With Money Like This, Glenn Beck Doesn't Need Advertisers

Maybe some people will read the feature on Glenn Beck in The New York Times Magazine to find out how the guy ticks. Personally, I've always been more interested in what makes him ka-ching -- and as the story (which went up on the Web today) makes clear, it's less and less because of advertisers on Fox News. But don't worry, friends -- Beck is his own, self-supporting media being. He doesn't need no stinkin' advertisers, or at least not reputable ones.

Beck's advertising woes have been extensively covered by my BNET colleague Jim Edwards and to a lesser extent by me. B if the NYT story is to be believed, Beck's advertising picture is even bleaker than had previously been apparent. A boycott that gathered steam when Beck called President Obama "a racist" has now turned into a mass exodus -- nay, as Beck might phrase it, a holocaust. Apparently, 26 advertisers had begged off the show as of August of last year -- and now that number stands at 296!

No wonder, as Edwards reported in a post in July, the ad slots on Beck's show are primarily filled by News Corp. house ads and ads for non-profits. (Then, of course, there's the list of companies that can only be called paranoia peddlers, like Goldline, but that's another story.)

Maybe Fox News puts up with this, as Edwards says, because of News Corp.'s "stubborn" culture. Another reason is that, according to the NYT story, Beck currently makes only $2.5 million a year from his Fox News deal. That's a drop in the bucket when one considers that Fox News made upwards of $1.2 billion last year. Beck doesn't have to care about advertisers either, because, for him, too, his Fox contract is a drop in his personal financial bucket.

He's estimated to make $35 million a year from a combination of ventures that make it possible for him to come closer and closer to creating an advertiser-free zone. So the TV show's ratings aren't what they used to be? Not to worry! Yes, the radio show is ad-supported, but then there are the books, the live stage shows with the likes of Sarah Palin and Bill O'Reilly, sales of the Restoring Honor DVD, his magazine, Fusion, and his exclusive content club, called "Insider Extreme."

To that extent -- even as Beck often does his communicating using an old-fashioned chalkboard -- he's a 21st century media brand, and as with so many media brands these days, he's learning to rely not solely on advertising, but on consumers' wallets, to bring home the bacon.