Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch isn’t concerned about Fox News’ ratings outlook during the Joe Biden administration, because he believes his cable news network is targeted “center-right,” which is “exactly right” where it needs to be to appeal to the American public.
“In the journalism business, the journalism trade, what you do is you work out what your market is and you produce the best product you can possibly produce for that target market, for your readers or your listeners or your viewers,” Murdoch said on the company’s earnings call Tuesday. “At Fox News, the success of Fox News throughout its entire history has been to provide the absolute best news and opinion for a market that we believe is firmly center right. And we don’t pivot or change that and we haven’t pivoted or changed that throughout the history of Fox News. So we’ll continue to provide the best journalism with the best hosts, with the best analysis, with the best opinion, going forward, as we have throughout past news cycles.”
He continued: “And we believe where we’re targeted, to the center-right, is exactly where we should be target. It’s where we’ve been. We don’t need to go further right, we don’t believe America is further right. And we’re obviously not going to pivot left. All of our significant competitors are to the far left. So we’ll stick where we are, and we think that’s exactly right and that’s the best thing for the business and for our viewers. With that, we will see a return in our ratings dominance. As I said, we believe the center right is where America’s politics are. And we expected, as we foreshadowed, in the last poll, our ratings to be tempered after this election cycle, and we were right.”
In January 2021, Fox News was down double digits in both total-day and primetime ratings. Murdoch says Fox News’ current -13% in ratings following Biden taking over for Trump as POTUS is comparable to CNN being -17% and MSNBC -10% after the 2016 presidential election, which Trump won over Hillary Clinton.
“So this is a cycle that we’ve seen before, it’s a cycle that we expected. We look forward to the news normalizing and we will go on to strength.”
Earlier in the call, Murdoch said Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, who became Fox News’ first female CEO three years ago, has renewed her contract in a new multiyear deal with the company.
That announcement came on the heels of Fox News and three of its hosts — one of whom, Lou Dobbs, had his show canceled last week — being named in a $2.7 billion lawsuit by voting technology company Smartmatic, which accused them of a disinformation campaign associated with the 2020 election. Fox News moved to dismiss the suit Monday night.
Fox Corp. revealed Tuesday in its Q2 earnings report that advertising revenue rose 14% in the company’s second quarter of fiscal year 2021, based on record political ad sales at Fox Television Stations ahead of the 2020 presidential election and Fox News’ ratings boost. You can read more about Fox’s results here.