Superfans of the channel could help fund the service, with GB News hoping to raise a fifth of revenue from its community.
GB News is building a community of users that will be approached for contributions towards the running of the channel. The strategy was seen in a pitch document to investors and seen by the Financial Times.
Ahead of its launch, the GB News website is already inviting users to join the GB News community (pictured above). It says members will be the first to receive “our latest updates, newsletters & partner offers direct to your inbox”. An option allows viewers to tick a box to receive marketing communications from GB News about GB News or other “similar” goods and services.
The news channel wants to keep annual running costs at £25 million. This is comparatively low. The BBC News Channel cost £57 million in 2019-2020. Russia’s media budget covering RT and radio station Sputnik is over $2 billion.
GB News expects to have 134,000 paying members within five years, helping to raise a fifth of its income. In return, members would gain exclusive access to forums, presenters and exclusive content.
There are question marks over the financial viability of news channels. Of those available in the UK, many run at a loss or are state or licence fee funded. Rupert Murdoch’s plans for a standalone news channel in the UK have been scaled back over financial concerns.
For GB News as well as other news channels, the reason for their existence is not necessarily to make money, but to exert influence and control hearts and minds.
GB News is now broadcasting a placeholder on Freeview 236 ahead of its launch in the coming weeks. It will also be available on Sky, Virgin Media and Freesat.