21st Century Fox COO Chase Carey: Fox Sports 1 Is a 'Work in Progress'

11:33 AM PST 12/10/2013 by Eriq Gardner
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Speaking at an investor conference in New York, Carey says ratings have thus far been mixed but is hopeful that the new sports network will grow into a billion-dollar business.

It will take a couple of years before the success of Fox Sports 1 can be judged, says 21st Century Fox COO Chase Carey.

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Speaking at the 41st Annual Global Media and Communications Conference, organized by UBS, Carey acknowledged that not all was perfect with the new national cable sports network. He said that Fox Sports 1 had fulfilled its first goal of lining up rights, and its second priority of establishing distribution across cable and satellite, but said, "The ratings side has been more mixed. The programming we are producing is a work in progress."

Carey added that some of FS1's event programming in baseball, Nascar and golf hasn't yet been shown, and he predicted this will give the nascent network a boost.

"That doesn’t mean we don't need to continue to improve in improving," he said. "It's always been a process that is beyond two or three months, but rather two or three years. We have challenges."

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At the investment conference, Carey endorsed some of the moves that the company's other cable networks have been making. He said that FXX's acquisition of rights for The Simpsons was "a defining event for us. I think it is best-written show in history of television ... This will be a branding force and not just fill hours in days," adding the network will look to exploit the show digitally.

He also commended Fox News for its recent shake-up of its primetime lineup. "The double digit ratings growth for all of those franchises is testament that Fox News is not resting on its laurels," he said.

Commenting more broadly on the TV industry, Carey says the industry hasn't done a great job executing the promise of "TV Everywhere," but he rejected too much flexibility in the system. He noted, "A la carte is a farce ... People want bundles; they just want different bundles."

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