New Fox boss explains continued Hulu support in wake of ad-free option
James Murdoch may still be a bit new to this whole investor call thing, but he’s not shy about expressing opinions.
The 21st Century Fox boss called his broadcast channel’s “Minority Report” adaptation a “disappointment” on Wednesday morning — and he wasn’t even prompted to do so. Murdoch offered the term up in his prepared remarks covering 2015’s fiscal first quarter earnings.
“Minority Report” managed just a 0.6 rating/2 share in the key 18-49 demographic each of its last three weeks. It received a mere 1.8 million total viewers per Nielsen’s Live Plus Same Day numbers on Monday.
Last month, Fox chopped the sci-fi show’s episode order from 13 to 10. “Minority Report” was originally supposed to return after a midseason break, but not anymore.
Murdoch also explained why his company is continuing to place its shows on Hulu — which Fox partially owns — instead of launching its own direct-to-consumer offering, which several competitors have or are planning to do.
The son of Rupert Murdoch and brother of Lachlan stated that it is “crucial” his media company does not become “too incumbent” on its own services. He then played the innovation card, saying, “We have to be disrupters if we want to grow.”
Rupert Murdoch explained that on Hulu, his company “can really innovate and monetize,” and that he is “comfortable” with the streaming company’s current mix of ad-supported and ad-free customers. That latter option is new, however, so time will tell how many subscribers are willing to pay a premium to skip commercials.
All that said, the Murdoch-run business hasn’t totally ruled out pursuing an over-the-top service in the future.
Earlier on Wednesday, 21st Century Fox reported disappointing Q1 earnings, which were mostly attributable to a weak box office performance — especially when compared to the three-month period last year. “Fantastic Four” was fingered as the main culprit.
Revenue for the quarter declined year over year — as did profit. Earnings per share hit its modest mark thanks to some adjustments.
The box office is looking better for Q2, as Matt Damon‘s “The Martian” has been out of the world. Sorry for ending on a pun.