Thursday, March 29, 2012

Can Gay News Networks Survive?

There's an interesting article here, about whether or not gay news networks can survive the competition. It gets into niche markets, and whether there's a large enough audience to turn a profit. I read between the lines and wondered about how many in the LGBT community are interested in reading gay news. And I'm also wondering about how many in the LGBT community are being turned off by gay news as well.

Whether corporate-run or one-man shops, the outlook for gay news blogs is that most of them are not turning a satisfying profit.

What's going on over at Logo, with them focusing on more mainstream programming seems to be an indication that it's not possible to turn a profit anymore with exclusive gay content. And I'm not sure that's such a terrible thing. Haven't we been working towards equality with the mainstream? I'm seeing more and more gay characters in mainstream programming all the time.

Again, there’s the question of how niche is too niche. Among the potential business-side problems for gay news sites:

One of those problems, which is explained in more detail in the article, is that it's hard to get advertisers in these tight niche markets. Especially since a lot of these gay news oriented web sites are so focused on politics and news. I can tell you from my own experience as a blogger that this particular post won't get that many hits no matter how much I promote it. But if I write a post about a gay porn star, or even a post about Levi Johnston posing nude in Playgirl, I'll get thousands of hits in just one day. People want a balance between entertainment and news. It's always been like that and this is not new to gay news markets.

Gay news sites may have a unique set of problems because of advertising hesitation. Still, their uncertain future may indicate that, even with a clearly defined niche market and a reliable audience, niche isn’t always the answer to capturing online revenue.

I would like to think that the LGBT community is interested in gay news. I know I am. I know all the gay people I come into contact with are. But I do think that gay news organizations need to stop being so focused on the typical gay agenda and start focusing on the many diverse sides of gay life. For example, not all gay men and women are liberal Democrats. That's a fact, but the most liberal (and loudest voices) in the gay community fail to recognize this. So maybe it's time to stop the focus on bashing conservatives and start listening to EVERYONE in the gay community. There's an openly gay Republican, Fred Karger, running for President and making history and I've seen little about it anywhere in gay news. If we change the focus a little and include everyone, it might make a difference in profits when it comes to these niche markets...the niches might just grow a little.


Jon Michaelsen said...

I also like to read GBLT news, even seek out blogs, magazines, newsleters that will provide such information from a gay person's pov compared to straight; I know that sounds strange, perhaps a bit racist, but I like balance and you can't find that in mainstream medi news, which I often find is one-sided (so much for the objective pov); true - GLBT sources can be on-sided as well, but when reading bot mainstrea and GLBT, I feel I'm informed. When I was younger (before the Internet), I searched out GLBT News via local "gay rags", national magazines like Out, Genre, Advocate, etc...but, with the explosion of the Internet, I no longer seek out those sources exclusively...I surf...I enjoy Towleroad, GA Voice and gay blogs. So, yes...I would miss exclusively gay news sources. Case in point, I rarely watch Logo anymore due to their programming shift and must seek other ways to get such programming, via streaming, renting DVDs, etc...
Great subject, Ryan!

ryan field said...

I'm the same way. I used to live to pick up copies of PGN...Philadelphia Gay News. Now I still read it online to see what's happening locally and around the world.