Former White House adviser Neil Patel is working with Tucker Carlson in his efforts to raise funds to start a new media venture. The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday that the company could “potentially use Twitter as a backbone,” citing people familiar with the matter.
Carlson, who was fired by Fox News in April following the $787.5 million settlement with Dominion Voting Systems for spreading false information after the 2020 election, has been posting comments in videos posted to Twitter since May.
But the opportunities to turn millions of views into money are limited, especially since the actual engagement it gets in terms of likes and retweets is far less. A long interview with controversial influencer Andrew Tate posted on Tuesday, for example, got 72.9 million views, but only 373,600 likes and 93,400 retweets.
Twitter reportedly started paying content creators this week, with some influencers earning $10,000 or more, but that’s nothing like the $20 million a year Carlson was getting from Fox.
Carlson and Patel are aiming to raise hundreds of millions of dollars to support their business, which “would ultimately be driven by subscriptions,” The Journal reported.
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Like many other companies that rely on social media distribution, the concept would be for Twitter and other platforms to offer short, free versions of Carlson’s show, as well as interviews and documentaries, but would have need a subscription to access all the content it offers, The Journal said. Eventually, the company would add additional hosts and shows, featured on its website and mobile app as well as social media.
Patel, the co-founder and publisher of the far-right “Daily Caller” news site, who worked in George W. Bush’s White House in various roles, ending as the vice president’s chief political adviser Dick Cheney, has a long history with Carlson dating back to their college days, when they were roommates at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.
The Journal reported that “they lined up financiers, lawyers and media strategists to work on the new company,” citing people familiar with the effort. Carlson’s team also met with Twitter in recent weeks to discuss the plans, according to the report.
Carlson’s new company would enter a crowded field, competing not only with other sites launched by high profile figures, including Glenn Beck’s Blaze Media, where today it is expected to host a series of interviews along with five Republican presidential candidates, and other established right-wing figures. sites like Daily Wire, The Washington Times and Breitbart News, but also with his former employer, Fox, and growing networks like Newsmax.
The Journal noted that any association with Twitter could serve as a test for owner Elon Musk’s video ambitions for the site.
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A Carlson connection could also ruffle the feathers of would-be advertisers considering returning to the site after rushing for releases following Musk’s takeover. New Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino, recruited by NBCU to try to bring advertisers and creators back, recently sat down with Carlson producer Justin Wells, The Journal reported.
During his time at Fox, Carlson’s show had suffered from a mass exodus of advertisers thanks to its heavy content.