Advanced Television

Murdoch: ‘OTT an option’

February 7, 2017

21st Century Fox has posted Q2 revenues of $7.68 billion (7.18bn), up 4 per cent, and operating income of $1.99 billion, up 15 per cent, in part on the US election. CEO James Murdoch took the opportunity to speculate the company could go it alone in  OTT – direct to the consumer – and already had the expertise to do it.

However, Murdoch said that Fox was focused primarily on developing its authenticated streaming service in partnership with pay TV providers for now. He said that Fox had successfully developed a direct-to-consumer OTT proposition in India with its Hotstar platform. “Whether or not there’s a future for us in, for example, the way that CBS has taken some steps in the US is a decision that we can take at a later date.”

Murdoch said that for now Fox was “very focused” on the authenticated partnership model, including developing services for “new digital MVPD partners” such as Sling Media, DirectTV Now, Hulu’s new platform and Google’s forthcoming service.

On the planned acquisition of the 61 per cent of Sky that it doesn’t already own, Murdoch said the deal represented progress in the strategy to realign Fox “around the future of video….The combination of strengths required to operate a high-volume content business and a vast international video platform business is precisely the combination of strengths that we’re developing”.

Fox co-executive chairman Lachlan Murdoch said the Sky deal would deliver a more balanced revenue and geographic spread, simplify the group’s operating model and significantly enhance earnings per share and free cash-flow.

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