Why theScore sold their television channel to focus on mobile – with CFO Tom Hearne

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Ahh the media industry – along with retail it has become the whipping boy for the entire digital uprising. It has been labeled “dead” and “dormant” and “on decline” and “old” but it still holds an incredible amount of clout, cache and conversation. The thing is, not very many of these media outlets are willing or able to commit, I mean REALLY commit, to the sea change that is upon them – you know, the one that they refuse to look at with a fresh perspective.

There are a few times in history when change this paramount comes along and wipes the slate clean. It is at these times that the bold MAKE decisions and the weak have decisions made for them. This is one of those times. We will look back at this very moment and be able to trace the reason certain companies accelerated while others evaporated. The decisions being made today, while there is runway, while there are options, are bets of incredible courage – to step outside a comfort zone and to make decisions that may hurt in the short run but lead to great spoils down the road. This is what very few media companies are doing and theScore is one of them making these courageous choices.

I’ve talked with Tom Hearne on two other occasions and both times have been impressed by his mobile-first mantra. The thing is, you can talk all you want (like you see television stations and radio stations and newspapers and magazines do) or you can execute on a plan that moves you forward. That’s exactly what Tom and his team did by selling off their sports television station (with an audience of roughly 7 million people), raising $16 million and focusing exclusively on growing their mobile-first company. There is no looking back. A little perspective on this move: Doing what theScore did would be like a national newspaper company selling their print offerings. Ballsy and not likely to happen.

This episode focuses on this transition and the incredibly thoughtful and logical reasons behind doing it. It must have been painful to give up the revenue that comes with television but after listening to Tom and his conviction about mobile you will wonder why the other outlets don’t see this. You will also wonder how long it will be before they start to lose the ability to make their own decisions…