One year after officially announcing his new web-TV venture GBTV, former Fox News host Glenn Beck is changing it up. Beck’s company, Mercury Radio Arts, will merge GBTV with TheBlaze.com, its news and opinion website, and Markdown.com, its eCommerce site, into one multimedia company, to be called TheBlaze.
As part of the merger, GBTV will now be called TheBlaze TV. CNN’s Steve Krakauer spoke to Beck about the change:
“I didn’t like the name GBTV from the very beginning for a couple of reasons,” Beck said in an exclusive interview with CNN.com. “One, it’s a little egocentric, and two, it’s television, which doesn’t describe necessarily what we do.”
Executives at GBTV and TheBlaze, who include former Fox News executive Joel Cheatwood, Premiere Radio Networks executive Kraig Kitchin and former Huffington Post CEO Betsy Morgan will take on slightly tweaked roles in the new venture as co-presidents, each overseeing an aspect of the new company. More information on those roles, after the jump.
For GBTV, the move helps align the company’s fastest-growing properties under one umbrella. TheBlaze.com has quickly established itself as a viable news and commentary site, while GBTV continues to add new subscribers every month. By combining resources and a name, the company may be able to shuttle visitors back and forth, and make it easier for new visitors to wrap their head around the products the company produces.
MERCURY RADIO ARTS MERGES STREAMING VIDEO NETWORK GBTV WITH NEWS AND INFORMATION SITE THEBLAZE TO CREATE A SINGLE MULTIPLATFORM MEDIA COMPANY
Merger Builds on the Quick Success of both GBTV and TheBlaze Which Receives Over 7 Million Unique Visitors Per Month
Combines GBTV’s Line-up of Programming With TheBlaze.com’s Growing Team of More than 25 Journalists Into One Powerful Brand
Mercury’s E-Commerce Site The Marketplace by Markdown.com, Will Also Be Integrated Into New Entity
The Merged Network, Called TheBlaze Will Be An Online News, Information, Entertainment and E-Commerce Destination Spanning Video, Radio, Publishing and The Internet
(New York, NY and Dallas, TX June 18th) Mercury Radio Arts, Glenn Beck’s multi-media production company, announced today that it is merging GBTV, its streaming video network with TheBlaze, its news and information website to create a single multiplatform media company. The new entity, which will be known as TheBlaze, combines one of the world’s largest subscription streaming video networks with a website that generates over 7 million unique visitors per month into one powerful multimedia brand. TheBlaze, which will soon offer video content on a 24/7 basis, will be a news, information, entertainment, and e-commerce network, spanning all media including video, radio, publishing, and the Internet.
Glenn Beck said: “I said from the very beginning that I did not want to call the network GBTV, and a year later I finally got my way. We have ambitious plans for this network and combining the power of GBTV and TheBlaze will help us build upon our success.”
The Marketplace by Markdown.com will also be integrated directly into TheBlaze.com, giving small businesses that participate in the marketplace access to an even larger audience of potential consumers, and rounding out TheBlaze’s revenue mix to include e-commerce.
TheBlaze will offer a mix of premium subscription video content and free content:
The premium subscription content will be what is currently known as GBTV, a streaming video network featuring Glenn’s weekday show. Since its launch in September 2011, the network has already added a wide range of original programming, including the reality show Independence USA, the kid’s show Liberty TreeHouse, the news show Real News, and the comedy news show The B.S. of A, totaling over 34 hours of original programming per week. The network will soon provide video content on a 24/7 basis. Beginning later this year, existing subscribers to GBTV.com will be automatically redirected to TheBlaze.com. The network will also continue to be available on iOS devices, Roku and Boxee.
The free content will be available at TheBlaze.com and will continue to include a mix of original reporting, curated content and opinion pieces.
Christopher Balfe, President and COO of Mercury said: “TheBlaze and GBTV have each proven to be incredible success stories in a very short period of time. Combining them will help us accelerate future growth by focusing on one world-class brand that offers the best of everything we produce in a single destination.”
TheBlaze’s executive team, which will report to Balfe, brings years of experience from leadership level positions in television, radio and digital media:
Betsy Morgan, formerly President of TheBlaze is being promoted to President & Chief Strategy Officer of the combined company. Prior to joining Mercury, Morgan was CEO of The Huffington Post and a Senior Vice President at CBS News.
Joel Cheatwood, formerly President of Programming at GBTV is being promoted to President & Chief Content Officer of TheBlaze. Prior to joining Mercury, Cheatwood was a Senior Vice President at FoxNews and CNN.
Kraig Kitchin, formerly Director of Ad Sales at TheBlaze is
being promoted to President & Chief Revenue Officer of the combined company. Prior to joining Mercury, Kitchin co-founded Premiere Radio Networks-the top radio network in the country and the distributor of Glenn’s radio show.
Carolyn Polke, formerly Senior Vice President of Digital at Mercury is being promoted to President & Chief Operating Officer of TheBlaze. Carolyn has helped spearhead Mercury’s recent digital growth. Previously, she was a consultant at Accenture.
Scott Baker, who has been with TheBlaze.com since its launch, will continue in his role as Editor-in-Chief.
TheBlaze will be fully integrated with The Marketplace by Markdown.com, a curated marketplace platform to help local small businesses reach consumers across the country. Keith Ferry, former President of Markdown joins TheBlaze as Senior Vice President of Digital.
TheBlaze also includes a monthly magazine and news updates delivered each morning on Glenn’s radio show.