Former Fox News Channel host Glenn Beck starts the new two-hour online video version of his show tonight, and analyst Richard Greenfield of BTIG Research says the rest of the media world should be paying attention-and be more than a bit concerned.Beck, who parted ways with Fox News in June, is making the show available to GBTV subscribers for $4.95 a month (there’s a 14-day free trial). GBTV-Plus subscribers pay $9.95 per month and also get his radio shows and specials.
Greenfield says GBTV is closing in on 250,000 subscribers, having added 170,000 subscribers in the last three months. Greenfield presumes the majority of subscribers are paying the $9.95 a month for GBTV-Plus. That would mean Beck is already on pace to generate $27 million in subscriber fees annually, much more than he made at Fox News, with just 1% of the people who watched him currently signed up.
Sponsorship or advertising within the show should create another meaningful revenue stream for Beck, Greenfield says, adding that Beck-rather than any network-retains total control and ownership of his library.
And as GBTV’s subscriber base rises, he expects Beck will create additional content and license content from third parties to build a full-day network.
Greenfield says traditional media executives ought to be more focused on what Beck is doing. “We believe they should be very afraid of the disintermediation underlying the launch of GBTV,” Greenfield says.