President Trump seems to be already planning his post-presidency life, according to reports from the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) and Variety.
The WSJ reported a Republican-led group with ties to Trump is planning to make a $200 million offer for Newsmax TV. However, according to Variety, Christopher Ruddy, the CEO and founder of Newsmax TV is saying no thanks to turning Newsmax into Trump TV.
The startup conservative-leaning channel saw its viewership increase on election night, and the weeks following as Trump supporters upset with Fox News election night coverage switched to the channel.
The recent surge in viewers has led the Newsmax CEO to boldly say he'd like to overtake Fox News in 12 months and believe it's do-able. I understand his enthusiasm and confidence in his brand, but surpassing a brand as established as Fox News in little over a year seems like a farfetched proposition.
While Newsmax is not interested in becoming Trump TV, the CEO has offered Trump his own show on the channel.
With a deal probably not happening with Newsmax and Trump having a love/hate relationship with Fox News, if Trump wants to become a cable news star, what are his options?
He could have a show on One America News Network or even buy the channel. However, with limited distribution on cable and satellite, I doubt Trump would consider a deal as he would want to reach a larger audience.
His other, and really best option, is to start his own over-the-top (OTT) subscription service. The First, a free conservative OTT service featuring Bill O'Reilly, is showing early success.
However, a free service may not work for Trump because it would be difficult for the streaming service to find sponsors. Trump is controversial, and a brand does not want to be associated with anything that would create negative PR for them.
Some brands would advertise on Trump TV, but other than the My Pillow guy, I'm not sure there are enough big name brands that would advertise.
A subscription service promoted to Trump's MAGA supporters would work, and they would be willing to pay for the streaming channel. With over 70 million votes in the 2020 election for Trump, he already has a base of potential subscribers that is really unmatched.
A Trump organized channel would also allow him to control the narrative of the news and how it's presented on the network. With Fox News apparently "fake news" now, Trump TV would provide his supporters with the TV content they could once find on Fox.
Finally, Trump TV would keep his name in the news and trending on social media as clips would be shared on Facebook and Twitter. A channel could also be the launching pad for a 2024 bid if he decides to run again.
Whatever Trump decides to do, one thing is for certain, and that is Trump is not going anywhere. He is going to remain a major political and media player for years to come.
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