Sharon Pian Chan, Executive MBA Student at MIT Sloan
From Art + marketing
The presidential election exposed deep divisions in the country, among our families, friends, in the workplace and in the classroom.
Buzzfeed’s recent findings about the power of fake news is particularly troubling. The 20-most read fake stories got more traffic than the top 20 stories reported by credible news organizations that verify facts and validate stories.
In fact, people writing fake news are making more money than journalists committed to reporting the truth, according to Seattle Times columnist Danny Westneat, who talked to a fake news site in Seattle called Bipartisan Report.
Fake news sent a man with an assault rifle to a pizza shop in Washington, D.C., searching for a fictional child sex ring connected to Hillary Clinton. (Check out The Washington Post’s story.)
What are the forces behind the creation and, let’s face it, widespread consumption of lies?
It’s every CEO’s worst nightmare: For whatever reason, the CEO’s company is engulfed in negative publicity that threatens to damage its brand name, harm sales and alienate customers for months or even years to come.
The negative publicity can hit suddenly, seemingly out of the blue, or it can come in relentless waves, over a prolonged period of time, like a series of storms battering a coastal area, one after another. Wells Fargo and United Airlines have both been facing such an onslaught in recent weeks and months.
How does a company respond? How does it go about repairing a damaged brand name and winning back customers?
While I know very little about these particular situations apart from what I’ve read, seen, and heard via various media outlets, I know how difficult it is to change consumers’ minds about a company and its products – and how winning back “trust” is easier said than done.
Over two years, we closely tracked four marketing field experiments by an American automaker whose brand had suffered from decades of negative publicity over the quality of its products. The experiments focused on company actions to earn back trust.
The sports industry is engaged in a grand digital experiment with technology platforms. The latest test was announced last week, when the National Football League (NFL) sold its 10-game Thursday Night Football digital package to Amazon. As when Twitter held it last year, the games will be simulcast on network (CBS or NBC) and cable (NFL Network) television. However, unlike the free access Twitter offered, only Amazon Prime members will be able to watch Thursday night games this year. Given Prime’s non-exclusivity and pay wall, if Thursday Night Football on Amazon leads to increases in year-over-year viewership and contributes to the growth of Prime subscribers, the NFL and Amazon executives could call it a win.
As encouraging as that result would be, this experiment is really about the early 2020s, which is when the NFL will be making major decisions about distributors for its most valuable rights packages. How can tech companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Apple, Netflix, and Twitter become big rights winners at that point? And what can traditional broadcasters do now to avoid being left behind? This long-term sports rights game will be won through reach and revenue.
When sports leagues sell their live distribution rights, they want to maximize both reach and revenue. If technology companies can help leagues achieve these goals more effectively than their existing television partners, the sports media landscape will look dramatically different a decade from now.
Tech firms must prove their reach
There’s never been any doubt as to whether technology companies have the resources to invest in sports rights. The question has been whether such moves made long-term strategic sense for both parties. As technology platforms launch and grow competitive video businesses, they are beginning to put to rest concerns about their suitability as distribution partners, as they now have clear incentives to make rights deals successful over the long term.
The holiday season is upon us and—based on all the Internet ads, television commercials, and store fliers about—it appears you’ve been granted a golden opportunity to reap huge savings on gifts for everyone on your shopping list.
We are, of course, being facetious—store sales are little more than hype and hyperbole conducted to move merchandise and boost retailers’ bottom lines. And yet even the savviest shoppers among us can be drawn in by the plethora of psychological tricks stores employ to get us to make impulse purchases and overspend.
Do not despair. It is possible to show restraint and become a more rational shopper. Whether you’re planning to head to the mall on Black Friday, traipse down Main Street on Small Business Saturday, or fire up your laptop on Cyber Monday, all you have to do is remember these three basic principles.
The NFL has a distinguished history of successful partnerships with upstart media companies. When it became the home of Sunday Night Football in 1987, ESPN’s unprecedented growth accelerated. Then, in 1993, the NFL sold its NFC Sunday afternoon package to Fox, firmly establishing it as the fourth major broadcast network in the U.S. In turn, both deals expanded the NFL’s reach and significantly increased its media rights revenue.
This fall the NFL is working with another new media partner: Twitter. In a $10 million deal, Twitter is live streaming for free 10 Thursday Night Football (TNF) games. It is part of Twitter’s overall strategy of making live events the centerpiece of its platform. For its part, the NFL reportedly passed on higher bidders for the digital TNF package to test new distribution models with a trusted partner.