"If you go to sleep a Yankee fan, chances are you wake up one." That was the way keynote speaker Leo Hindery today helped explain why the Yes network is more profitable than any regional sports network every constructed. Except for four nights this baseball season, Yes was the highest rated network in 8 million homes with a 3.5-4 rating night after night, he said. ("And we were playing some crap teams!")
Speaking at the Convergence 2.0 conference put on by The Deal, Hindery, managing partner at InterMedia Partners, talked about the power of enthusiast media, how hunters and fisherman pore over their magazines and all other media, how they defined "engagement" – a "dedicated, committed audience." That kind of audience, he said, is key when looking for media investments. Look for a dedicated audience – Yankee fans, Christians, Hispanics (noting that all Hispanics are not alike), outdoorsmen – some group that will avidly consume what you give them, if you give it to them in their sweet spot.
The other thing you need, he said, to really have a lasting investment over time is barriers to competition, lamenting the way cable TV had screwed up its customer service, for example niggling people over $20 worth of charges when their lifetime value was, perhaps, $2,000. "There was no reason for the satellite industry to get going except for our ineptitude in cable," he said.