Glenn Beck laid out his vision on the future of digital media Tuesday, telling an audience at a New York media conference that traditional television is on its way out and an interactive, user-directed experience is on its way in.
Speaking at the Advertising Age Media Evolved conference in Manhattan, two months after the launch of online-only GBTV, Beck suggested the media world is at a crossroads between young and old.
"I don't know anybody under 30 who is watching television," Beck said in an onstage interview with Betsy Morgan, president of The Blaze. "We are at a split right now. The generation that is my age -- slightly over 50, 55 -- they're not using iPad. They don't get it, they don't want it....They're still using television, that's their comfort zone. The younger generation, that's not their comfort zone, it's a stupid box that you're tied to."
Ad Age has more:
Mr. Beck, who called this moment "one of the most exciting times [in media] since the printing press," forecast a future in which audiences have much more personalized control over content -- deciding, for example, to slow down or speed up one of Mr. Beck's signature, chalkboard-guided tirades with more or less on-screen context.
"It'll have two arrows -- that way to dumb down, that way to dumb up," he said. "You don't have to stay at my level, you can go below me, you can go above me. The revolution that's coming is about the individual."
"Don't let some fat-cat executive [determine programming]. You decide that," Mr. Beck said.
The Hollywood Reporter added:
[H]e emphasized that focusing on traditional media delivery would have kept him from helping pioneer new models. "We are on the verge of revolution" that is as profound as the Industrial Revolution was, but will happen much faster, Beck said. "We'll find out soon whether we're too early or not."
His estimate was that his focus on a new type of media empire may be three to five years ahead of its time. But following a tipping point in the media industry, "delivery as you want it" will become the standard, he predicted. The revolution that is in the works "is all about the individual," he added. "It is so close to the American Revolution. It's about you."
He told his audience that as a result, in the future, no media executive would get to tell consumers which show is on or off. "The days of 500 sat channels [are] over," Beck said. "You have to know exactly who you are" and who your audience is. After all, people these days look for myriad opinions on different sites where they know what to expect.
Speaking directly to advertisers, Beck urged them not to treat viewers "like they're morons."
"Stop treating your viewers like they're morons. They're not morons," Beck said. "You've got to start respecting people....People are people! Respect the end-user. Respect the end-user. Even if you don't agree with them, respect them, and they will be loyal to the end of time, because you stood up for what you believe in."
If social media response is any indication, Beck's talk was well-received among those watching, who posted their real-time observations on Twitter:
Even a user who apparently disagrees with Beck's politics found reason to enjoy his talk:
To see the start of the "revolution," you can take a peek at GBTV.com.