President Donald Trump wants to launch a conservative media empire to "wreck Fox" News and steal its audience, according to a Thursday report from Axios.
An unnamed individual "with knowledge of Trump's intentions" told Axios that he plans to launch a subscription-based digital streaming channel and use his database of contact information of millions of MAGA supporters to launch. "He plans to wreck Fox. No doubt about it," the individual said, adding that Trump may also use upcoming post-election rallies to slam Fox News to drum up interest in his new media venture.
Starting a digital platform would be considerably cheaper and faster than attempting to create a new cable news outlet from scratch, Axios noted. So Trump's planned digital streamer wouldn't be competition for Fox News so much as it would be for Fox Nation, the network's own online subscription service. Fox Nation is almost 2 years old and boasts a high conversion rate from free trials to paid subscriptions.
The report comes as Trump and many of his supporters have stepped up criticism of Fox News for its coverage of the election and its aftermath. "Fox has changed a lot," Trump said in an Election Day interview with "Fox & Friends," reiterating complaints that he has articulated all year.
The White House did not immediately respond to requests for comment; a Fox News rep had no comment.
Fox Nation's hosts tend to be some of Fox News' brightest stars, too, from Dana Perino to Brian Kilmeade. Trump himself has been complimentary to various Fox News personalities as recently as this week. On Tuesday, he promoted Sean Hannity's ratings-dominating primetime show.
If the outgoing president wants to compete with Fox News, ratings will be something to consider, too. The network is a ratings juggernaut. According to Nielsen Media Research data, Fox News has held the highest-rated primetime hours in all of television since Memorial Day. Fox News' primetime hours have averaged 3.930 million total viewers since May 25. Broadcast channel NBC is close behind with 3.929 million, on average.
When asked during a recent call with investors about new competitors popping up in the market after the election, Fox Corporation CEO Lachlan Murdoch said, "We love competition. We have always thrived with competition and we have strong competition now. I would say the only difference today versus some years ago, as our audience has grown and our reach has grown, we see our competition as no longer only cable news providers, but also as the traditional broadcast networks and, as you know, Fox News has been the number one network, including broadcast networks now, as I mentioned, through from Labor Day through to Election Day."