Is Glenn Beck's Ad Revenue Imploding?

Glenn Beck has been losing advertisers for a few months now, but Fox News continues to claim that they're not losing revenue, they're just moving around advertisers to keep the sensitive companies away from Beck's unique blend of proto-patriotic neo-apocalpytic humor. But Gawker gets their hands on some information that suggests Beck's advertising revenue has cratered:


Here's the graph:
 




















And's Gawker's description of the source:

We've been told the source and shown the raw data on the condition that we don't reveal where it came from: a well-known firm that tracks advertising revenue and sells its proprietary data. The firm monitors advertising on shows and uses rate-cards, ratings information, and its own industry contacts to estimate how much advertisers paid for each spot. While the firm sometimes performs analysis for the media, it generally doesn't like its proprietary information becoming public, which is why Color of Change won't let anyone say where it came from. While the numbers are only estimates and can't really account for the sorts of deals networks make with advertisers all the time, the firm is respected and regularly used as a best-guess estimate of ad revenue.

Gawker says the chart "puts to lie" the claim that Fox News isn't losing money by keeping Glenn Beck on the air. I don't know. Shadowy guesstimation that one show is losing ad revenue doesn't make it a scientific fact that Fox News is losing ad revenue overall. Fox News has called the graph "wildly inaccurate on all fronts." A battle for truth between an anonymous corporate tipster and a Fox News flack is one that I am unqualified and unwilling to referee.

In any case, I continue to find the plight of Glenn Beck bizarrely fascinating. Here's a guy who runs the third-most popular cable news program on television -- with an audience bigger than Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow combined -- at 5 o'clock. And yet the content of his hugely popular show is so controversial to a wider audience that a handful of companies would rather publicize their refusal to advertise on the program, or its 2.4 million viewers. This is really just an incredibly bizarre situation Fox News has on its hands, even as the company takes in its biggest pile of ad money in history.

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Derek Thompson is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where he writes about economics, labor markets, and the entertainment business.

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