors. But we have large ambitions. And in order for the Free Beacon to grow, for it to take its rightful place alongside the New York Times and the Washington Post, it must become a newspaper like any other—online in our case, but making its way in the private sector, funded by investors, sustained by advertisers, and seeking out elusive Mexican oligarchs.

We’re therefore pleased to report that the Free Beacon is now a privately owned, for-profit enterprise.

I say, good for them. Here at Ricochet, we’ll be cheering them from the sidelines, as fellow toilers in the free marketplace. This part, we’re here to tell them, is going to be hard:

As we enter the private sector, we will make sure that incorporating advertising into the website does not become a nuisance to our readers. Indeed, we won’t do anything to distract from the journalism our readers have come to expect, such as our exclusive reporting on Hillary Clinton’s successful defense of a child rapist. This new model should allow us to expand our reporting. It should allow us to better serve the cause of freedom.

But not impossible. Welcome to the playing field, friends. Go get ’em. And when you do, if you want a place for a civil, spirited, smart conversation about it with a lot of passionate and informed center/right troublemakers, come back here.

But you have to be a member. No freebies. This is a business, after all.

There are 20 comments.

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  1. genferei Member
    genferei Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Ever notice how successful sales organisations emphasize the benefits of the product to the customer, rather than how much better off a sale will make the selling organisation?

    • #1
    • August 4, 2014, at 3:14 PM PDT
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  2. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    … before the Great Migration.

    Is that what that was?…. /must…refrain…from…snarky…renaming…

    And in order for the Free Beacon to grow, for it to take its rightful place alongside the New York Times and the Washington Post, it must become a newspaper like any other

    They’re shooting a little low, don’t you think? 

    Is Peter still bolstering NYT’s profits, such as they are?

    • #2
    • August 4, 2014, at 3:41 PM PDT
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  3. Rob Long Founder
    Rob Long

    Please forgive the autocorrect typo — it’s rather than the correct its. I’m doing this on the phone, and it’s one of the drawbacks of its operating system.

    • #3
    • August 4, 2014, at 3:41 PM PDT
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  4. Instugator Thatcher
    Instugator Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rob Long:

    Please forgive the autocorrect typo — it’s rather than the correct its. I’m doing this on the phone, and it’s one of the drawbacks of its operating system.

     An iPhone no doubt; my Android device has its act together. Via voice to text even.

    • #4
    • August 4, 2014, at 3:52 PM PDT
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  5. Profile Photo Member

    posting here with an iPad/iPhone is torture. the site is anti apple. Not sure if it’s intended or not, but I will be surprised if many people who don’t live at a computer re up anymore.

    • #5
    • August 4, 2014, at 5:02 PM PDT
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  6. KC Mulville Inactive

    Rob Long:

    Please forgive the autocorrect typo — it’s rather than the correct its. I’m doing this on the phone, and it’s one of the drawbacks of its operating system.

     Well as long as you’re not texting

    • #6
    • August 4, 2014, at 5:23 PM PDT
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  7. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher
    Bryan G. Stephens Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thanks Rob. You make good points. Go beacon. 

    Now, if the people listening to the Podcasts would just join!

    And if people like me would just go Thatcher!

    • #7
    • August 4, 2014, at 6:00 PM PDT
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  8. Ford Penney Inactive

    As an aside to Rob’s comments about why other media fail, if anyone is interested, go back and listen to the ‘original’ Ricochet podcasts, before the web site, with Rob, Peter and the inestimable Mark Steyn. (I hope they are still available)

    Those original podcasts are wonderfully pithy, piquant, funny, far reaching and didn’t hold back, especially Mark, on the failures and foibles of politics and politicians, hacks, the hosts travels, travails of the world and sometimes music.

    The podcasts spoke pointedly and without equivocation that there were people ‘out there’ with principles and positions that weren’t being addressed and Ricochet was going to be their ‘place’, and their voices shouldn’t have to be pc to be heard.

    If the ‘other’ media outlets don’t get it then they can continue to live in their bubble but the marketplace will ‘decide’ the winners and losers.

    Those original Ricochet podcasts were my first association with any group with my values and attitude and I listened faithfully every week. So let the NYT be, they fail a little more everyday, what does that tell the Ricochetti?

    • #8
    • August 4, 2014, at 6:07 PM PDT
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  9. Concretevol Thatcher

    Eric Warren:

    posting here with an iPad/iPhone is torture. the site is anti apple. Not sure if it’s intended or not, but I will be surprised if many people who don’t live at a computer re up anymore.

     Another reason to love Ricochet….It’s anti-apple! (instead of ditching the site, ditch the little hipster phone and go android!) :-)

    • #9
    • August 4, 2014, at 6:54 PM PDT
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  10. Concretevol Thatcher

    Rob, don’t forget about the Free Beacon’s ground breaking reporting on HRC’s advanced age and feebleness. That led to many entertaining tweets about making the Whitehouse handicap accessible if she were to win. hehe

    • #10
    • August 4, 2014, at 7:00 PM PDT
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  11. Profile Photo Member

    Concreteval, your prejudice is charming. I am not a hipster. I chose the better platform. Having started programming on multiple platforms in the seventies, I didn’t choose based on style. I also know it’s not the device. It’s the site. 

    If Rob and company want to widen their customer base, they need to support the most popular platforms of the public at large rather than those of people with writing talent. Then, make the site more appealing to a larger demographic than writers.

    • #11
    • August 4, 2014, at 7:22 PM PDT
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  12. Rick B Member

    “The right audiences? Is that a Freudian slip?” More like a Krugean slip, I think. By declaring itself to such a sliver of political thought, and no philosophy, the Grey Lady is entering itself in its own tomb.

    • #12
    • August 4, 2014, at 8:36 PM PDT
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  13. Stephen Hall Inactive

    Nobody here really gets it … the public is just not worthy of the NYT.

    • #13
    • August 4, 2014, at 10:01 PM PDT
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  14. Stephen Hall Inactive

    At the risk of sounding like the Grand Duke of the Habsburg Empire Restoration League, I still miss Ricochet v 1.

    • #14
    • August 4, 2014, at 10:06 PM PDT
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  15. Arahant Member

    Stephen Hall:

    At the risk of sounding like the Grand Duke of the Habsburg Empire Restoration League, I still miss Ricochet v 1.

    The Habsburgs used the term “Archduke.”

    • #15
    • August 4, 2014, at 10:49 PM PDT
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  16. Concretevol Thatcher

    Eric Warren:

    Concreteval, your prejudice is charming. I am not a hipster. I chose the better platform. Having started programming on multiple platforms in the seventies, I didn’t choose based on style. I also know it’s not the device. It’s the site.

    If Rob and company want to widen their customer base, they need to support the most popular platforms of the public at large rather than those of people with writing talent. Then, make the site more appealing to a larger demographic than writers.

     Eric, my teasing is in good fun. I am confident you aren’t merely an Apple trend follower spending the night in line to get their newest product. I agree that the site shouldn’t make it difficult to use one of the most popular platforms out there. I’m sure it’s not intentional since that seems to be Rob’s tool of choice also.

    • #16
    • August 5, 2014, at 3:10 AM PDT
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  17. Hank Rhody, Badgeless Bandito Contributor

    I am depressed to find out the New York Times is still making any money at all.

    • #17
    • August 5, 2014, at 7:38 AM PDT
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  18. Stad Thatcher

    Rob Long: Net income of $9.2m, or 6 cents a share, was down 54 per cent from $20.1m, or 13 cents a share, a year ago.

     When it gets down to 1 cent per share, I say Ricochet should buy the N.Y. Times!

    • #18
    • August 5, 2014, at 1:58 PM PDT
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  19. Plato's Retweet Inactive

    (Duplicate post deleted)

    • #19
    • August 5, 2014, at 5:52 PM PDT
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  20. Plato's Retweet Inactive

    Like Obamacare, the technical debacle that was, and still is, Ricochet 2.0 masks the need for a more fundamental overhaul.

    Rob, if you were hands-on in charge of Ricochet’s editorial content, I suspect it would be funnier, less judgmental, and more accessible to a smart, savvy mass audience.

    After all, Murdoch built Fox not just on “Fair & Balanced” editors and the wise elder Krauthammer, but also on working the tabloid beat as hard as they work the Pentagon, plus countless lip-glossed beauty queens, and a tone and pace set for “moving right along with the Factor.”

    Frankly, you need some editors who read The New York Post in the morning, and have never heard of First Things (hawked on your blog roll.)

    A little market research with prospective and former customers might help. Maybe they’ll suggest tabbed departments: Business, International, Law, Science, Men & Women, Quick Quips, Weird News, Film, TV, Books, and NSFW images. Oh, and be sure include Religion (right next to Necrology) so that the faith community can find it, and not expect it everywhere else.

    Your monthly fee is half the price of HBO now. Earn it. Show them you mean Business.

    • #20
    • August 5, 2014, at 5:58 PM PDT
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