Accuracy in Media

Keith Olbermann named Glenn Beck the “Worst Person In the World” last night making light of the fact that Beck has lost 90% of his Fox News audience by moving to the Internet.

Olbermann questioned the shows finances claiming that at $5 per month Beck might gross just under $15 million per year while his production costs will run between $10 and $17 million plus advertising and Beck’s salary.

But Olbermann is assuming that the subscribers will only pay for Beck’s show and not GBTV’s other offerings, which cost an additional $5 per month, or that Beck’s audience will not grow, which is highly unlikely given his popularity.

The Wall Street Journal estimated that at the current level Beck could gross $20 million in the first year, but if he can double the number of subscribers he could wind up grossing $60 million or more.

In other words Beck will make plenty of money.

Before Olbermann makes light of Beck’s smaller audience he should check his own viewer numbers, which have been hovering around 200,000 since he launched. That is less than the 230,000 subscribers Beck had on day one.

Besides, comparing the audiences of a cable-television show to that of an online-only program is not an apples to apples comparison. It isn’t realistic to expect that Beck would have retained anything close to the audience he had at Fox, and Olbermann knows that.

But Olbermann has never let facts get in the way of a good story.

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