The Onion is hurting badly. And CEO Steve Hannah has already gleaned a lesson from the downturn, explained in the memo after the jump: resisting advertisers is a "losing game."
You may recall that the multimedia humor juggernaut killed two of its local print editions in May. The move came amid a "very rough first half of the year," as Hannah puts it in his memo, and a total of $6 million in cost reductions.
Things aren't getting better. The paper laid off five sales people last week; advertising remains scant. Hannah, a former Milwaukee Journal managing editor and PR consultant, writes that the quality of the Onion's writing and videos "is no longer the competitive advantage it once was."
So it's time to cozy up to the money:
Saying "no" to an advertiser whose desires don't exactly match your wishes is a losing game. We either change (and we intend to do it in a smart way) the way we do business, or we don't have a business.
There, I've said it.
We'd insert a joke here about how no one will ever be able to trust fake journalism again, but we know especially well that people do expect some integrity in their entertainment. Bill Hicks was on to something. (And after reading a projecty tweet from an Onion editor, we're guessing some of them feel the same way.)
Update: We hear Steve Hannah is, in fact, on vacation until July 15.