Glenn Beck And Dish Network: The Beginning Of The End For Pay TV Tyranny?

As a new network with no corporate parentage and no legacy restrictions, The Blaze can afford to negotiate deals that allow it to satisfy both pay-TV subscribers and cord-cutters. If enough networks like this emerge, it could pressure the Time Warners of the world into unlocking their self-administered handcuffs and give viewers an online-only option. If that happens, Beck will have truly helped create some of that thing he loves so much to talk about: freedom.

Glenn Beck, American hero (to cord-cutters, at least)

Glenn Beck likes to style himself a sort of latter-day Revolutionary War hero, rallying the forces of freedom to rise up against oppression. Whatever you think of his politics, the analogy is apt in at least one regard: The deal he just made to put his fledgling internet news channel on Dish Network may be remembered as the Shot Heard ’round the World in the battle to break cable distributors’ stranglehold on network content.

Starting at 5 p.m. Eastern time today, Beck’s channel, The Blaze, will be channel 212 in Dish Network’s 14 million households. It will be included as part of a 250-channel package, or available as a premium channel, for $5 a month, to those who receive a more basic package.

In sheer dollar terms, the deal is big but not gigantic for Beck’s company. Dish will reportedly pay a “small” per-subscriber carriage fee, which likely means 5 cents to 10 cents per month per household. In its first year, then, the agreement will yield subscription revenues of less than $16 million. That’s not earth-shattering for a man whose multi-media empire was already closing in on revenues of $100 million even before he signed a new five-year, $100 million radio contract.


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