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Fox Corp. chief financial officer Steve Tomsic has a warning to outgoing President Donald Trump or anyone else looking to launch a new conservative cable news network to cut into Fox News’ audience share.
Loyal viewers and longtime dominance are tall hurdles to taking on the Goliath of the conservative news world.
“We don’t have a hubris bone in our body, so we don’t take lightly the potential for competition, whether it’s the existing sort of classic MSNBC or CNN, or the sort of emerging ones like Newsmax and OANN,” Tomsic told the UBS Global TMT Virtual Conference during a session that was webcast.
Trump-friendly Newsmax and One America News Network say they have picked up disaffected Fox News viewers as the president takes to Twitter to urge his fans to switch channels. And after the recent U.S. presidential election, speculation has grown about new conservative media players launching a news network to rival Fox News.
In November, Fox CEO and executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch reacted to the prospect of news channel competition for Fox News by telling Wall Street analysts: “We love competition. We have always thrived with competition. And we have strong competition now.”
On Tuesday, Tomsic went further by warning new competitors they needed to be realistic about what’s needed to launch a 24/7 news channel. “People take the simplistic view that Fox News is three hours of prime time, Monday through Friday. The service and the actual business is so much broader than that,” he told investors.
Tomsic added new competitors had to do more than hire two or three talking heads to compete against Fox News’ own primetime hosts. And a cable news channel had to have a digital platform and a website generating significant content.
Said Tomsic: “We feel super confident about Fox News being able to compete in any environment going forward.”
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