Remember Glenn Beck? Yeah, he hasn't really been making headlines this summer. (Well, actually, that's not quite true.) But still, he's largely been absent from the media scene since finishing up his Fox News show at the end of June. But that doesn't mean he hasn't been busy. In fact, he's starting his own online television network, called GBTV, which launches today, and already there are signs that it will be highly successful. According to today's Wall Street Journal, the network has already subscribed 230,000 people without airing a single program--74 million more viewers on average than the Oprah Winfrey Network on cable.
When GBTV (tagline: "The truth lives here.") was first announced in June, it had 80,000 followers. That's about a 290 percent jump in two months. The same Journal article has a source at Mercury Radio Arts, Beck's media property, as saying GBTV is "on track" to rake in $20 million in revenue in its first year. Beck, with full ownership of his new show, will likely make significantly more than his $2.5 million salary at Fox News.
For those irked by Beck's brand of conservative ideology, his network's success isn't all bad news. It may pave the way for other online TV platforms. According to The Journal, "The television industry will be watching closely to see whether the TV host can preserve his popularity while migrating to the Web, where efforts to get consumers to pay to watch online-only channels are just beginning." Perhaps Beck's relative success online (and Oprah's relative failure on cable) in the personality-driven TV network business is a bellwether for the future of television.