Glenn Beck Coming Back to TV in Dish Network Deal With The Blaze

News Channel Available as Part of Bundle or a La Carte

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Glenn Beck is returning to TV through a deal with the Dish Network, which will begin carrying his online news channel The Blaze TV.

Glenn Beck at Ad Age 's media conference last year.
Glenn Beck at Ad Age 's media conference last year.

Mr. Beck founded The Blaze, called GBTV until last month, last year after parting ways with Fox News. The Blaze says it has 300,000 subscribers, who pay either $9.95 per month for the service or $99.95 per year. That prompted Dish Network to take notice, said Christopher Balfe, president and chief operating officer at The Blaze, in a blog post on Wednesday.

The Blaze will become available to subscribers of Dish's "America's Top 250" package starting this evening, Mr. Balfe said. Other Dish subscribers can add The Blaze on an a la carte basis starting tomorrow for $5 per month. It will also remain available online and on other devices.

This is the first in what is expected to be several partnerships with other traditional cable and satellite providers.

Aside from Mr. Beck's daily show, The Blaze also includes nightly panel conversations, reality programming and a children's show, for a total of 35 hours of original programming a week. It also introduced a new program on Monday -- "Wilkow!" -- hosted by radio personality Andrew Wilkow.

Mr. Beck told Ad Age 's media conference last year that TV was on its way out, but wasn't gone yet. "I don't know anybody under 30 who is watching television," Mr. Beck said on stage.

"The problem is we are at a split right now," he added. "The generation that is my age -- slightly over 50, 55 -- they're not using iPad. They don't get it, they don't want it.... They're still using television, that 's their comfort zone. The younger generation, that 's not their comfort zone, it's a stupid box that you're tied to."

The Blaze said Wednesday that traditional TV is still the most efficient way to reach the widest breadth of viewers.

"While there is a huge proliferation of 'Smart' devices in homes, including Roku, Boxee, AppleTV, game consoles, and Smart TVs themselves, consumers would often rather just 'watch TV,'" Mr. Balfe wrote. "They don't want to switch inputs or choose from a vast menu of options, they just want to 'see what's on.' Many people don't want to watch TV on their computer, they want to watch TV on their TV -- and we'd like to make that as simple for them as possible."

"While I believe that we were right about the delivery of content moving to the internet, I think that payment for content is going to remain between cable/satellite companies and consumers for the foreseeable future," he continued. "I don't think that consumers want to have to subscribe separately to TheBlaze, CNN and HBO from three different places with three different interfaces and get three different monthly charges on their credit card."

The return to TV's more visible platform resurrects questions about advertising, an area where Mr. Beck has struggled in the past.

Major brand marketers began avoiding his Fox News show amid pressure over controversial comments he made, such as the assertion that President Barack Obama was racist against whites. While Mr. Beck drew around 3 million viewers per night during his peak on Fox News, by the time his show ended in July 2011, only a few advertisers -- mostly direct-response marketers -- were willing to associate with the program.

Mr. Balfe said in his blog post that every marketer that advertised with GBTV at the start remains with The Blaze today.

He also said talk radio demonstrates that political programming is a good place to advertise. "There is over $100 million spent each year on national talk0radio programs by advertisers who don't care about politics on one side or the other, but simply want to reach consumers effectively," he wrote.

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