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Published on April 25th, 2014 | by gareth


As the Old Saying Goes… The Ever-Changing Landscape of Entertainment Coverage

As the old saying goes, the times sure are a changing. For those who work in entertainment coverage such as myself, we have seen the landscape shift from a handful of online sites in the early days of the internet to the thousands of sites currently available.
While most of them tend not to last very long as the pressure of finding an audience, establishing and maintaining a good relationship with studios, and time and content restraints often doom even the best planned sites.

I remember at one time before starting my site that I had my content appearing in over 60 publications, many of which were well established magazine and sites. To date, less than 11 of them are active, and of those, less than half are thriving.

The biggest issue to many is the large corporate sites that have large staff, millions of dollars in resources, and the ability to get or pay for special content and consideration from publishers due to their size and traffic volumes.

Many said to me, how do we compete against that? My reply is usually do what you do, and wait them out. Recently Gamespy, G4, and UGO have closed, as have several large gaming sites. The glut of content has made it difficult for larger operations to stay in business.

I was recently profiled by my college on a pending piece on distinguished alumni, and was asked, how have you guys been able to grow and stay a factor when so many around you have failed?

I tell them to me, failure was not an option. The company was designed to keep costs low, and as we have grown, we have been careful to get good people who are committed to the larger goal.

We do not pay for content, we do not solicit payments for positive reviews, and we do not deviate from the stance of being fair and objective and calling things as we see it.

The expansion of the company to include a second office and more regional reps and staff have allowed us more access to conventions, more access to events, and a larger audience, but this is able to be done without renting a costly locale in Los Angeles or New York, and by making the most of your resources.
While it is a slow approach to many, we are about to celebrate our 12th Anniversary and have since grown to include a magazine, newspaper and online syndication, and a national radio show.

The key to me is not being all about the sizzle to the point where you forget the steak. By that, write your reviews and opinion pieces fairly, be fair, friendly, but not a pushover or sellout to companies you deal with and stay focused.

There will be times of frustration, slow traffic and news, and there will be times of high traffic, success stories, and fun. You do not get in this business to get rich, you get into it out of love for your topics which in my case is movies, games, travel, hardware and entertainment. I have been fortunate to have great people around me in recent years which have really helped us grow, and I think that the clear message of stability and consistency is one that works.

So many publications are so concerned with being first, making a splash, and being bigger and better than everyone that they burn out quickly. There is much to be said for consistency. You find what works, what does not work. You adapt, but stay true to your core, and let your audience find you and grow.

Above all, never take your audience for granted. I believe that is something that too many have forgotten and as such, have paid the price. I am not saying to avoid the big corporate sites, far from it. I am saying make sure you take the time to appreciate and support the smaller independent sites as much like the world of gaming, the larger corporate model is not working well for some and the smaller independent s are looking to be the wave of the future.

Drop me a line with your thoughts at gareth@sknr.net

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