But if the enthusiasm was there, the desire to pay up was harder to come by. “No, I probably wouldn’t pay for it,” Griffin sighed, suggesting that if Trump didn’t launch a network he might consider “not watching news altogether.”
Kristen, a Trump supporter from Plant City, agreed that she’d watch, but said paying was a step too far. “It should be free,” she said. “The truth should be free and I shouldn’t have to pay just to get a nonbiased opinion.” Of the 41 people BuzzFeed News spoke with over two days, eight indicated they’d pay for any kind of Trump offering.
That kind of apathy doesn’t bode well for potential business models. Given the costs of setting up a cable news network, an online streaming or subscription VOD service — like that of Glenn Beck’s GBTV — might make the most financial sense for Trump. A recent report by Reuters suggested that at $9.99 per month Trump would might need more than 500,000 subscribers to break even.
But fleshing out a large enough subscriber base has proved challenging, even for formidable brands and companies. The Canadian telecoms company Rogers announced it will shutter its Netflix competitor, Shomi, next month after securing only 700,000 subscribers and will book a substantial loss on the project of near $100 million. In Australia, Foxtel’s $10-a-month streaming video service will also close down this month after it was unable to attract enough paying customers.