Is Glenn Beck Bigger Than The Network?

Glenn Beck, who had a show on Fox News Channel for a couple of years, has been gone from that network for almost two weeks. He is involved in a new venture, GBTV – which I suppose stands for Glenn Beck Television – which will be reportedly airing his show beginning in September. GBTV has a website and is Internet based.

GBTV is selling subscriptions. How are they doing with that? I haven’t a clue. But I do have some thoughts on Glenn Beck and his new venture.

Have I ever seen Glenn Beck on television? Yes. Have I watched Glenn Beck with any frequency? No. Will I be subscribing to Glenn Beck’s new venture? No. Why won’t I subscribe? Well, two reasons come to mind:

1.) I rarely watched Glenn Beck for free. I am not now going to pay so I can continue to rarely watch him.

2.) I don’t subscribe to any media offering online. I don’t feel there is a need to. Maybe I’ve been spoiled. There continues to be so much quality content available for free, I just don’t feel I need to pay for any. There is plenty of junk online, but it is not difficult to sift through it and find some good sites to rely on for news and editorial. Plus, things are tough economically.

A lot has been said about Mr. Beck’s on air delivery. People have discussed his success. There has been discussion of his political views, etc. I will touch none of that. I will, though, ask one question. Is Glenn Beck bigger than the network?

It is true, that some individuals in the media leave one high profile gig to go on to another one for even more money. Howard Stern’s move to satellite radio comes to mind. All reports lead me to believe that Mr. Stern did very well, economically, by moving from terrestrial radio to satellite radio.

However, for every story like Howard Stern’s, I suspect there are many individuals who left mainstream media outlets and found themselves, in a short amount of time, to be less than relevant to the general public.

Whatever anyone’s views on Mr. Beck, it will be interesting to see if an individual who garnered a large audience on network television, in a relatively short time, can successfully take that audience with him to the Internet and make money, big money. I believe this will have substantial ramifications for many media figures.

Thanks oncoming convergence between television and the Internet, is it possible that each significant media figure will be able to develop their own online TV channel? Would that mean talent could now exert complete control over their offering?

I think complete control would be overstating. After all, an individual would still have to appeal to their advertisers and subscriber base. We all have bosses, even if we are self-employed. Complete autonomy is more illusion than reality.

Glenn Beck meeting with great success may tell us something important about the future. Could TKKC be next? That would be The Kim Kardashian Channel. I am kind of kidding but not really. It is that kind of world.

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