Tucker Carlson’s acrimonious uncoupling from Fox News might just be the best thing to ever happen to him. Not only does he leave a gaping hole in the 8 p.m. hour, with execs likely gnashing their teeth at the prospect of trying to replace him and the ad revenue, he’s setting off on a new adventure that will make Elon Musk’s Twitter the gold standard platform for honest journalists, thought leaders and intrepid content creators.
That sound you hear is the establishment media breaking into a million pieces.
We’re back. pic.twitter.com/sG5t9gr60O
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) May 9, 2023
As Tucker noted in this video, Twitter is the only major media platform in the world that is committed to free speech:
Twitter has long served as the place where our national conversation incubates and develops. Twitter is not a partisan site. Everybody’s allowed here, and we think that’s a good thing.
That’s a good thing, indeed. Twitter’s accessibility and commitment to free speech make it a great incubator for the rebirth of honest journalism and reporting, something for which there is demonstrably an appetite, judging from the success of independent journalists on platforms like Substack and Rumble.
Let’s talk numbers.
Tucker was reportedly making around $20 million per year. His contract with Fox News would be worth roughly $40 million through its end date of January 2025. Fox News wants to keep paying him, of course, in order to keep him from signing with a competitor or, worse yet, starting his own media empire that sets an entirely new standard for journalism and leaves entities like Fox News in the dust.
Of course, $40 million is a decent chunk of change. No question, that’s a lot of money Tucker would be leaving on the table if/when he’s able to get out his contract.
Here’s the thing, though: He’ll make much, much more by taking his show to Twitter, which opens up multiple revenue streams for him. It’s a model that could easily be replicated by others, with top cover being provided by Elon Musk himself. And it’s a model that would be a reckoning for the establishment media, with all-important ad dollars leaving cable and broadcast news (does that even still exist?) and migrating to independent platforms and creators.
First, there are sponsorships. If we use the CPM (cost per one thousand) model, Tucker could easily command a best-in-class rate of $40 from advertisers (and there are plenty looking to support free speech!). That’s $40 for every one thousand listens, views, or downloads. We know that his two recent Twitter videos garnered millions of views and his show averaged around three million viewers, so we can safely estimate a Twitter viewership of at least two million (and that’s probably low). That means Tucker could charge $80,000 for each ad he reads during the show. And he would likely do at least three ads per show, and possibly more, bringing the daily total to $240,000. You can see how he could quickly and easily surpass his Fox News earnings just on sponsorships.
I also want to be clear that we have not signed a deal of any kind whatsoever. Tucker is subject to the same rules & rewards of all content creators.
Rewards means subscriptions and advertising revenue share (coming soon), which is a function of how many people subscribe and the advertising views associated with the content. I hope that many others, particularly from the left, also choose to be content creators on this platform.
It has been estimated that Tucker could make around $36 million per year if he’s able to convert one-quarter of his Fox audience into paying members. Cha-ching.
Let’s not forget email and texting. At the end of Tucker’s latest Twitter video, viewers were directed to sign up on his website or invited to connect via SMS. This is good stuff. Email lists are a great way for personalities to engage directly with their supporters and connect them with brands that value conservative consumers. SMS ads can be tricky (and annoying), but, let’s be honest, who wouldn’t want to get a text from Tucker, particularly if it’s an alert about an important news story that the legacy media is suppressing? Email and SMS could easily add another million or two per year to the Tucker juggernaut.
The whole thing is astonishing, really. All it takes is one brave and charismatic truth-teller (Tucker) and one ardent free speech advocate (Elon) to innovate an exciting new media model that rewards the audience with reliable and quality content. It’s the journalistic version of cold fusion and we’re watching the whole thing unfold in real time on Twitter. Enjoy.
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