Fox Corporation is the new name for what is left of 21st Century Fox following the sale of the 20th Century Fox movie studio and other assets to Disney and of satellite broadcaster Sky to Comcast. The slimmed down group now comprises primarily its US broadcast network and cable strands Fox News and Fox Sports. The jewel in the crown is undoubtedly Fox News, the most watched basic cable network for the past three years, and the #1 news channel since 2001. However, that business has been no stranger to controversy; first for a succession of sexual harassment scandals that prompted the departure of several key executives including its CEO Roger Ailes; more recently for its position as the main media cheerleader for President Trump. Fox News is partnered by the free-to-air Fox broadcast network. Once regarded as the little cousin of the traditional "big three" TV networks, it showed itself to be just as strong if not stronger than older rivals in the 2000s. That decade it enjoyed an almost unbroken run as the top-rated television network among the key demographic of 18-49 year old viewers, and #2 overall. However, performance stalled significantly after 2012, and has only just begun to recover. In 2018, Fox paid a lavish $3.3bn to secure NFL 'Thursday Night Football' for five years, beating an offer from incumbent rights holders NBC and CBS. Yet it was once again the #4 network by total viewers in 2018/19, and ranked equal 2nd with CBS in the 18-49 demographic. 'Thursday Night Football' was the top-rated show for the season, followed by non-scripted music show 'The Masked Singer' and football round-up 'The OT'. Top recurring scripted shows include long-running hit The Simpsons, and dramas 'Empire', '9-1-1' and 'Last Man Standing'. The group also owns a small collection of regional Fox-affiliated stations. Other retained businesses include cable channels Fox Business and Big Ten college sports. Rupert Murdoch remains co-chairman of Fox Corp with his son Lachlan Murdoch, who was named as CEO. Proforma revenues for ye June 2018 were $10.1bn, representing around a third of the former 21st Century Fox, with net income of $2.0bn including a large one-off tax gain. Revenues are split more or less equally between broadcast and cable operations.
Capsule checked 22nd March 2019
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Historical profile information for Fox Corporation
Adbrands Daily Update 22nd May 2019: CBS was once again America's most watched broadcaster by prime time viewers, its 11th consecutive #1 position, and had the top three scripted shows. 'Big Bang Theory' was - for the last time ever - the country's #1 most watched scripted show, with an average of 17.3m viewers. 'NCIS' and 'Big Bang' spin-off 'Young Sheldon' were the #2 and #3 shows respectively. However, total numbers continued to slide: CBS averaged a total of 8.9m viewers nightly for the season ending this week, down from 9.0m last year and 9.6m the year before. Indeed, all networks except Fox reported year-on-year declines. NBC was the #2 network overall (7.2m viewers), and led the prized 18-49 demographic for the 3rd straight year. Its 'Sunday Night Football' was the country's single most watched regular show at 19.3m viewers. ABC and Fox were in 3rd and 4th place again by total viewers; Fox tied CBS for the #2 position in 18-49ers.
Adbrands Daily Update 9th May 2019: Fox Corporation is re-establishing a presence in sports betting, forming a 25-year strategic alliance with gambling giant Stars Group, to whom it sold its part-owned UK-based Sky Bet service last year. The group also owns the global PokerStars platform. Fox and Stars will launch two US gambling sites later this year under the FOX Bet banner. One will be a free-to-play game offering cash prizes to players who correctly predict the outcome of sports games; the other will offer traditional cash gambling in states that allow online betting. Fox will acquire a 5% stake in Stars for $236m, with an option to purchase up to 50% of Stars' US operations within ten years.
Adbrands Daily Update 21st Mar 2019: The completion took place this week of Disney's mammoth purchase of most of 21st Century Fox. At the same time, what remains of the old group relaunched itself under the new name of Fox Corporation.
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Oct 2018: That was fast. Comcast this week became 75% owner of European satellite broadcaster Sky, following the transfer of 21st Century Fox's 39% controlling stake. Most of Fox's appointed representatives, including chairman James Murdoch, have resigned from the board. It's the end of an era for the Murdoch clan, but a brave new world for Sky (and indeed Comcast). "We are pleased today to be the majority owner of Sky," said Comcast CEO Brian Roberts. "Led by Jeremy Darroch and his superb team - now together with Comcast - our combined global leadership in technology and content paves the way for us to accelerate investment and growth in Sky’s brand and premier platforms. We are also fully committed to ensuring Sky News' future, maintaining its editorial independence, and preserving its strong track record for trusted, high quality, impartial news."
Adbrands Weekly Update 11th Oct 2018: Hope Hicks, former senior adviser to President Trump and sometimes referred to as the Trump whisperer for her ability to curb his wilder excesses, was named as the next chief communications officer of what will remain of 21st Century Fox once the transfer of its entertainment assets to Disney has completed. That sale is expected to close during the first half of next year, at which point current communications chief Julie Henderson will retire. Hicks stepped down from the White House earlier this year.
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