Leaving Fox News has turned out to be a pretty good business move for Glenn Beck. By the end of this year, 18 months after he got out of the 24-hour cable news business and struck out on his own as an internet broadcasting pioneer, Beck will have doubled the revenues of his company, Mercury Radio Arts, from $40 million to $80 million, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The extra $40 million is the amount that Beck’s new internet channel, GBTV, is on pace to meet or exceed in 2012. Viewers pay a monthly subscription fee of up to $9.95 for access to programming that includes Beck’s two-hour daily broadcast, a children’s show and a reality show. More than 300,000 subscribers have already signed up, a number that, as WSJ notes, already exceeds the average audience of many cable channels, including CNBC and Fox BusinessNetwork.
However, GBTV’s rate of growth has moderated considerably from its torrid pace of last summer. From June to September 2012, Beck’s subscriber total nearly tripled, going from 80,000 (the number who subscribed to Insider Extreme, GBTV’s predecessor) to 230,000.
That it’s added “only” another 70,000 new subscribers since then suggests that the audience of Beck diehards willing to pay for video content not covered by their cable subscriptions isn’t infinite. Certainly, it makes analyst Rich Greenfield’s forecastthat GBTV’s subscriber base could grow to 1 million look over-optimistic.
On the other hand, with Glenn Beck Inc.’s total top line now expected to surpass $80 million this year,my prediction that his empire will break the $100 million barrier sooner than later is looking pretty safe.