Phillip Stutts, chief executive of Win BIG Media, has predicted a “slow, then sudden” death for the traditional news industry if outlets continue to push out content that goes against their audience’s interests.
“People want freedom of choice. When you take away their freedom of choice by dictating what they have to hear, what they have to see. When you’re only serving one side — there’s a destructive pattern,” he said. told Fox News Digital.
Stutts, who has contributed to more than 1,545 electoral victories, including three presidential wins through political marketing, said the business of politics has many similarities to the media industry. He likened several high-profile news organizations to political campaigns that lost the general election because they continued to cater only to their base — only to their most hardcore subscribers.
“They grossly underestimated what the market was. They thought that what people wanted was a massive niche,” Stutts said.
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Warner Bros. Discovery’s CNN laid off hundreds of employees earlier this month, ranging from high-profile talent to rank and file. The Washington Post announced that it will lay off staff in the first quarter of 2023. Newspaper giant Gannett recently laid off about 6 percent of its news staff, and NPR has imposed a near-total hiring freeze, ending its summer internship program in the process.
Stutts specifically pointed to the Post ending production of its Sunday paper as an example of how people can pick and choose the content, creators, editorialists and topics they want, rather than drowning themselves in content they find uninteresting .
“People don’t want mass news. They want news from people they believe in and trust, and they don’t want bullshit anymore. That’s the pattern,” he said.
Through his seasoned founding of corporate marketing agency Win BIG Media and political marketing firm Go BIG Media, Stutts asserts that declining media companies are suffering because the policies they promote have half their clients in an economy when people need to contribute disagree. Make smart decisions with their money. This misalignment with client needs is a “fundamental flaw” common to many ailing institutions, including higher education and the tech industry.
Like the media and entertainment industry, both higher education and technology are facing financial difficulties.
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According to CNBC, the number of undergraduates enrolled in colleges nationwide is down 9.4 percent compared with two years ago. Many schools are in financial distress and some have had to close entirely. Four times as many universities have been forced to close in the past decade than in the previous decade.
Meanwhile, the tech industry, hotly sought after by college graduates for its abundance of available and well-paying jobs just a few years ago, has seen massive hiring freezes and layoffs over the past year. Since the start of 2022, nearly 1,000 technology companies have laid off more than 150,000 skilled workers.
“They just run out there with arrogance and let their employees decide what their customers want. That’s a huge problem. That’s why these companies are going to beat themselves up,” Stutts said. “It’s suicide. It’s business suicide.”
He predicts that startups like Bari Weiss’s The Free Press, and independent journalists like her and Matt Taibbi, will continue to see growth as they appeal to readers on the left, right and center. But these smaller businesses could grow into fledgling media empires, perpetuating the cycle of media giants. Stutts compares the shift to the decline of the cable TV package model and the rise of streaming subscriptions, which are now packaged together and cost as much as previous TV packages.
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“Over time, they’re growing into mass media. So, what you’re seeing is the destruction of old patterns, the rebirth of the seed, the individual, that will grow into a bigger flower or a bigger ecosystem, and then become a Mass media. It’s just a cycle,” he added.
“They are being replaced by people who no longer consider them credible.”
Some networks, like CNN, said they would reposition and try to cater to more Americans. It will be interesting to see what happens next year, and whether the networks change their business models, or whether the current PR talk is just a “gimmick” to keep people subscribed, Stutt said.
“There’s a massive adjustment going on right now,” he added.
Stutts has written two books on business marketing and management, “The Undefeated Marketing System” and “Fire ’em Now.”
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