Those who can – do. Those who can’t – are jealous.

(With a nod and an apology to H.L. Mencken.)

I, like many people I know (none of them journalists), *love* HBO’s The Newsroom.  It seems many people I don’t know like the show as well, judging by the growth in viewership since its debut and the show’s pick up for a second season.  According to HBO’s parent company, Time Warner, the show averages 7 million viewers per episode as compared to its bona fide hit Game of Thrones, which averaged 11 million.  Yeah, that’s a real big difference…(not).

So now one Mr. Tim Goodman, TV critic extraordinaire for The Hollywood Reporter, has decided to offer advice on how Aaron Sorkin – the show’s highly respected creator and winner of Oscars and Emmys for work that includes A Few Good Men, The American President, The West Wing, Sports Night, The Social Network and Moneyball – should deal with ten difficult questions he may be subjected to by the nation’s TV critics today as part of the Television Critics Association summer press tour.  Not a big surprise that the critics don’t like this show – they all work for news organizations of a sort, and while The Newsroom may represent some utopian idea of how a news operation should work, it still makes them all look bad.

Here are Mr. Goodman’s sage words for Mr. Sorkin.  My advice to Mr. Goodman is to get a real job that doesn’t involve pissing on the undeniable talent of others for the hell of it.

 

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Olympic Athletes, Rock Stars, and the Challenges of Sponsorship

I know – been a long time.  Happy to be back.  Promise to be more prolific.  On to the news…

Interesting quandary, this IOC Rule 40.  It’s part of the IOC’s Social Media, Blogging and Internet Guidelines, which you can download here.  Rule 40 is designed to protect the interests of the official Olympic event sponsors by precluding any athlete from allowing their name, picture or performance to be used for advertising purposes except as permitted by the IOC.  Were it not , however, for the athletes’ personal sponsors and the support those companies have provided over the years, many athletes – like those from the US and other nations that receive no federal support – would not be able to compete in the games.  Last time I checked, no athletes, no games.  Ad Age has a good piece on the topic.

Compare this to musical artists with tour sponsors.  Or more accurately, rock stars, since they are the only artists that can typically attract corporate sponsorship.  The venues they play, which are generally large because that’s how rock stars roll, also have sponsors since that’s the only way they can make money – the rock stars often take +/-100% of the gate, leaving the venue with over-priced beer, parking, and sponsorship as their only sources of revenue.  Since both sides typically guarantee sponsors category exclusivity, sometimes they conflict.  Only in this case, it’s the artist that usually wins.  No rock star, no show.

So what’s the upshot here?  As our collective media consumption continues to fragment, as engaging audiences becomes more and more difficult across multiple, often simultaneous screens, as social media and our nearly obsessive propensity to share transmits massive amounts of news and info around the world in the time it takes to press “send,” aligning with a sporting event or a rock star that captures the world’s imagination may seem like a good bet – a way to simplify a complex challenge.  It can be.  But nothing is that simple.  Just make sure you’re laying the right bets.