Why Fox News is launching the 'Fox Nation' streaming service

A version of this article first appeared in the "Reliable Sources" newsletter. ...

Posted: Nov 27, 2018 3:01 PM
Updated: Nov 27, 2018 3:01 PM

A version of this article first appeared in the "Reliable Sources" newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

Birth of Fox Nation

21st Century Fox

Arts and entertainment

Broadcasting industry

Business and industry sectors

Business, economy and trade

Cable and television industry

Companies

Donald Trump

Fox News

Internet and WWW

Internet broadcasting

Media industry

Political Figures - US

Streaming media

Technology

Television programming

21st Century Fox is launching a new streaming service, Fox Nation, full of conservative politics and entertainment programming, on Tuesday morning.

This is a big test of the Fox News audience and a big extension of the Fox brand. The Murdochs are trying to convince the biggest fans of Fox News, who already pay for cable every month, to pay more for extra programming on the internet.

THE RISK: The streaming service could have technical snafus, could have a hard time attracting subscribers, or could flop for other reasons. It could cannibalize Fox's TV audience and undermine the core business.

THE REWARD: The streaming service could hand Fox a huge new revenue stream and a direct relationship with fans. It could give Fox more control over its future and more leverage in dealings with cable companies. It could be the jumping off point for more Fox-branded products, now that fans have signed up with their credit cards.

What Fox Nation is all about

-- Fox has been encouraging sign-ups for almost a month, using its prime time TV shows and other powerful megaphones.

-- It is not a "news" channel per se. It is all about opinion and entertainment. The programming is resolutely right-wing and pro-Trump.

-- It looks like a slimmed-down version of Netflix or Hulu, with shelves full of on-demand shows. There will be up to 30 hours of fresh programming a week, plus archives of Fox's radio shows.

-- There isn't a daily schedule because there isn't a TV-style linear feed. But there will be some live shows, including "Liberty Files with Judge Napolitano," "UN-PC" with co-hosts Britt McHenry and Tyrus, and "Reality Check with David Webb."

-- There will be push notifications so that users can be alerted when the live shows begin.

-- The live shows will be during the day, so they don't conflict with "Fox & Friends" or prime time.

-- It will be up and running at 7 a.m. ET on Tuesday.

A purer form of the drug

"When Fox News isn't Fox News-y enough for you." That's not the slogan for Fox Nation, but perhaps it could be. As Michael Grynbaum put it in this New York Times story, "Fox Nation may be the id of Fox News." There will be documentaries about Robert Bork and Benghazi. Twice a day segments by Tomi Lahren. Cameos from Sean Hannity and others. Fox says the service is for "superfans" -- a/k/a the viewers most committed to the cause.

I understand the business rationale, but I wonder how the people in charge -- including, or perhaps especially, the Murdochs -- justify actually going through with that business rationale. Throwing fuel on a fire might make good business sense for the Murdochs right now; that doesn't mean they should do it.

I worry that this streaming service is yet another step into a tribalized, fragmented society. The filter bubble is feeling more and more like a filter prison...

The business bet

Fox Nation is not HBO Now or CBS All Access. It is not a new way to watch Fox News -- it is a supplement. Some of Fox's existing talk shows will be repurposed on the platform, yes, but only as audio replays. So this is all about getting the MAGAsphere to pay $5.99 a month for shows without threatening the cable companies.

How many have paid? Fox "is not divulging," Grynbaum reports, but the company is said to be "pleased by the initial response."

Stephen Battaglio of the Los Angeles Times says Fox "won't disclose its investment in Fox Nation." But keep in mind, virtually all of the hosts are already on the network's payroll, so the costs are mostly in production and marketing. John Finley is the executive in charge of the startup... Per Battaglio, he "said the service could be financially successful without reaching 1 million subscribers."

"Diamond & Silk" are on board

Oliver Darcy emails: Fox News announced Monday that pro-Trump social media personalities "Diamond & Silk" have agreed to make a weekly video for Fox Nation. It will be "five minutes of commentary, focused on events of the day and casual discourse."

Fox has a long history of allowing "Diamond & Silk" to appear on its programs and use its airwaves to mislead people (see here). This announcement only made the pact official.

Read more of Monday's "Reliable Sources" newsletter... And subscribe here to receive future editions in your inbox...

The bottom line

-- Fox Nation makes sense for several reasons. It creates more shelf space for contributors who might be agitating for a show of their own. Fox execs can use Fox Nation to groom talent and try out future shows for the TV network...

-- The streaming service is not ad-supported, so execs don't have to worry about ad boycott efforts...

-- Nor do they have to worry about ratings... Nielsen won't be measuring anything... Viewership tends to be very low for these kinds of startups, but as long as Fox's superfans keep renewing their subscriptions, that's OK...

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 295357

Reported Deaths: 5305
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion40796844
Lake25864448
Allen17025289
Elkhart16389209
St. Joseph16125217
Hamilton12225163
Vanderburgh9218112
Tippecanoe807627
Porter770176
Johnson5971161
Hendricks5719154
Vigo563274
Monroe519846
Clark486774
Delaware4721103
Madison4651119
Kosciusko437339
LaPorte436792
Howard321375
Warrick309072
Floyd301177
Bartholomew296262
Wayne292261
Cass291231
Marshall283642
Grant254147
Noble244246
Hancock238949
Henry234136
Boone231754
Dubois229230
Dearborn204629
Jackson200033
Morgan196043
Gibson171622
Knox170715
Clinton170420
Shelby170453
Lawrence169246
DeKalb168428
Adams160019
Miami150414
Daviess149143
Wabash148118
Fayette141233
Steuben139713
LaGrange135127
Jasper134911
Harrison134624
Montgomery127926
Whitley127410
Ripley121414
Decatur119842
Posey116613
Putnam115626
Wells115427
Huntington115210
White115221
Randolph114619
Clay111821
Jefferson110314
Scott97918
Greene97553
Jay93012
Starke87021
Sullivan85515
Perry80521
Spencer7957
Jennings79114
Fulton78717
Fountain7257
Washington6966
Carroll65313
Orange64828
Franklin63525
Owen5676
Vermillion5662
Newton53412
Parke5296
Tipton52826
Blackford50011
Rush5006
Pike49618
Pulaski36410
Martin3425
Brown3153
Benton3101
Crawford2711
Union2551
Switzerland2453
Warren2272
Ohio2227
Unassigned0265

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 351419

Reported Deaths: 5996
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin48389665
Cuyahoga34096734
Hamilton28674371
Montgomery19082225
Butler14138144
Lucas13446406
Summit12431309
Stark8122197
Warren770375
Mahoning6772299
Lake625466
Lorain590297
Clermont541946
Delaware521435
Licking506275
Fairfield505163
Trumbull4969144
Greene489662
Clark486664
Marion451451
Allen446384
Wood4243107
Medina413354
Miami398565
Pickaway387948
Columbiana328496
Portage323171
Wayne303593
Tuscarawas299557
Richland293929
Mercer281237
Ross234559
Hancock225336
Muskingum223610
Auglaize218925
Putnam218649
Darke208058
Erie205565
Ashtabula204753
Geauga189451
Scioto186713
Lawrence181336
Athens17954
Union17928
Shelby176715
Seneca165018
Belmont151529
Madison151018
Sandusky144427
Preble143821
Huron139218
Holmes137039
Defiance131121
Knox118818
Logan118313
Fulton117225
Ottawa114730
Crawford114216
Washington112427
Clinton100314
Williams9938
Jefferson9894
Ashland98322
Highland96317
Henry94422
Brown9324
Champaign8935
Jackson87312
Fayette86617
Van Wert8596
Morrow8312
Hardin82518
Guernsey79213
Coshocton78813
Perry73312
Pike7081
Adams70611
Wyandot68916
Gallia68113
Paulding61710
Hocking58511
Noble56121
Carroll41610
Meigs36312
Monroe29921
Morgan2342
Vinton2075
Harrison1823
Unassigned00
Fort Wayne
Clear
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 39°
Angola
Scattered Clouds
37° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 34°
Huntington
Broken Clouds
40° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 40°
Decatur
Broken Clouds
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 36°
Van Wert
Broken Clouds
39° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 36°
Snow/Rain Showers Tuesday
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events