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21st Century Fox has decided to stop airing Fox News in the U.K., ending a long-running carriage deal in Britain with pay TV giant Sky.
“21st Century Fox has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the U.K.,” the conglomerate said Tuesday. “Fox News is focused on the U.S. market and designed for a U.S. audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the U.K.”
It added: “We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the U.K.” A Fox representative said the news network’s U.K. feed came to an end Tuesday afternoon.
“21st Century Fox has decided they will no longer broadcast Fox News in the U.K.,” a Sky representative said. “Sky’s customers can still enjoy a wide range of dedicated national and international news channels.”
Fox owns a 39 percent stake in Sky, whose current agreement to carry Fox News was due to expire at the end of this year, according to sources. Industry observers said most viewers of Fox News in the U.K. seemed to be American tourists or industry folks with an interest in the channel, while local news junkies are seen as mostly watching the BBC, ITV, Sky News and other British networks.
One analyst said he understands that Fox News wasn’t making money from the U.K. feed, which was only available on Sky, but no other pay TV operators.
The news of Fox News ending its run in Britain comes as U.K. culture secretary Karen Bradley is set to unveil her final verdict on whether to ask Britain’s competition regulator to launch a more in-depth investigation into Fox’s plan to take over the remaining 61 percent of pay TV giant Sky, which it doesn’t own yet.
Fox News has been in the spotlight over the past year as U.K. media regulator Ofcom looking into various complaints against the channel and making some rulings against it.
Despite its low ratings in the U.K., Fox News’ reporting has often generated headlines. In 2015, an on-air guest suggested that the English city of Birmingham was a “no-go zone” for non-Muslims, a comment that was met with widespread ridicule across the U.K. and was later found to be in breach of Ofcom’s broadcasting code.
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