by Gary Farber
Glenn Beck is leaving Fox News, but not, I'm afraid, leaving us alone.
FOX NEWS AND MERCURY RADIO ARTS ANNOUNCE NEW AGREEMENT
(New York, NY) Fox News and Mercury Radio Arts, Glenn Beck’s production company, are proud to announce that they will work together to develop and produce a variety of television projects for air on the Fox News Channel as well as content for other platforms including Fox News’ digital properties. Glenn intends to transition off of his daily program, the third highest rated in all of cable news, later this year.
Speculation is, of course, rampant.
[...] Two of the options Mr. Beck has contemplated, according to people who have spoken about it with him, are a partial or wholesale takeover of a cable channel, or an expansion of his subscription video service on the Web.
Reports this week that Joel Cheatwood, a senior Fox News executive, would soon join Mr. Beck’s growing media company, Mercury Radio Arts, were the latest indication that Mr. Beck intended to leave Fox, a unit of the News Corporation, when his contract expired at the end of this year.
Notably, Mr. Beck’s company has been staffing up — making Web shows, some of which have little or nothing to do with Mr. Beck, and charging a monthly subscription for access to the shows.
He's not going away. Frankly, this is part of the not-that-slow collapse of the whole "tv network" paradigm that the internet is forcing. "TV' isn't going away as fast as traditional publishing, which is going away much faster than the traditional music distribution business, but it's circling the drain rapidly with streaming and direct deals for iPads and tablets and phones and all sorts of streaming.
Below, the worst of Glenn Beck, but why he's not stupid about media. Laugh and weep.
By the end of this year, an estimated 2 million households in the U.S. will have abandoned TV for the Web, cutting the cord with their cable companies. This estimate comes from Convergence Consulting Group, a Toronto-based research firm with a new report on The Battle for the American Couch Potato. That 2 million is up from the 1.6 million it was estimating a year ago, but it is still rather small and the number of cord cutters may very well have peaked last year as cable companies begin to fight back with TV Everywhere offerings.
Nevertheless, the big beneficiaries of cord cutting are Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV. They benefit even if people keep their cable but add Internet TV streaming or downloads to their viewing repertoire, as is much more common. According to Convergence , 18 percent of viewers in the U.S. watched free, full episodes of TV on the Web last year, and that is growing by a percentage point every year:
Estimated Percentage of Average Weekly US Viewers That Watch Free Broadcast and Cable Network Online Full Episodes, 2009-2012
Streaming has helped Netflix in particular in terms of driving new subscriber growth, and it is also arguably a gateway drug to cord cutting. Convergence estimates that Netflix revenues from online-only subscribers in the U.S. will grow from $172 million this year to $578 million in 2013. And if you add in Hulu Plus, the combined streaming revenues from both companies will reach an estimated $800 million in two years.
Beck is just part of this, and he's ahead of the curve.
Were Mr. Beck to set off on his own, it would be a landmark moment for the media industry, reflecting a shift in the balance of power between media institutions and the personal brands of people they employ.
Mr. Beck has been contemplating a cable channel of his own for more than a year, according to the people who have spoken with him about it, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Mr. Beck may not be able to actively pursue such an arrangement until his Fox contract is up.
Presuming he leaves, Mr. Beck could follow a road paved by Oprah Winfrey when she started OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network in January. He could schedule his own talk show and the shows of others on one of the many cable channels seeking a ratings jolt. Or, following Martha Stewart’s road to the Hallmark Channel, he could start smaller, taking over a few hours of a channel’s schedule.
But a cable channel takeover, even in part, carries enormous risk, as Ms. Winfrey and Ms. Stewart can attest — they have more real estate now, but the ratings comparisons are not favorable. For Mr. Beck, the risk may be heightened by the fact that many advertisers have shunned him on Fox, in part because of a boycott that started after he called President Obama racist in 2009.
Furthermore, having cable channel turf may carry less importance in the future as more people access TV shows online.
Insider Extreme already simulcasts Mr. Beck’s three-hour radio show; shows a fourth hour hosted by his sidekicks; shows a daily show hosted by S. E. Cupp, a conservative commentator; and occasionally features documentaries.
Mr. Beck is also in business with Dr. Keith Ablow, a well-known psychiatrist; they sometimes co-host free webcasts.
Mercury Radio Arts, which is privately held, has not released any figures for the $9.95 subscription service. Last April, one month after Insider Extreme started, Forbes magazine estimated that the Web operations earned Mr. Beck $4 million a year, twice as much as the $2 million he earned from Fox.
On the Web, unlike on television, Mr. Beck owns the data about his subscribers.
Italics mine. Glenn Beck is crazy, but he isn't stupid. Not about media and making money.
But let's say fare-not-well for now, and good riddance. In honor of Glenn Beck leaving Fox, the top 10 dumbass things he said about the environment:
What one man can accomplish in a few short years. Just let the crazy wash over you:
- Bill McKibben's climate change activism group 350.org is a communist plot March 2011
- Winter disproves global warming March 2010
- Beck peddles 'food insurance' kits: "More than peak oil or financial crash, I fear angry men armed to the teeth." November 2010
- Beck sneers at the food safety bill December 2010
- Race-baiting Beck insists Van Jones is a communist ex-con on a mission to dispense reparations for slavery September 2009
- Beck insists Van Jones is a black nationalist taking over the U.S. from the inside July 2009
- Not content with Van Jones resignation, Beck targets 'other radicals' September 2009
- Obama's clean energy agenda will destroy the economy, energy advisor Carol Browner is a socialist October 2009
- Cap and trade will cost American families $1,761 a year September 2009
- The smart grid is a socialist plot to steal our thermostats March 2009
Bonus! Here are a couple of clips charting the earliest evolution of Beck's denialism.
Beck indicts himself:
- Beck: Invisible Hand Of The Market Has Been Replaced By "The Invisible Hand Of George Soros," Obama, GE
3 hours and 31 minutes ago
- Beck, Crew Repeat Widely Disputed Claim That Green Jobs Put Spanish Economy "On The Verge Of Collapse"
3 hours and 50 minutes ago
- Beck Suggests DOJ, "State And Local Workers" Won't Safeguard Ballots In Likely WI Judicial Election Recount
4 hours and 26 minutes ago
- Beck: Obama Is "Merely A Player" In Globalist, Islamist Show
April 05, 2011 7:49 pm ET
- Beck Suggests New Conspiracy Theory: Maybe Obama Decided To Try Suspects At Guantanamo To Inflame The Islamic World
April 05, 2011 7:32 pm ET
- Showing Images Of Obama, SEIU, And Others, Beck Says He "Would Put A Lot Of These People In Jail"
April 05, 2011 7:25 pm ET
- Beck Predicts That This Will Be "The Summer Of Revolution"
April 05, 2011 6:58 pm ET
- Beck: "How Can Anyone Deny" That Islamists/Communists Stoked Protests In Middle East And Are Now Destabilizing Europe?
April 05, 2011 6:52 pm ET
- Beck Claims Violence "Come From ... Unions" Not The Right
April 05, 2011 6:20 pm ET
- Beck Smears Students Protesting In Wisconsin As Lenin's "Useful Idiots"
April 05, 2011 6:01 pm ET
- Beck On National Debt: The Earth Is "On Fire" And "Your Life ... [Is] About To Change" Just Like On 9-11
April 05, 2011 5:55 pm ET
- Beck: Union Leaders Are Communists, Socialists, Or Revolutionaries Who Want Destruction Of "Western Way Of Life"
April 05, 2011 5:36 pm ET
- Beck Proclaims His "Man-On-Man Love" For Rep. Paul Ryan And His Budget "Slash" Plan
April 05, 2011 12:34 pm ET
- Beck: Soros Conference On Economy Is "Almost As Shady And As Wonderful As When The Fed Met At Jekyll Island"
April 05, 2011 11:03 am ET
- Beck Somehow Links 9/11 To WI Election, Budget Cuts In Rant About How "The World Is On Fire"
April 05, 2011 7:54 am ET
- Beck Declares Rep. Paul Ryan "One Of The Only Serious People In Washington" After Budget Proposal
April 05, 2011 7:51 am ET
- Beck: WI Protests Part Of "A Global Movement To Destroy Capitalism And The Free Market System"
April 05, 2011 7:38 am ET
- Beck: Obama Admin Has "Continued To Deny Everything" About Health Care "Proven On This Network" Like Rationing
April 05, 2011 7:38 am ET
- Beck: It's "Absurd" To Say MLK Died While Fighting For Labor Rights
April 04, 2011 6:52 pm ET
The hits just keep on coming: of 122. This is Glenn Beck, in his own words, unedited, not out of context. Did Media Matters collect them? Yes.
But watch the clips for yourself, as much as you want, and decide for yourself how accurate or not he is.
He can be good comedy if he weren't so dangerous.