Tucker Carlson has been trending on Twitter this week, after being let go by Fox News on Monday.
If things go the way Elon Musk is planning, Carlson’s show would be trending every day on Twitter, because he has the potential to be the first megastar of Twitter’s new platform.
Carlson averaged about 3 million viewers per episode of “Tucker Carlson Tonight” weeknights on Fox News. Over the past year, the show’s lowest rating was 2 million viewers. The highest was 6 million.
The show’s popularity has not dwindled over the past year, and luckily for Carlson, he was ousted in his prime.
Even Musk himself commented on Carlson’s ability to move to the platform.
Musk added to the speculation by stating that he wouldn’t apply any censorship unless it was required by law.
At the suggestion that Twitter should hire Carlson, Musk replied, “[W]e don’t hire anyone, but simply enable content creators to prosper on this platform without applying censorship that goes beyond the law.”
In the same Twitter thread, someone asked, “Elon, do you believe that Twitter creators will be able to make as much as YouTube creators in the future?” Musk answered, “More.”
Regarding Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act, social media platform companies are granted broad “safe harbor” protections against legal liability for any content users post on their platforms. Twitter currently falls under Section 230 and is not liable for any content posted by users. So, there would be no reason to censor Carlson’s content for reasons of “liability.”
Musk said that content creators will be able to get up to 92% of their earnings from content subscriptions on Twitter, and that Twitter wasn’t planning on taking any portion of profits for that entire year.
“Apply to offer your followers subscriptions of any material, from long-form text to hours-long video! Just tap on ‘Monetization’ in settings,” Musk tweeted, adding, “For the next 12 months, Twitter will keep none of the money. You will receive whatever money we receive, so that’s 70% for subscriptions on iOS & Android (they charge 30%) and ~92% on web (could be better, depending on payment processor).”
Based on the number of subscribers Musk’s own Twitter account has, 24,700, with each subscriber giving him about $4 per month, he would generate nearly $1.2 million in income.
Last week, while speaking at The Heritage Foundation’s 50th anniversary gala, Carlson referenced a notable line from his recent interview with Musk. (The Daily Signal is the news outlet of The Heritage Foundation.)
“I was talking to Elon Musk. Elon and I, smoking a cigar in his G4, and he turns to me and he says, ‘You know, Tuckie,’ he calls me Tuck,” Carlson quipped, “No, I interviewed him for work, obviously. And he had such a wonderful line. And he said, ‘The most likely outcome is the most ironic outcome.’”
If Carlson were able to get just one-quarter of his average Fox News audience of 3 million viewers to subscribe to him, that’s 750,000 subscribers. He could be able to make about $36 million per year. His Fox contract was for as much as $20 million a year, so the extra millions would be more than enough to hire and pay staff and cover overhead.
Getting a subscriber base is nothing new to Carlson, since he was able to boost the growth of Fox Nation, according to Lachlan Murdoch, the co-chairman of News Corp., the parent company of Fox News.
Murdoch stated in a 2021 Q3 earnings call that he has seen a 40% increase in Fox Nation subscriber growth. The key drivers of that growth are the streaming of live events and exclusive flagship content, including the streaming of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) that year, and the launch of Carlson’s online-only content, including a new video podcast series, “Tucker Carlson Today” and long-form documentaries called “Tucker Carlson Originals.”
Carlson is popular among his viewers, but he also has admiration for his viewers.
The information released as part of the now-settled Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit against Fox reportedly showed that Carlson texted, “Our viewers are good people.”
All of that goodwill could serve him well in any future endeavors.
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