Fox ‘Open-Minded’ About Direct-to-Consumer Streaming Service

CEO James Murdoch also extolled the virtues of internet TV services on the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call

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Fox may generate an outsize portion of its profits from traditional pay-TV distributors who carry its popular channels, especially Fox News, but the company may eventually join fellow television behemoths CBS and Disney in launching a direct-to-consumer streaming service of its own, CEO James Murdoch said on Fox’s earnings call Wednesday afternoon.

“We really have been focusing on the customer experience,” Murdoch said in response to a question on his thoughts on CBS and Disney‘s forthcoming streaming services, which the companies announced on their earnings calls Monday and Tuesday afternoon, respectively. “We remain very open-minded about an independently priced direct-to-consumer offering, as well.”

Murdoch referenced FX+, an ad-free streaming service tied to its popular cable channel, which will launch this fall to Comcast Xfinity subscribers for $6 a month, as a potential model for something like that. And while he said “the core bundle is the best video proposition for consumers,” Murdoch was full of praise for new internet TV products, many of which have hit the market this year — and are taking consumers away from traditional providers.

Fox’s networks are on practically all of them, and it’s worked well for the company, Murdoch said.

“[Digital streaming services have] already delivered an aggregate 2 million subscribers,” he said.

He added that it’s “very beneficial” for the company to experiment with the packaging of its pay-TV products.

“YouTube TV is tremendous, I think the Hulu live product is setting a new benchmark in terms of user experience,” Murdoch said. “I think it’s just the last few months where we’ve seen these new products hitting the market and they’re setting the bar high.”