Is Murdoch in denial about Glenn Beck ad boycott?

Blog ››› ››› ERIC BOEHLERT

During a conference call with analysts this week, Fox News chairman Rupert Murdoch was asked what affect the ad boycott (200 strong at last count) had had on Glenn Beck. Murdoch shrugged the boycott off:

"They're not boycotting watching it because it's getting incredible numbers," he said. "We have not lost any business at all; some [advertisers] may have moved to other programs," but "it has not affected the total revenues or the profits."

Right, and denial aint just a river in Egypt.

First, as Media Matters has noted many, many times this year, Glenn Beck has lost approximately one million viewers since January. Yes, the show still draws impressive numbers. But for Murdoch to suggest the viewership is "incredible," when it's off roughly 33% from its peak is rather amusing.

But what about the hundreds of advertisers who have publicly committed to not advertise on the increasingly loony Glenn Beck, to the point where it is virtually impossible to find any blue chip advertisers on the program. (The breadth of the boycott is likely unmatched in the history of American television.) On that front, Murdoch suggests that Fox News has magically been able to absorb the advertising walkout: "It has not affected the total revenues or the profits."

Recall this piece of research from ColorOfChange, which helped launch the boycott [emphasis added]:

According to the data collected, the amount of money spent by national advertisers on Beck's program per week was at its highest at approximately $1,060,000, for the week ending August 2, 2009. launched their campaign at the end of that week and since then, 62 advertisers have distanced themselves from Beck. Data collected for the week ending September 6, 2009 shows Beck's estimated ad revenue at $492,000, equal to a loss of $568,000.

Last September as the boycott began to kick in, Glenn Beck's revenue was reportedly off $600,000 per-week. And since then, the boycott has only widened.

Here's the graph Gawker published last September, detailing Beck's revenue dive:

Last point: Murdoch claims Fox News hasn't lost money from the Glenn Beck boycott because the companies that won't touch that show are being slotted into other time slots. Meaning, Fox News has been able to work around the mass exodus. But that if there had never been a boycott? What if Glenn Beck were one of Fox News's highest rated shows and advertisers wanted to be associated with the program?

Answer: Fox News could charge a much higher ad rate and make more money, which means that yes, the boycott has likely cost Fox News millions in lost revenue.

But shhhh, don' tell Rupert.

UPDATED: This isn't the first time Murdoch has appeared to be unaware about key issues regarding Fox News.

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