“No Man’s life liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session”.

- attributed to NY State Judge Gideon Tucker

Friday, July 1, 2011

Glenn Beck's Next Act

You have to hand it to Glenn Beck- he's more farsighted than even Ophrah Winfrey.

The talk show host who William F. Buckley used to describe as "that woman who is large, gets thin, then large again," recently created her own cable network, leaving one of the major broadcasters poorer as she consolidated her financial resources.

But, listening to the after-show hour-long infomercial on GBTV last night, I think Beck went her one better.

I'll probably write a longer post about this on my business blog in the next week or so. Over the past few years, I've argued in several posts (which I don't have time to find and link this morning) there that there's no reason for a well-known, talented person like, say, Larry David, to run his new programs on cable television. By using YouTube, his own funds, bank loans, a website and PayPal, he could easily self-distribute his next project and keep all the distribution fees.

Glenn Beck is doing just that.

He evidently became clued in a year or so ago when an interviewer asked when Beck would just move to the web?

Well, Beck told everyone to go to his website to see where he's going. The website announced GBTV. When you clicked on the button, it brought you to a page on which the paid membership options were presented, along with a one-hour infomercial describing Beck's new array of businesses- publishing, clothing, news, opinion, and more.

His streaming website is available on all platforms, with the display technology managed, literally, by the same outfit that does it for MLB.

I saw something like this peaking through Beck's various initiatives of the past few years. A sort of combination of John Doe clubs, new media and the web.

Beck will now stream his record-shattering 5-6PM Fox News program format from his own website from 5-7PM. The rest of the day will feature other programs with varying formats. He's bringing a clothing line out which will be produced in selected down-at-the-heels American towns. For that, he's borrowing a page from Paul Newman's businesses and using the proceeds as charity to fund some of his other activities.

I think in some sense, Beck decided to regain total control of his empire, originally centered on his radio program, and become less-dependent upon advertisers and network foibles. This will coincidentally allow Beck to become a sprawling, many-tentacled conservative counterweight to his liberal nemesis, mega-rich progressive George Soros.

More later on this topic.....

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