This came with the expectation that Trump would be defeated.
Four years later, those expectations may be in the works again, especially now with a sharply declining economy, COVID-19 issues, and still weak approval ratings that could spell defeat for a Trump second term.
This comes as The Wall Street Journal reported in January that Hicks Equity Partners was in talks to invest $250 million to acquire OANN, a midsized cable TV news network, from parent company Herring Networks Inc.
OANN (One America News Network) has around 35 million subscribers.
The connection to Trump is that Donald Trump Jr. -- who is close friends with the Hicks family, per the story -- could be involved in a potential equity deal. However, a statement from Donald Trump Jr.‘s spokesperson told Vanity Fair he was not involved.
Some of this speculation has swirled around Trump, given his recent critical (but still mostly positive) view of Fox News Channel, which many see as a huge Trump Administration booster.
The idea is that a hard-core number of Fox News Channel viewers would follow the Trumps to a new TV news channel, which would be used as a promotional platform for all things Trump.
Presidential administrations grab massive amounts of awareness during any four-year term. Trump could be looking to cash in on his marketing value.
But running a TV network operation -- news or otherwise -- is not an easy task. It’s not like buying real estate, building it up and then walking away after some condo sales.
And then there is scale to consider.
Take the estimate of OANN’s 35 million TV homes, which is about 30% of all U.S TV households -- around 120 million -- and match that with Trump’s approval rating — currently around 42% to 44%. Is that enough?
Any TV news network needs to reach viewers far and wide to be effective, get viewership, and more importantly, advertising revenue. A digital platform? That can be a smaller, more focused effort.
Surely, there are many TV news advertisers -- direct-response marketers -- that don’t put any political value on TV content. But what about bigger brand advertisers?
Remember, it was Mark Burnett (executive producer) and NBC (broadcaster) taking the bigger risks in making “The Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice” the money-making shows they were.
Trump? Perhaps a good casting decision. But there was little-to-no downside for Trump if the shows failed. Kind of like losing a presidential election.
So to help Trump in any TV venture, he will need major partners -- with little cash outlay from Trump himself.
One may think Trump helped Fox News Channel to its big viewership numbers in the past four years. But there needs to be much more than just Trump-related content for a news TV operation to survive.
And considering Trump’s iffy history when it comes to some business deals, any partner will want major guarantees. They call it show business, don’t they?