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Nov. 28, 2018 / 12:14 AM GMT
By Claire Atkinson
Fox News on Tuesday launched Fox Nation, an internet-based streaming service that costs $5.99 per month and features a variety of the company’s conservative politics mixed with right-leaning entertainment fare.
The tagline: “Opinion Done Right.”
The service is meant for “Fox News’ most passionate and loyal fans,” according to its website, and launched with a limited package of original daily shows and documentaries. Among the videos on offer on Tuesday were an aggressive, straight-to-camera opinion piece by conservative pundit Tomi Lahren on the topic of migrants at the border and a documentary about the first family, among other shows.
The ad-free service, which borrows a little brand equity from the existing FoxNews.com offshoot of the same name, doesn’t offer versions of its primetime lineup, but does feature a highlights package of opinions shared by hosts Tucker Carlson, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham from the night before.
Fox News isn’t the first national news organization to enter the streaming world — CBS, ABC and NBC all offer variations of free streaming news online — but it is the first to charge a subscription fee.
“There is a hunger for more content,” Republican strategist Ryan Williams, who worked on Senator Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, said. “The question is whether a subscription service can survive.”
The closest comparison to Fox Nation does not come from news but from sports. ESPN’s subscription streaming service, ESPN+, similarly offers additional content to viewers who might want more than the legacy cable channel offers.
And like ESPN, Fox News still makes most of its money from fees paid by cable providers. The news network is projected to bank $1.7 billion next year in fees from its traditional distributors.
Matt Rizzetta, the CEO of social media and public relations firm North 6th Agency, said the similarities don’t end there.
“Politics is the new sports,” Rizzetta said. “You see sports media powerhouses launch paid subscription services, like ESPN. The natural evolution is a political media powerhouse would follow suit.”
While Fox News may be pioneering for mainstream media outlets, it’s not the first conservative media operation to test the digital subscription market. Radio host Mark Levin’s CRTV, which features conservative commentator Michelle Malkin and former Fox News host, Eric Bolling, charges $10 per month.
Fox News also faces other competitors in the conservative media world that have embraced the internet.
“We are seeing that we get up to two million monthly views through over-the-top devices and we are available on all the major platforms: YouTube, Pluto, Roku, Xumo and many others,” Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax, said.
Newsmax’s livestream of its TV service, which also features former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly, is free-of-charge.
And Fox News might eventually even have some competition from Trump, who was previously the source of speculation that he might try to launch his own media outlet. Trump also recently tweeted about the possibility of a global government news service from the White House. (The U.S. currently operates Voice of America, which is funded by the government and broadcasts around the world.)
“Throughout the world, CNN has a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair and false way,” Trump tweeted. “Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”
Claire Atkinson is the senior media editor for NBC News.
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