Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Media Anxiety High In Aftermath of Bush Bubble

Media companies are facing a grim world of layoffs in the aftermath of the popping of the Bush bubble. Books, movies and television shows criticizing the Bush administration were a steady growth industry for the past eight years, leading to a classic cycle of overinvestment until the bottom fell out of the market with the election of Barack Obama. Until then, many liberal critics were secretly holding out hope that a McCain-Palin victory would provide the needed injection of material to keep the market afloat or at least provide a soft landing. Instead, it looks like broad layoffs are certain as the industry retools to survive in a less “target-rich” environment. The fallout will fall unevenly on different media sectors. The movie making industry will likely survive the best – although the last eight years saw a succession of movies aimed at the Iraq war and Bush policies, beginning with “Farenheit 911” and ending with “W”, most did poorly at the box office and thus did not lead to a frenzy of speculative investment. Publishing will be harder hit – Amazon currently lists over 4,000 titles related to George W. Bush, over 90% critical (if you are interested in the few favorable ones, such as “The Faith of George W. Bush”, you’re in luck – you can pick up used copies on Amazon for $0.01 plus shipping). “The Obama-hating books have not done well,” said literary agent Bob Morris. “I think their audience does most of their reading on the Internet.” Uncertainty is especially high for TV shows that have thrived in Bush World, such as The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, and Real Time with Bill Maher, all of which saw ratings skyrocket in the run-up to the campaign. According to one media analyst, “These shows were the Hummers of television comedy – when material was as cheap as it was from 2000-2008, they could afford to flaunt their size and power but we are looking at a much changed world. The price of good material is already going through the roof and I am not sure they can remake themselves as lean, green shows.” Some writers and producers seem resistant to accepting this changed reality even today, however. Agents are pitching a new show for the spring season of MSNBC called “Didn’t Bush Suck?”

No comments: