James Murdoch: 21st Century Fox Is 'All Digital'


21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch said Wednesday morning that the company is all-in on over-the-top streaming, but it plans to focus on bundled offerings like Hulu’s live OTT TV service.

“We want Hulu live to be super-successful,” Murdoch said, adding that the company hopes that other bundled OTT services like YouTube TV and DirecTV Now succeeded as well.

Murdoch made the comments to interviewer and CNBC reporter Julia Boorstin at The Paley Center For Media’s 2017 International Council Summit in New York.

Murdoch’s strategy for Fox differs from one of its main competitors, CBS. While CBS is making an effort to be a part of of streaming video bundles, the company also sells itself directly to consumers through its CBS All Access streaming product. Murdoch suggested that Fox did not have any imminent plans to go direct-to-consumer.

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He also noted that bundles, such as those from Hulu and DirecTV, can offset the loss of linear pay-TV subscribers hitting cable, satellite and telecom companies. 

“I don’t think we’re all that concerned about cord-cutting,” Murdoch said. "What we want to see is a lot more competition downstream.”

Murdoch also addressed the leadership shakeup at Hulu announced on Tuesday. Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins left to lead Sony Pictures Television, with veteran Fox executive Randy Freer taking over the CEO role at the streamer.

"People need to find opportunities,” Murdoch said of Hopkins’ surprise departure. “We’re proud they can be successful.”

Fox, along with Disney, NBCUniversal and Time Warner, is one of Hulu’s corporate owners. Hopkins was also a Fox executive before taking over the top role at the site.

Ultimately, Murdoch argued that Fox was transforming itself from a traditional television company, to one that put its digital priorities first.

“We’re all digital,”  he said.

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