Sunday, December 29, 2013

Pick your Ducks and Prevent a Row

I think that I’ve become too jaded or too indifferent to get my dander up regarding Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. It was a safe assumption that A&E would reinstate him and that they would of course be back on the show as soon as the free advertising frenzy resulted in more name recognition and paraphernalia purchases than they could have imagined in their wildest fantasies. It is an interesting opportunity to watch for the pundits throughout the political spectrum venting everything from their own pro or anti-gay points without even noticing that the demographic for the show was so limited that it was a complete waste of time for the multiple demographic groups that, honestly, never would have gone anywhere near Duck Dynasty without provocation. It’s doubtful that there would have even be incentive to (unlike Sarah Palin) do something really radical—like actually reading Robertson’s GQ Interview before chiming in on what they think was allegedly said in it.


Overall, the general sluggishness of the broadcast, cable, and on-line news audiences provided an extremely generous holiday gift to broadcasters and news desks throughout the U.S. They were up a creek with the President and congress out of town for the remainder of 2013. It’s hard enough to come up with much material during the holidays from contract journalists who are all stuck with revitalizing more old news outside of the month old discussions on the Affordable Care Act or being reduced to actually covering multiple conflicts in Syria, Sudan and/or even the U.S. figuring out whether to finally tell Afghan President Hamid Karzai that it’s been real and to consider us gone.
While all of these thoughts are circling around me, my ultimate confusion comes when I try to determine why there is so little strategic thinking taking place to address circumstances like Duck Dynasty. General Electric (owner of A&E) has no incentive to do anything other than enjoy the free publicity resulting from the alleged controversy. On the other hand, News Corporation, Time Warner, Disney, CBS and/or Viacom should be more useful to their investors by counter-programming and reaching a different niche market in the same time slot as Duck Dynasty rather than giving them more curious onlookers. A narrow group of Duck Dynasty beneficiaries will always promote their investments. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) knows that the state of Louisiana is making quite a bit of money off of Duck Dynasty—so much money, in fact, that he can even overlook his own singing and happy African-American constituents. So, perhaps the competing cable corporations would do better for their own audiences, advertisers and stockholders by simply aligning competing demographics and taking more active steps to compete on the actual battlefield of ratings and advertising revenues rather than repeatedly reenacting a war that (at least theoretically) ended in 1865.