Sarah Palin to launch 'Rogue TV.' Is this the future of US politics?

Sarah Palin is huge on social media, and a pay TV channel might allow her to monetize some of that devotion. Rogue TV will have video commentary on the news, plus things like parenting tips.

Cliff Owen/AP
Former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin addresses the Conservative Political Action Committee annual conference in National Harbor, Md., March 8, 2014. Palin is launching her own 'Rogue TV' channel, it'll have video commentary on the news, plus recipes, and parenting tips.

Sarah Palin is apparently launching her own “Rogue TV” channel. It will cost subscribers $10 a month and air over the digital video service Tapp, according to a report in Capital New York, which broke the story.

It’ll have video commentary on the news, plus recipes, parenting tips, and – who knows – maybe cellphone footage of the former VP candidate fishing and hunting and so forth. Think of it as a “video version of her Facebook page,” an anonymous source with knowledge of the venture told Capital New York’s Alex Weprin.

On its face, this move makes sense for Ms. Palin. She’s huge on social media, with more than 4 million Facebook followers, and a pay TV channel might allow her to monetize some of that devotion. Glenn Beck has done very well by leaving Fox News and starting his own Blaze TV channel, for instance. So this could put the Mama Grizzly at the forefront of the digital media revolution.

After all, Tapp has mainstream credentials. It was founded by Jeff Gaspin, a former chairman of NBCUniversal, and Jonathan Klein, former president of CNN US. The nascent service aims to be a sort of Netflix for famous people, providing production and distribution services for people such as Palin who have millions hanging on their every move.

OK, maybe you’re not interested in Palin’s every move, unless she does something like mangle the story of Paul Revere’s ride or mispronounce a foreign leader’s name. Trust us, Palin has a big following.

“Clearly, entertainers with large fan followings are seeing a potential cash cow in taking their offerings straight to their supporters,” Adweek’s Sam Thielman writes in a Palin story.

Is this where US politics is headed? Yes, we know Palin is a semi-politician at this point, as much a celebrity as a public figure. But if a TV channel makes sense for her, wouldn’t it also be a good idea for political candidates who evoke emotion and devotion among followers? Like Hillary Rodham Clinton? Or Ted Cruz?

In that context, a TV channel could be a step beyond a Facebook page or Twitter feed for potential presidential candidates. Politicians now routinely make important announcements on social media, where it’s easier to control the rollout than it is in the “lamestream” – excuse us, mainstream – media. Pay video could generate lots of cash while further burnishing political brands.

”Palin’s ahead of the curve,” writes Allahpundit on the right-leaning Hot Air site.

And what about elected officials? An “Obama TV” campaign channel could have tapped his followers' enthusiasm prior to the 2012 election, though we’re sure there would be lots of FEC regulations that would apply to such an effort’s cash flow.

Look, President Obama was just on “Between Two Ferns,” a digital fake talk show on the Funny or Die website. Which White House will be the first to build on this and create its own talk show, on its own digital channel? With a weekly reality show devoted to presidential duties? And maybe a show for kids that stars White House pets?

As digital production and distribution gets ever-more automatic and cheaper, this could be the public engagement future for politics of all kinds. You betcha.

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