ELECTION REFLECTION - 10.18.2022
October 18, 2022
Good Tuesday morning.
Welcome to RUPP'S NOTES/FBI SPECIAL AGENT HARTMANN SERIES post for October 18, 2022. I'm novelist Richard V. Rupp, writing from Burbank, California.
My comments in Rupp's Notes and the current manuscript I'm working on ran through my mind while thinking about the importance of a side story in Episode 2 of the TV show ALASKA DAILY. I started watching the show because I love the work of Hilary Swank, and thus far, I'm not disappointed. One of the reporters in the story (not Hilary's role) working at the paper, Claire, investigates the burning of Rita's diner, a long-time local restaurant. It turns out it was an arson fire ignited by the beloved owner "Rita." She did not torch it for money but rather because she could no longer stand the loss of civility now inbred in her customers. I suspect, like many of us writers today, the scriptwriter reflects what they see in our current society. Civil discourse has been replaced by sharply polarized discourse, often bullying.
I like this quote by Barack Obama on this subject - "At a time when our discourse has become so sharply polarized, at a time when we are far too eager to lay the blame for all that ails the world at the feet of those who happen to think differently than we do, it is important for us to pause a moment and make sure we are talking to each other in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds."
Regarding today's title, no, I'm not going to get political. I don't know how it is where you live, but for voters here in California, we received an 8 x 11-inch 128-page book (not a booklet) titled the "Official Voter Information Guide" from the State. There are sections about our "Propositions" that you need a law degree to understand. I'm still working on going through the book.
In addition to the book, you get a six-page "Official Ballot" 8.5 x 14-inch size, with a separate page of the same size explaining how to complete it.
I'm looking forward to election day. Not because I want to know the outcome but because the political TV commercials will end. They are driving me crazy. Thank God for the DVR and ad-free streaming.
I feel sorry for the traditional networks, which, on November 11, will lose a significant source of advertising revenue. As of the end of September, political campaigns across the United States have spent more than $6.4 billion on ads (TV, print, and online). It is expected by Election Day, they will have spent $9.7 billion. This is far more than both the 2018 and 2020 elections.
It was interesting to note that some political advertising involved the evolving concept of "targeted advertising." A NEW YORK TIMES article indicated, "Next-door neighbors streaming the same true crime show on the same streaming service may now be shown different political ads — based on data about their voting record, party affiliation, age, gender, race or ethnicity, estimated home value, shopping habits or views on gun control."
Here in Burbank – "Media Capital of the World," the feeling seems to be that traditional television is in a downward cycle that is self-perpetuating. The more they grow advertising time, the more viewers they will lose. To maintain needed ad dollar income, they must increase the amount of advertising time. This change appears to be great for the entertainment industry as traditional TV shows capture large audiences. These audiences are now divided up by streaming services of all sizes and shapes. Each needs some form of original content. Production of all shapes and sizes is being made here in Burbank/Hollywood. My town is hopping.
The LA TIMES movie section Wideshot has this to say about traditional TV – "Let's face it, broadcast TV isn't cool. But the type of widely appealing, not too expensive programming that has long dominated the airwaves for the big networks — CBS, ABC, NBC — may be just the kind of thing a streaming-obsessed business now needs more of. . . .Media companies are increasingly using the draw of their network sitcoms, soaps, and reality competition shows to boost their streaming platforms. Walt Disney Co. moved DANCING WITH THE STARS from ABC to Disney+. DAYS OF OUR LIVES has migrated from NBC to Peacock. A movie based on the beloved cult comedy "Community" is finally happening — also on Peacock. Even THE MOLE is back, this time on Netflix."
This article is kind of a backhanded way of saying "goodbye" to traditional TV and "hello" to streaming services.
An April 29, 2022, article in the HAVARD BUSINESS REVIEW indicates, "Digital marketing technologies and their ecosystems have dominated growth in marketing budgets for over a decade. As consumers have shifted their attention from stationary media to perpetual media on the go, traditional advertising lost some of its appeal. In turn, marketers pivoted investments from television, radio, newspaper, events, and outdoor advertising to digital channels, from TikTok to TechTarget. . . . As consumers are spending most of their waking hours online, it seems they are becoming increasingly numb to conventional digital advertising and engagement. They report frustration and negative brand association with digital advertising clutter that prevents them from reading an article, watching a video, or browsing a website. For example, a HubSpot survey found that 57% of participants disliked ads that played before a video, and 43% didn't even watch them."
It's not just traditional TV that is hurting. Here's an example of what's happening with traditional AM radio. A week ago Monday, San Francisco's KGO AM radio station changed its all-talk format following $20 million in losses for the past few years. The management believes there is money in sports gambling, so the new format is "sports gambling," which they have branded as THE SPREAD and are using the slogan "The Bay's Best Bet on Sports." Management bet is based on the national expansion of sports betting, which is also reflected in California Propositions 26 and 27 (which I am still trying to figure out), which legalize various forms of gambling within the State. Recent polls have indicated that the Millenial and Z generations are in love with sports betting, and they are the future. One article suggests that "the very online millennials find comfort at online gambling sites and that Generation Z, which is even more attuned to mobile devices and the internet, is even more inclined to gamble online."
Here's what my futuristic character Eve in my upcoming novel SKYWARD thinks about advertising as she looks back at it – "She wondered why the advertising concept ever existed. Or lasted as long as it did. What a waste of time for the logical human mind. From what she could tell, it created unrealistic expectations, bred discontent, tried influencing thought processes, and shaped an ideological culture. It even branched off into something called propaganda used by those who governed. She was glad that the generational naming thing and advertising had long ago stopped because it tended to divide humans from one another."
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Richard V. Rupp, Author
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Copyright©2022 by Richard V. Rupp