Did Fox just sell its movie/TV studio, some entertainment cable networks, and its 30% interest in Hulu, among other assets -- partly because of traditional TV entertainment ad concerns?
Speaking to Fox Business News, Rupert Murdoch, co-executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, said of TV networks in general:
“There is no loyalty to them -- there is loyalty to individual programs. And you get a certain rating. You put it on a certain time. The end of the week that will have doubled. The end of a month it probably redoubled again. So it’s very hard to monetize that with advertising.”
For the latter, Murdoch hints at continued trouble with traditional TV advertisers paying for all time-shifted entertainment programming on TV networks -- in relation to TV-video measurement concerns.
This means that selling one’s premium produced programming to video-on-demand services -- like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, where advertising is of no concern (except for one service at Hulu) -- would be a good thing.
So why keep the Fox Broadcasting network? Well, it’s all about sports, of course: the NFL, and Major League Baseball, two major sports franchises for Fox.
Don’t believe that’s enough? Here’s some numbers: In the 2015-2016 season, a massive 64% of all Fox’s total day C3 18-49 ratings points comes from sports programming, according to MoffettNathanson Research. A year later -- with the Super Bowl in tow -- Fox lifted sports to a 73% share of all its C3 18-49 ratings.
These levels are sharply up from a 47% sports share of ratings points in the 2010-2011 TV season.
Fox might be taking a different tack when it comes to prime-time entertainment programming in the future -- especially now that it has sold its movie/TV production studio to Disney and its general entertainment programming FX networks.
Fox is getting some $52.4 billion ($66 billion including assumption of debt) from the deal with Walt Disney -- in exchange for the movie/TV studio, FX Networks, National Geographic Channel, the regional sports networks, and interests in Hulu (30%) and Sky (39%).
Going forward, Fox would be more aggressive in other areas. One report says it wants to buy more TV stations. And it might take on more TV sports franchises. Perhaps the NBA -- maybe the Olympics is a big dream.
Now, ask the other industry disruption question: Who will follow Fox’s path?