|Glenn Beck Wants YOU . . .|
to watch his show.
Beck's eponymous talk show posted the steepest ratings declines for any cable news program. Glenn Beck averaged 1.8 million viewers, down 39% vs. January 2010. In 25-54, the drop was even bigger, 48%, to 397,000. Some of the losses could be explained by tough comparisons to last January, which was one of the highest-rated in Fox News' history, fueled largely by coverage of the Massachusetts governor race. Still, this is a very steep decline for Beck, who peaked at 2.8 million viewers in 2009, drawing more viewers than all of his cable news competitors combined.The piece softens this assessment by pointing out that all news talk shows are taking a beating at the ratings. (Which makes sense, if you think about it: Our current reality sucks, so people are turning to escapist fare, rather than confrontational shows, or news shows.)
But what’s really killing Beck’s show are the advertisers—specifically, the number of advertisers who refuse to run ads during his show. Again, quoth DH:
After all, the whole point of ratings is to determine the rate your advertisers will pay you. If you don’t have any advertisers—or if they are inconsequential, low-dollar advertisers—then having the highest ratings ever doesn’t mean a thing.
This is why Beck’s media fate is worth paying attention to: He’s popular, but he’s not bringing in big-time advertising revenue. So he just might get the boot.
A lot of people—Left, Right and Center—despise Glenn Beck. But irrespective of what one thinks of him and his political “philosophy”, he certainly does bring diversity to the mainstream media pap—a rather stark contrast to the high-energy, quick-talking, carefully polished, but altogether bland offerings elsewhere in media-land.
However, Fox News just might drop him, if he doesn’t deliver the income that he should from the advertisers. His ratings are merely a derivative of the really important number—his show’s ad revenue.
Roger Ailes, the boss of Fox News, might share Beck’s politics—but bottom-line, it’s about the bottom-line. Ailes wants Fox to make money—but Beck is hamstrung in this regard. The big advertisers have black-balled his show—and at this point in time, and there is nothing that Beck or Fox can do to bring them back.
This is an example of how corporations can so easily squeeze out dissenting voices. Whatever one might think of Beck, Keith Olbermann, Rachel Maddow, John Stewart, Rush Limbaugh, and so on, the example of Glenn Beck shows how easily a few corporations can torpedo that dissent from the mainstream.
Is that what a healthy society should have? A mass media that only allows a few carefully bland parrots in the cage?