Let’s take a moment here to talk about ‘the media’ and the business of art (yes writing is an art and journalism and such can fall into that category).
Some art businesses are funded by advertising revenues (news sites), other are funded by donations (think twitch.tv streamers), and others (like myself) are funded by both advertising and patrons.
As you know, some of the advertisements shown by media companies are political in nature.
Literally hundreds of millions of dollars are expected to be raked in by large media companies this year (2016). Tribune Media alone expects to make $200 million. Political advertisements are a nice big juicy cash cow for ad-supported media companies.
Now, I personally block political advertisements from being shown on my websites… Companies like CBS however…
Speaking at a Morgan Stanley conference in February, CBS Chief Executive Officer Leslie Moonves said of Donald Trump’s presidential run: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.”
Moonves’ comment has since been cited by political pundits as proof that the media has been boosting Trump. At the Vanity Fair New Establishment conference on Wednesday, Moonves was asked what he thinks about the comment in light of how the presidential race has progressed.
“It was a joke! It was a joke!” Moonves said. “Then Marco Rubio put me on a flyer and said this is why the media is supporting Donald Trump. Obviously, Trump is saying something very different today.”
Moonves said that the comment needed to be put into proper context. His answer was in response to a question about local political ad spending, not TV ratings.
Yeah… so… local spending is the same side of the coin… it financially benefits CBS to have sensationalist content… As you’re well aware, Donald Trump is absolutely providing sensationalist content for CBS.
How does sensationalist content benefit CBS though?
Well sensationalist content leads to better ratings… which leads to increased advertising revenue… which again is the only thing that matters to a company like CBS. They need those ratings. A presidential candidate calling a black man a thug and saying he’ll build a wall provides great soundbites and gets you those ratings.
There is no fundamental difference in Moonves clarification.
Update (11/3/2016) – CBS Beats Earnings Expectations… Who could’ve guessed…
CBS said Thursday that it earned an adjusted $1.05 per share in the most recent quarter, up from 88 cents a year ago and seven cents more per share than Wall Street had anticipated, and some of the credit goes to political advertising.
As for political advertising, Moonves said he has seen “spending like we’ve never seen before,” though mostly for down-ballot issues and candidates rather than ads for presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.
That said, spending for this presidential election cycle is up a whopping 74 percent compared to four years ago when Barack Obama beat Mitt Romney.
Politics is great for business.
If you’re a media company that is.
Everybody else though… well we all have to suffer in an eternal hell of nonstop bullsquirt spewing from the mouths of politicians and the news don’t we.