To: All employees
From: Simon Dumenco
Re: Editorial-product repositioning
As you know, Media Guy isn't just a column; it's a diversified global conglomerate. Business is better than ever -- that's the good news. The bad news is that, as some of you may be aware, Media Guy Enterprises Internationalé Inc. (MGEI) happens to have some key investors who are heavily exposed in the subprime-mortgage market -- and because of that, MGEI's credit line and liquidity have recently been compromised.
|Photo (l.): Jim Ruymen|
Will blog titans Arianna Huffington and Nick Denton find happiness ... together?
There's certainly no call for panic -- unless you happen to work in the MGEI telemarketing division, which we're shutting down. (Note to telemarketing-division employees: Please clear out your desks and surrender your keycards to Security by the end of the day. Good luck, and it's been a pleasure working with you.) Still, some prudent companywide restructuring is in order. As CEO of MGEI, I've decided that, effective immediately, we're repositioning the flagship MGEI editorial product -- the Media Guy column -- to be more in line with current market forces and consumer demand.
Media Guy will still, of course, be media-centric, but will now be transformed into something more relatable, more wholesome, more hummable -- and, we hope, much more profitable. In short, it will become a musical. (Note to tone-deaf employees: Please clear out your desks and surrender your keycards to Security by the end of the day. Good luck, and it's been a pleasure working with you.)
I know what some of you are thinking: that this is a knee-jerk response to the ratings success of the Disney Channel's "High School Musical" and its record-breaking sequel earlier this month. Actually, we're more inspired by the revenue side of the equation. As Laura Martin of Soleil-Media Metrics recently told the New York Post, "We estimate ["High School Musical"] contributed $1 billion -- yes, billion -- to the Disney empire in profits since its launch." Even before the sequel's premiere, the paper notes, "HSM" had "worldwide sales of 7.8 million DVDs; 7 million CDs; 4.5 million books; a sold-out, 45-city concert tour; and hundreds of million of dollars in sales of merchandise."
MGEI's new flagship product is code-named "High School Media 1: Media Guy the Musical" and while it is certainly not meant to compete head-on with Disney's "HSM" franchise, we are looking to broaden the appeal of the Media Guy brand for a whole new, younger audience of consumers who have, until now, shown limited interest in media news and analysis.
There are certainly lessons we can learn from the basic "HSM" plot: the story of a high-school basketball player, Troy (played by Zac Efron), and a brainy, pretty nerd, Gabriella (Vanessa Anne Hudgens), who defy the expectations of their fellow jocks and nerds, as well as stodgy adults, because, well, they just want to sing! And dance! In a musical!
"HSM" songs such as "Bop to the Top" ("Do the bop bop, bop to the top/Don't ever stop/Bop to the top"), "Fabulous" ("Fabulous fashion, fabulous bling/She's got to have fabulous everything") and "You Are the Music in Me" ("Na, na, na, na/Oh yeah") have become iconic beacons of hope to millions of teens and tweens. It's a truism to the point of cliché that the media world is just like high school with money, so we believe there is a commonality of brand values at play here. And we anticipate that the refreshingly optimistic spirit of the "HSM" franchise can be successfully merchandised to world-weary media types, who, like Troy and Gabriella, just want to be happy and find love.
I'm pleased to announce that "High School Media 1: Media Guy the Musical" is already well under way. We've quietly been working with a composer and lyricist on a lineup of songs that should prove hugely popular with our target audience, like "I'm Feeling Viral Tonight," the YouTube-executive song, which includes karaoke-ready lyrics such as:
It's there, deep down
It is our dream
Some day we'll find
Our revenue stream
I'm feeling viral tonight!
Not to mention "A Bloggy Kind of Love," a duet between Gawker Media czar Nick Denton and Huffington Post honcho Arianna Huffington:
[Nick] I love your accent, your helmet hair ...
[Arianna] Your accent's hotter, it's just not fair ...
[Nick] The way your bloggers blog for free ...
[Arianna] It turns you on, that much I see ...
[Nick] Huff, my sweet,
My Facebook friend
My love for you
Will never end
[Arianna] My Gawker Stalker
Please, stalk away!
Cuz I'm your Huffster
You sure you're gay?
The emphasis, obviously, will be on the sort of simple, enduring -- some might even say insipid -- universal themes that have made "High School Musical" such a massive, mainstream success. (Note to employees with journalistic and/or artistic standards: Please clear out your desks and surrender your keycards to Security by the end of the day. Good luck, and it's been a pleasure working with you.)
That's it for now. In my next memo, I'll outline our exciting plans for "Media Guy on Ice."