Two unconventional celebrities both gave the finger — one literally, the other figuratively — to the clickbait media this week. Both men were outsiders who used technology to become number one, displacing older, more well-funded competitors.
Trump used reality TV and Twitter to defeat the billions of dollars arrayed against him; PewDiePie has used YouTube to become a celebrity. How much of a celebrity? A recent analysis said that he was better known than Jennifer Lawrence, the ‘it girl’ upon which the Hollywood film studios have been lavishing millions of dollars despite several recent and prominent flops.
Enter Disney, one of the world’s largest media conglomerates.
The central tenet of the Johnson Dollar Diversity Dilemma is that companies which prefer social justice to making a buck ultimately do poorly, especially when they are involved with bits, rather than atoms. Social justice doesn’t sell; it actually destroys long-term value for companies.
Disney is no exception, as its recent foray into social justice content makes clear. I predicted Disney would do poorly thanks to its anti-white Star Wars film in 2014. At the time, Disney was trading around $120 a share. Today, even after the commercial successes of the last two Star Wars films, the company is only trading at $110 a share. The company had stalled and was looking for ways to get out of its doldrums — so it bought Maker Studios.
One of the reasons Disney bought Maker Studios is because of the digital vortex, a phenomenon outlined by Cisco, whereby digitization of an industry leads to competitors cheaply displacing more entrenched adversaries. Companies facing the vortex often try to avoid it by acquiring competitors either to kill them or to ‘acquihire’ them.
The brand exposure to Disney is really simple. Young people are starting to hate you because you hate what they love. Disney’s stock has been falling in recent years because fewer millennials watch television or visit Disney theme parks. How likely do you think it’ll be that they are going to take their kids to Disney parks?
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However, Disney may well weather the retaliation that Generation PewDiePie will bring to their stock price.
For the Wall Street Journal, on the other hand, it’s catastrophic. Rupert Murdoch has been making a lot of dumb decisions lately. He invested over $100 million in ‘it girl’ turned fraud Elizabeth Holmes (of Theranos) and he’s been taken in by con man Shane Smith of VICE. He went in big for MySpace and was hoaxed by Megyn Kelly and Gretchen Carlson’s false claims of sexual impropriety by Roger Ailes.
How do you explain all these mistakes? Maybe the attack on the multi-millionaire Swedish-born YouTube star was just blind envy on the part of the lying mainstream media.
Stay tuned for more.
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