Biden Campaign Spending "Quite Substantially" on Fox News Ads, Lachlan Murdoch Says

Lachlan Murdoch - Allen & Company Sun Valley Conference - Getty - H 2020
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Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch.

The Fox Corp. CEO says the cable network is enjoying a thriving advertising market amid the U.S. presidential campaign.

Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch says his slimmed-down media firm has fared well during the pandemic because of the assets it retained as part of its $71.3 billion sale of 21st Century Fox assets to The Walt Disney Co.

"Fortune can go your way sometimes," Murdoch told the Bank of America Securities 2020 Media, Communications and Entertainment Conference during a session that was webcast on Thursday. The new Fox, led by Lachlan Murdoch as CEO and chairman and Rupert Murdoch as co-chairman, includes the Fox broadcast network, TV stations, the Fox News group and the Fox Sports assets.

"Luckily we have been able to get through this COVID period really incredibly well, mostly due to the mix of our assets that we have from the Disney transaction and kept very deliberately, and with a strategy and structure that's as robust today as two years ago when we put the strategy together," Murdoch argued.

He touted Fox News as the top-rated TV network across primetime this summer. "From Memorial Day to Labor Day in all people, Fox News has been the number one watched network in the country. Obviously what that’s done is, as our ratings increase, our demographics, we have larger cohorts of different demographics. News always skews older, which is not something I’m particularly worried about, it’s logical. But now we have new viewers to advertise for, we have new categories of advertisers that never advertised in news before are now advertising on Fox News. So, I think advertising demand has been very strong," Murdoch told investors.

He also pointed to Fox News Channel enjoying a thriving advertising market as the U.S. presidential election heads towards a November 3 vote. "You'll see this Sunday, the Biden campaign spending quite substantially," Murdoch reported.

He added currently polling pointing to Biden possibly replacing Donald Trump as the next U.S. president should not impact ratings at the Fox News Channel post-election. "I don't think it does. We're not only strong, but have grown ratings during multiple administrations, going back to Clinton, Bush and Obama," Murdoch argued.

Live TV sports and entertainment production has also returned for Fox Corp. "We're very happy that live sports — Major League Baseball, NASCAR and the NFL tonight — is coming back, and with great entertainment product in our stations, the strategy remains the same," Murdoch said of his pandemic-era growth plans.

Asked about possible mergers and acquisitions for Fox Corp. going forward amid the pandemic, Murdoch again touted the new Fox assets that were deliberately held back from the Walt Disney transaction.

"We feel that we're a new company, we've come through this COVID period very well, and the next six months look incredibly strong. We will keep our eyes out for acquisitions, absolutely. But we are also comfortable with the mix of our assets," he told investors.