Thinking of starting a new TV network? Better have lots of resources, possibly a proven advertising website track record and a couple of billion dollars hanging around.
Various reports have suggested a conservative-minded news organization could launch a new TV Network. The likely candidates could be Sinclair Broadcast Group, a Trump-backed effort, or even Breitbart News.
Sinclair has said publicly it isn’t interested, preferring to keep producing and growing its local TV station newscasts. A couple of weeks ago, Trump TV Network -- a virtual video PR site on YouTube -- was of note, for a day or so.
Now that Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon is back with Breitbart News, the thinking is that it will look to expand. Does that include building a TV network?
Some reports say its current track record -- when it comes to advertising -- will not lend itself to such an endeavor. One recent report says some 2,600 advertisers have left the Breitbart site due to controversial content.
Still, these are new times. Starting a TV-video network doesn’t necessary mean a TV-video network needs to be ad-supported. Former Fox News host Glenn Beck started TheBlaze in 2011 as a paid subscription/ad-supported TV hybrid site before moving on to some traditional pay TV providers.
To make a big splash, many believe getting into the ranks of a CNN, Fox News Channel or MSNBC is key. Recently, AT&T had been rumored, upon completion of its deal for Time Warner, to sell off CNN. But AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson has said there is little consideration for selling off the prized asset.
Analysts say CNN would come with a hefty $10 billion price tag. Not sure whether Robert Mercer, a billionaire hedge fund manager, and the Mercer family -- a big Breitbart News backer -- is even considering this course.
Plus, a recent quick observation of Breitbart's home page showed scant advertising -- a small right-side LowerMyBills.com ad, and in the key header position on the site, an ad for the Gaijin Entertainment video game “War Thunder.”
Does this sound familiar? One of the first things Bannon tweeted out upon his leaving the Trump Administration: #War.
Yes, a predictable role for any publishing executive chairman: Playing up to the sponsors. Well, that’s a start.