This isn't because of the lack of conspicuous prime-time opinion shows boosting Trump's agenda, something many analysts have cited. It would be due to Trump finding a way to compete directly with the Fox News Channel.
Conventional thinking is that our current TV-focused President -- with his seemingly always-on media messaging TV and tweeting profile -- would want to own a TV network/platform. Given that 66.5 million U.S. voters in 2020 (at press time) continue to back his vision of the U.S., a new TV news network would feature all things Trump.
Starting a traditional legacy TV network from scratch, with a strong digital platform component, might be crazy in a time of media business uncertainty. But a well-financed TV network, with ready-made TV audience, might click.
“We do know that investors are worried that if President Trump loses this election, he will seek to launch his own news network,” writes Michael Nathanson, senior analyst at MoffettNathanson Research.
Analysts have speculated buying into an existing network — One America News Networks, for example — might be a better bet. OANN has an existing distribution of around 35 million traditional U.S pay TV subscribers. In the spring, a Vanity Fair story said the Trump family had held discussions with OANN about taking a stake in the company.
This could be an issue for Fox News Channel. It is a big piece of Fox Corp. representing around 25% of the company’s total advertising revenue ($4.2 billion) and a much higher piece, 39%, of total company affiliate fees ($5.9 billion), according to MoffettNathanson.
“Given the singular financial importance of Fox News to Fox Corp., the fear of a new rival competing with Fox News has created a new bearish narrative that appears to be restraining Fox’s equity momentum.”
Though Trump has given the Fox News Channel ample access in terms of interviews over the years, he has had an up-and-down relationship with the network of late -- disparaging it from time to time, when it comes to certain Fox News political polls and Fox reporters’ stories. (He was livid when Fox News called Arizona for Biden on election night.)
The damage to Fox News Channel wouldn’t hurt any affiliate revenues the networks gets, which total $2.3 billion per year, and has deals secured for many years. But advertising revenues, now at $1 billion, could be an issue.
Nathanson writes: “If there is a worry about a new news network, it would be on the ratings front, which would likely limit Fox News’ advertising growth in the out years.”