It is now considering re-merging with News Corp. -- its print media company which it spun off in 2013, which includes Dow Jones, HarperCollins, and digital real-estate assets.
Does this mean Fox Corp. blew its future media vision? Not really.
One can only think the Murdochs are looking at having more content available -- even if some is tangential when it comes to synergistic media-selling business operations.
On the flip side, a print-centric former newspaper company that now has lots of digital media outlets needs more connection in this cross-media world. New cross-media deal-making platforms need a variety of different media or perhaps other businesses left to be included.
The former corporate organization of Fox Corp. believed that growing competitive forces around ever-bigger media companies were a signal it needed to get out. So it sold half of its company -- film and TV operations -- to Walt Disney -- for $75 billion.
At its core, the Murdoch's way of thinking has proven to be mostly correct -- that a focus around live, linear TV made sense: Sports (in particular that NFL) and news (the leading Fox News Channel) are the anchors of the company.
Around 37% of Fox Corp. prime-time TV advertising impressions come from sports.
Still, Fox wasn’t going to totally leave streaming behind -- putting its eggs into its free, ad-supported on-demand platform Tubi -- which it projects will get to $1 billion in ad revenues next year.
Critics might snark, 'but name me one original show on Tubi.'
They would have a point. Still, Fox bet a free, ad-supported service would be a major draw -- so-called FAST (free advertising supported TV) will be a rapidly growing thing. Peacock is doing the same thing, and many others as well.
And regional sport networks? That was part of the package that was sold to Walt Disney. In turn, Disney sold it to Sinclair Broadcast Group, which has had massive trouble making renewal deals with traditional pay TV providers. And transitioning to a full streaming platform for some 20 RSNs has been a major costly chore.
That’s the good news.
Why a re-merger now? Because now, both print and TV audiences overall have shrunk. And both Fox and News Corp. now end up needing each other.
Everything old is new again. But that new is smaller.