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Murdoch: ‘Streaming future of entertainment consumption’

May 5, 2016

By Colin Mann

21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch has suggested that in the long term, the company’s entertainment will be consumed over IP streaming networks, with Fox positioning itself for success in an environment where the customer has a wider choice of how and where to consume the content, and there is no distinction between linear and broadcast.

Speaking on Fox’s Q3 2016 Earnings Call, Murdoch spoke about the company’s digital business and plans. “Over the long term but approaching quickly, all our entertainment will be consumed over IP streaming networks that means that what we create and produce is released into an incredibly competitive environment in which the customer can choose at any minute in any device, any entertainment that has ever been made,” he suggested. “So first in foremost, we need to be making better things all the times. We’re immensely proud of the creative achievement to the business recently and the momentum that we have at each of our brands. We’re in a better place in almost all of our businesses creatively.”

According to Murdoch, this was driven by the investments in its brands over the last number of years. “We’re positioning for success in this environment, where it’s not worth making a distinction between linear and digital anymore, just as the walls between cable and broadcast melted away years ago. We’re building a business that has real scale, in streaming distribution and monetisation capability. And here too we’ve made a lot of progress, we’re very focused on the velocity we need to be add and even with some progress depending heavily on counterparties, these last three quarters have seen a marked step up in pace,” he noted.

“Last month we announced our participation in Sling’s new multi stream digital video service with all of our entertainment and sports brands forming a core part of a new all-digital product, priced well below the fully bundled MVPD offering that some customers find hard to digest. In this week, we can confirm as well that we’re working with Hulu to participate in a reimagined digital video service later this year that combines the current and live affiliate distribution model with an expensive and attractive SVoD window.

“We think this breaking down of licensing windows into a simpler and more straight forward set of rules is going to be very attractive for customers and therefore for downstream video retailers as well. We want to make our programming more available not less and we wanted to be able to innovate in the way we can monetise that programming on digital platforms. This precedential move with Hulu means we can now license similar consumer services and products to new entrants or establish MVPDs, encouraging and enabling innovations downstream, creating a distribution infrastructure that allows us to monetise more effectively and all the while grow our direct to consumer capability,” he advised.

He said the progress being made put Fox on a strong footing. “As we look across our global portfolio, we feel good about where we are and that we have the right strategies, assets and brands to see significant opportunities both in mature and developing markets. The next decade is one of really immense opportunity for all of us at 21 CF and we’re very focused on seizing it,” he declared.

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