"The backlash has begun against Bonnie Fuller," begins today's NEW YORK POST's deconstruction of Fuller's compensation which, reporter Keith J. Kelly claims, is not tied to performance. No newsflash, we all know that Fuller's baby THE STAR is struggling. Despite that, Fuller has been given an awesome package of $1.5 million a year + a guaranteed annual bonus of $500,000 through 2009. Could it be Kelly and the other Fuller bashers are missing the real story? And, that's that the powers-that-be in American Media are holding on to Fuller in order to come up with the Next Big Thing.
And American Media and all the rest of the celebrity-media industry better be hustling to uncover that Next Big Thing.
Clearly or it should be clear by now, this is the era of the long tail or the age of Everyman with Every Interest. Niches are moving into the old blockbuster space. Oh, there will still be PEOPLE and Angelina for PEOPLE to cover. But there will be lots less of that. The problem is not in Fuller or STAR or American Media. The problem is in a shifting marketplace that has to be figured out.
Clues to figuring that out can be found in Chris Anderson's book "The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More." Due out in July, this could be the simple-to-read bible for marketing and influence as the Internet becomes the dominant platform for media. Anderson rolls out that insight in the WIRED July issue. Fittingly, the title of Anderson's article is "The Rise and Fall of the Hit." The subtitle is "The era of the blockbuster is so over. The niche is now king, and the entertainment industry - from music to movies to TV - will never be the same."
The Internet, as political consultant Dick Morris predicted way back in 1999 in "Vote.com" has given Everyman and EveryInterest a voice, space and, therefore, power. The success of MySpace has demonstrated that.
Fuller is a breakthrough thinker and executor. She can come up with a new media model for capturing eye balls and creating obsession. The question is, will she. The danger is that like so many old-media power-brokers - think Pinch at THE NEW YORK TIMES, think Barbara Walters at ABC - she may panic and keep doing what used to work so well.