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paidContent - Fake News Suffers Too: The Onion Orders More Fealty To Advertisers

This story was written by David Kaplan.
While satirical newspaper The Onion has got a lot of mileage out of the “death of newspapers” meme—such as this brief—CEO Steve Hannah has warned the staff that the fake news business isn’t immune from the industries’ ad revenue problems. And so, in a memo obtained by Gawker, Hannah says that despite cutting expenses by $6 million, staffers must collaborate more on driving business, especially in light of the decision to lay off five members of the sale team last week. Therefore, Hannah writes, “Saying ‘no’ to an advertiser whose desires don’t exactly match your wishes is a losing game.”

As for the group effort to come up with creative ways to drive ad revenue, Hannah pointedly says that “this is not the classic business vs. editorial matter. If you believe that… you are officially working at the wrong company.”

Two years ago, The Onion invested $1 million in building up its online video offerings. While the company has gotten received a great deal of positive attention for its video lampoons, it no longer provides the advantages in an increasingly competitive market. That said, Hannah insisted that there are no plans to charge for its videos, which are available for free on the site and through iTunes as a podcast.

In the meantime, here’s a fake news chart from The Onion surveying why newspaper readership is down:

(click to enlarge)


By David Kaplan
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