Let's pretend for one second that Donald Trump really is using his run for president as a doorway to creating his own cable TV network. If in fact Mr. Trump loses the election and then parlays his candidacy into a TV channel, it begs the question, will advertisers follow?
It's an understatement to say Mr. Trump's campaign has been wrought with controversy. Mr. Trump has been slammed for his temperament, accused of past sexual assualts and perceived by many as a bigot and sexist. He has become the sort of personality that major advertisers typically give wide berth.
That being said, Mr. Trump's candidacy has been a boon for media. Love him or hate him, viewers are tuning in en masse to debates and his rallies simply to see what he will say next. And while advertisers may fear controversy, they do love ratings, especially in a TV landscape where viewership continues to dwindle.
Speculation arose again this week about Mr. Trump's media ambitions, with the Financial Times reporting that his son-in-law Jared Kushner, owner of the New York Observer, met with media dealmaker Aryeh Bourkoff, founder and CEO of investment firm LionTree, about the prospect of creating a Trump TV network.
For his part, Mr. Trump has publicly denied the rumors. But if a TV network is part of his grand plan, Mr. Trump is at least surrounding himself with the right people. Breitbart Chairman Stephen Bannon is leading his campaign, while ousted Fox News CEO Roger Ailes is an advisor. (Mr. Ailes this summer reportedly signed a noncompete agreement barring him from going to another news network for four years.)
Mr. Trump wouldn't be the first politician to get into the media business, though none of have been successes. Former Vice President Al Gore created the now defunct Current TV, while former Republican candidates Sarah Palin and Herman Cain launched subscription services, both of which were short lived.
Of course, as has been suggested, Mr. Trump may not even need to worry about finding advertisers if he decides to instead create a subscription video service and relies entirely or largely on revenue from viewers.
So would you advertise on Trump TV? And would you tune in to watch?