Magazine article Variety

Those Who Pay the Piper Get to Gripe about the Tune

Magazine article Variety

Those Who Pay the Piper Get to Gripe about the Tune

Article excerpt

Among winter traditions, the

annual firing of coaches following the NFL and college football seasons has become one of the more reliable.

Then again, as Los Angeles Times sports columnist Chris Dufresne observed while belittling USC fans seeking to oust Steve Sarkisian halfway through his first season, while nobody should weep for a well-paid coach, he "does have the misfortune of presiding over a whiny, entitled franchise in the shameless era of dingbat social media."

Then again, with what Trojan boosters pay for the privilege of watching their team, a certain degree of entitlement comes with the territory. And while football tickets are generally pricier than cable or streaming subscriptions, the same combination - a sense of entitlement, fueled and heightened by social media - appears to be subtly altering the way many consumers interact with entertainment options as well.

Think about it this way: Just a few decades ago, everyone still thought of television as being "free." Sure, you had to sit through advertising in exchange for watching a show, but if you didn't like it, you could simply change channels. No harm, no foul.

Today, almost everything comes at a price. Even the broadcast networks are lobbying for sweetened retransmissions fees, adding to the pressure on cable, satellite or telco bills. And while there are various cut-the-cord alternatives, almost all of them come with fees too.

Viewers, in other words, are not just fans of shows, but in a sense, stakeholders in them. And while much of the vitriol in the ecosystem can be attributed to the anonymity, immediacy and access of social media - as in "Tweet first; think later" - logic dictates the shifting financial dynamic is also a factor, with the migration away from a free-TV model contributing to how vehement and sudden the backlash can be when programs in which fans are invested disappoint them.

The most obvious precedent for this mentality resides in the science fiction realm, where fans of "Star Wars" or "Star Trek" not only hungrily absorb the content of those franchises, but also possess a strong proprietary attachment to the material, and often a clear vision regarding what directions they see as appropriate - or objectionable. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.