Sky has removed ‘news channel’ Fox News from its line-up in the UK. Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox said in a statement that the channel had been withdrawn as it was not commercially viable.
“Fox has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the UK,” the company said. “Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK. We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the UK.”
Broadcasting halted in the UK as of 4pm on August 29th.
A company source, speaking to the BBC, insisted that complaints against Fox News in relation to a Sky takeover bid were not the reason for the TV network being dropped.
The source said that Fox News had about 2,000 average daily viewers, and that the costs of distributing the US network in the UK meant it was not in 21st Century Fox’s commercial interests to continue. However, figures from the Broadcaster’s Audience Research Board (Barb) suggest that Fox News’ average UK daily viewing figures were nearly 60,000 per day this year.
Back in December 2016, 21st Century Fox offered £11.7 billion (€12.64bn) for the 61 per cent stake in Sky it does not already own. Critics of the merger, which gives 21st Century Fox access to Sky’s 22 million customers in Europe, say Murdoch will have too much control of the UK media. It is thought if the deal does face a ‘fit and proper person’ test it will because of politicians’ concern over the content of Fox News and the conduct of its executives.