So Newsmax has been getting attention for the upcoming launch of its new TV news channel as a rivel to Fox News for the conservative audience. But we remember Newsmax's first attempt to get into the TV business.
In 2001, Newsmax produced a show called "NewsMax.com Reports." As we detailed at the time, it starred Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy and then-columnist Barry Farber (now with WorldNetDaily) and promised to be "the start of a new effort to reach millions of Americans with news and information the major media won't report."
It was also essentially an infomercial, airing as paid programming on CNBC on a Saturday. Newsmax also created something called the "Off-The Record Club," designed to "help NewsMax to buy national TV air time to expand our reach." For $25 a month, members were promised a monthly "special audio tape briefing from a top expert, insider or VIP – giving you an insider's perspective you won't get from the major media."
We don't know if more shows were produced beyond the one that aired, or if anyone actually signed up for the club. We assume not, because we never heard from either again.
Meanwhile, in its article on the new TV venture, Bloomberg Businessweek offers some interesting tidbits about Newsmax:
It had revenue of $104 million in 2013 -- $46 million of it in subscription revenue from its 17 newsletters and $6 million more from the sale of vitamin supplements.
The average age of Newsmax’s audience is 54.7, which makes it a prime target for things like newsletters and vitamin supplements.
It was Amway founder Richard DeVos who suggested to Ruddy that Newsmax could sell supplements to his middle-aged audience.
Newsmax has 260 employees, with plans for 300 by summer. It's moving into a new 50,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in Boca Raton.
Ruddy's friendship with the Clintons could pose issues down the road: “I’m already torn by a Hillary Clinton candidacy,” he says. “I actually think she would make a good president. Generally, I would align myself with the Republican candidate, so there could be some bumps coming down the road.”