Christopher Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media, is planning to launch NewsmaxTV in June, a 24-hour cable news channel that will be, he says, a kinder, gentler Fox. “Our goal is to be a little more boomer-oriented, more information-based rather than being vituperative and polarizing,” he told Bloomberg Businessweek. Ruddy says he can make NewsmaxTV profitable entirely through advertising and selling Newsmax’s consumer products over the air, similar to QVC and Home Shopping Network.
He’s quick to add that he doesn’t need to beat Fox News, he just needs to shave off a little of its audience—particularly those conservatives who feel Fox has drifted too far to the right. “If we take 10 to 15% of the Fox audience and they are making $1 billion a year, then we are going to be hugely profitable, he told Bloomberg Businessweek.
Newsmax, which had revenue of $104 million in 2013, up from $85 million the year before, is perhaps best known for its namesake, 200,000-circulation monthly magazine. Newsmax, the corporation offers a lot of content: political, health, and financial information, self-help books, and vitamin supplements pushed through the website and e-mail lists. The company made $46 million in subscription revenue from its 17 newsletters and $6 million from vitamin supplements in 2013. There’s been no serious conservative competitor to Fox News, and Ruddy has never understood why: “How do you have something so successful in cable that nobody else wants to imitate or cut into their market share? It defies reason.”
RBR-TVBR observation: It’s all about carriage. This will likely be offered as a multicast network, so local affiliates will get an ad share. The more affiliates Ruddy gets, the more local cable operators will carry it as well. If he tries a straight deal with the Comcasts and Charters of this world, it may be much harder to get enough carriage to compete.