While newspapers struggle and longtime magazines fold (see Life Magazine), the fake news genre continues to thrive. The Onion News Network (ONN), an online newscast with the style and satire of the organization’s print publication, is the latest example.
Each week, ONN will produce new online clips that parody the major news organizations. ONN “anchor” Brandon Armstrong tells ABC that viewers can expect “extensive graphics and more glitz and high-tech swooshy sounds … we hope, of course, to be bigger than Fox News, more condescending that CNN, and more friendly than your local newscast.”
The stories make us laugh, of course, but it’s also big-time business: ONN hired 15 new staffers and invested more than $1 million in the venture (according to this story). The Onion’s web site generated $18 million in advertising revenue last year, while its print circulation is nearly 600,000. Variety reported that content distribution deals may come together with YouTube, Joost, MySpace and TiVo.
Not bad, considering two Wisconsin college students began the print publication in 1988 from their dorm room with an $8,000 loan from one founder’s mom.