For Sale — Our Society’s Biggest Asset: You

Food for thought as National Geographic
continues to sell advertising “partnerships” like this one.

  • Calico Jack

    One of my heroes, former FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson said this in the 60s (wish I could find the quote). Speaking of commercial broadcasting he said the programs are not the product, the audience is the product.

    • Nicholas Johnson was right.

      But here’s my question for you, CJ: When 10 million people are paying, oh, $12 per year to get a magazine, and the magazine’s managers have a firm policy of receiving no more than 10 percent of their annual revenue from advertising (true fact from the olden daze), what’s the product — the audience or the magazine?

      One part of Geographic’s magic was the clarity of the exchange: You send us your dues, and, as a member, you’ll receive your Society’s monthly journal. That way, we are beholden only to you — and not to any third party who might mess up our stable, long-term, and monogamous relationship.

      Now, though, National Geographic is all about three-somes (e.g., eyeballs + NG + Shell Oil) — and while it may seem exciting & profitable to the people arranging these hook-ups, I don’t believe it’s the basis for a sustainable relationship.

      Or am I missing something?

      (Thanks for stopping by again, CJ.)

  • P.S. to CJ: If you can find that quote by Nicholas Johnson, please add it to a comment here. I’d love to add it to the main body of this post (above). Thanks.

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