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But then there's Jim Skelton, who the word "professional" could only be used in something like "professional clown." Since joining WIT, he's finally got a place to once again go "inside baseball" on Slop, and now WOW. In a thread that noted that WOW's cheesy "TV" presentations have been pulled off cable systems again three weeks before Christmas, here comes Skel the white knight to let all the sheeple know what the real score is (since it looks a little fuzzy, I'll cut and paste, and there's the screen cap below):
The fact is, the management in the new company that owns SWI just isn't as "sharp" as Lior and his brothers were. Sounds harsh, but it's true.
They also aren't as dedicated to the TV medium as Lior was.
It's not like the new management is dumb per se, the CEO (David Block) is a Harvard grad, but while they may know business in general, they simply do not understand the watch customer or the way that the watch market really works. In so many cases of retail operation, a widget is a widget, but watches are unique and sales are driven by a passion-fueled customer base. In other words, we are picky and finicky. Often times the consumer will have more knowledge about the product than those selling it, and this can be frustrating for your average businessman.
Myself and a handful of others would try to guide them after Lior left, and help them understand the needs of this specific consumer. Only rarely did they actually listen. What made it worse was the hiring of a new EVP a couple of years ago, who only recently got dismissed in October. He absolutely wrecked that company, and the damage he did will likely take months to assess and correct.
Lior built more or less a family there at SWI, and many of the key people in the organization had been with him for 5-15 years. The new management came in (as most often do) and got rid of long time employees. What you have now is a company that is almost 90% new people (not counting warehouse personnel), all key people that make important decisions, including their buyers. It will take them a while to figure out what they need to do, but I believe by then it will be too late.
The numbers changed almost immediately once the brothers weren't making the day to day decisions. The business has steadily fallen since then with no signs of stopping anytime soon. What was once the single largest volume seller on the internet for watches, now barely ranks when you research their internet value. WOW was the biggest there was when it was run properly, but those days are gone and may well be forever irretrievable.
On the TV side of it, they're running on a skeleton crew, barely holding it together. I keep in contact with my old WOWTV cohorts, and all but 1 of them was either let go, or got so fed up that they quit within 3 months of my departure (using that as a timeline, not a reason why they left). The board has called for the TV side to be closed up for a long time actually, because they'd rather put that budget towards the rest of the business, but enough people have been there that want to see WOWTV live on, and fight the fight. I hope they can hold it together because they're good people and they deserve the chance. But the TV side has been the red-headed stepchild of the family since the day after the brothers signed the papers to the new company.
All of the airtime distributors are a pain in the ass to deal with. When you're a huge network that can get their own dedicated channel (which at one time cost Shop over $120M a year, they eventually cut it back to around $45m a year or so), you get premium service. When you're "renting" airtime like so many networks do, you get subpar service and a LOT of lame excuses from them as you're trying to air a live show. DirecTV was probably the easiest to work with, and even though they too had technical issues, they worked hard to resolve them quickly. The others... not so much. There were many times I would hear in my earpiece: "We just went down again, we're only live on the web" and I would have to cut my mic and walk off the set to curse about it. It's very frustrating for everyone in that studio when it happens.
It's a tough business that costs a LOT of money to operate. Lior was dedicated to it and knew it could work. If he were still there I believe it would be a bit better.