Glenn Beck may be leaving his Fox News show on June 30, but fans are going to be able to see a lot more of him: Following the announcement of his new book division just a week ago, today Mercury Radio Arts, Beck’s multimedia production company, launched GBTV, a live, HD streaming, multi-platform video network featuring a new daily two-hour show; a simulcast of Beck’s radio show; and other original and licensed news and entertainment programming.
GBTV employs a tiered paywall: Subscribers can pay $4.95 a month for access to Beck’s two-hour daily show only, or $9.95 a month for GBTV Plus, providing access to the full slate of programming. The network will also be supported by advertising.
GBTV is launching with an instant base of 80,000 subscribers: All the members of Insider Extreme, Beck’s premium subscription site, will be migrated over to GBTV. Clear Channel Communications (OTCBB: CCMO) will promote GBTV on over 100 of its spoken word radio stations, which reach 13 million listeners each month. His radio show, The Glenn Beck Program, has over 10 million listeners a week.
The network officially kicks off on September 12. Beck’s new, two-hour show–titled Glenn Beck–premieres that day and will be broadcast live weekdays from 5 to 7 PM EST. Also starting on September 12, the network will be available on iPhones, iPads, and Roku. The New York Times notes that, because Glenn Beck will only be streamed on the internet and not on TV, it will not violate Beck’s exit agreement with Fox.
Former Fox News exec Joel Cheatwood, who joined Mercury Radio Arts earlier this year, will serve as GBTV’s president of programming and will also oversee Glenn Beck. Other programming is in the pipeline: GBTV has signed a development deal with bestselling author and TV producer Brad Thor and will air The 4th Hour, a show starring Glenn Beck Program contributors Pat Gray and Stu Burguiere that was previously on Insider Extreme. GBTV also aims to harness the popularity of Beck’s radio show by simulcasting it live on GBTV. Major League Baseball Advanced Media subsidiary Sports on Earth will provide the streaming services for GBTV.
Between now and September 12, GBTV will feature some preliminary programming, including the radio show simulcast and a behind-the-scenes reality show about the making of GBTV. That type of programming worked well for Oprah, whose Season 25: Oprah Behind the Scenes drew about 500,000 viewers a week on OWN.
GBTV is also launching social networking campaigns now. “We strongly believe that social sharing is going to play an important role in both growing GBTV and enhancing the experience for our subscribers,” said Chris Balfe, President and COO of Mercury Radio Arts. The first initiative is GBTV Merit Rewards on Facebook. When fans “like” GBTV or “check in” to the show on Facebook, they earn virtual currency that can be used to unlock exclusive content like documentary downloads and discount codes. Other social networking initiatives are in the works.