Back in June Glenn Beck revealed his new Internet channel GBTV in a hourlong free livestream.
Eventually viewers will have to pay between $4.95 and $9.95 a month to subscribe.
At the time the result was impressive, not the least because Beck himself seemed to have regained some of the lightheartedness and humour so notably missing on his FOX News show in its last few months.
More importantly, it was engaging. (The Soros cartoon was merely an added bonus, but more on that later).
What’s clear is that Beck’s team has no real interest in producing a web show; they fully intend to turn-out a high quality television show that just happens to air on the web.
It’s a strategy that has a resulted in a lot of speculation and scepticism from media types (and presumably the attention of a LOT of media execs) but which in the viewing feels like far less of a stretch — watching TV online isn’t exactly a new thing, in fact it’d be interesting to know how many people actually see the Daily Show during its airtime vs. next day clip viewing.
“No one over 55 is using Netflix, no one under 25 is watching TV,” remarked Beck at one point. It’s a prescient and sharp observation and defines exactly the space both GBTV and just about every other media brand is going to have to figure out how to navigate in the next five years, it’s simply that Beck got there first.
The challenge of course will be to get people to pay for it. And judging from last night’s livestream there will be a lot to pay for. Beck and team have laid out some very big plans (no one step at a time launch here!). Whether or not they can pull it off obviously remains to be seen, but after viewing it’s no surprise FOX head Roger Ailes felt Beck was getting too big for comfort.
Today the Wall St. Journal reported that 230,000 people had signed up (including the 80,000 who already belonged to Insider Extreme) ahead of tonight’s premiere but Beck on track to pull in a $20 million profit in the first year.
So! What can you expect?
Here are the highlights. Hint: They include Walt, Disney, Joplin, a clothing line, a futuristic Founding Fathers graphic novel, a comedy show, and a George Soros cartoon.
No more. His new model is Walt Disney: 'Tonight we begin to find our mouse.' (And yes, there is a theme park in the works).
As mentioned earlier, the smartest thing he said was that 'no one over 55 is using Netflix and no one under 25 is watching TV' and that the challenge for GBTV would be to 'merge these two.' Also, that the gatekeepers are no longer the powers they once were 'why are we still accepting this with our information.'
They are also planning new verticals including Faith, Economy, Education, and Books. Watch out HuffPo?
Beck's company Mercury has already optioned a number of books for film -- which ties nicely into his new Simon&Schuster imprint.
He also revealed that along with the GBTV studio in NYC they are building at least one other studio that's big enough to 'make television, radio, and movies out of.'
Graphic TV! As in animated. Additionally, Beck is planning a graphic novel about the Founding Fathers, set in the future, but without the wigs and outdated language.
'It will be a dark story.'
He apparently wanted to go to Joplin and FOX said no because it was too expensive and that he would be in the way. He agreed with the second part.
However part of GBTV will apparently be connecting people with resources and each other in order to help out during disasters. Sounds sort of like the Red Cross meets Oprah's Angel Network. By the way, that's apparently George Washington's compass.
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