Monday, October 3, 2016

The Domino Effect

I put the following post on Facebook yesterday afternoon:

Apparently the watch crisis is suddenly real to some, when their advertisers aren't paying and they are forced to fly coach to the next press junket!
Hopefully the swag-bags are still "copious" ; )

The domino effect of poor sales is now starting to be felt by those who are either not used to, or have forgotten the challenges of actually having to hustle a bit.  That would be the fourth and fifth estates.  As I've said numerous times, the watch industry though fun, sexy and exciting is, after everything is said and done, a business.  And business is not always fair, and it most certainly is not always a meritocracy.  

Shamelessly borrowed from the worldwide info web 

Why I find this amusing is after spending the last few years being viewed as "an extremely negative voice in the industry", by one noted journalist turned blogger, more and more of my peers in the fourth and fifth estates are starting to question just how well the industry as a whole is actually performing.  But as it often is with so many things, problems and difficulties couldn't possibly be real until they impact you personally.  

So what is going on out there?

Much of this is anecdotal as Tempus Fugit no longer accepts advertising, but some examples that have been passed around the campfire -

  • magazines, discussion forums and some blogs/online magazines are getting stiffed by advertisers - i.e. watch brands and watch retailers.
  • travel that used to be business class or better for press junkets is sometimes not even being comped.  Never been an issue for some of us, but there has been some notable consternation expressed from some of the more well-heeled watch reporters out there.  Yes, that is most assuredly a First World problem that makes me chuckle, but to hear the yelping and whimpering from some folks out there you'd have thought they'd been forced to eat a happy meal and travel by Grey Hound bus.
  • exclusive events like SIHH that apparently had no extra room for press in years past, suddenly find that there is magically more room than they thought.  Between the lines, read that attendance was down this past year, and next year doesn't show signs of improvement.  Suddenly there is now a scramble to make this fair important and to fill it up.  The party-planning company employed by SIHH needs to prove their worth as well, and suddenly their tone is just that tiniest bit less haughty and sarcastic.  
  • brands are coming to the realization, albeit not gracefully, that some of their best potential ambassadors are the guys and girls who write for passion, not paycheck.  And the real winner in that will be the reader.  There are some very, very good writers out there, far better than me, who do not get nearly the support and readership that they deserve.  My hope is that we will see a lot more of their good work in the coming months and years.  Good content should be the standard.  
Yes, the future is now here.  And it is a cold cup of coffee for some.  But it is the same as in just about any business I can think of.  There will be winners and there will be losers.  The brands that will see this out and emerge (albeit not 100% intact) on the other side will be the ones who can make pragmatic decisions and move forward.  The ones who have already been living "paycheck to paycheck" will go one last time to borrow against the next paycheck only to find out that their credit is no longer any good.  And that means the same for those of us who cover these things.  We are now at that critical point where we realize that it is "Adapt or Die".   For those out there who refused to pay attention to the warning signs, it might be a tough few years.


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