Yesterday, Fox News launched a subscription streaming service called Fox Nation designed to deliver hundreds of hours of exclusive extra content to Fox superfans for $5.99/month.
As tech giants and cable companies fight over the future of TV, Fox is the latest of several networks (HBO, Showtime, CBS) to create its own stand-alone streaming service — and it faces the same upstream battle to beat big bundlers.
To bundle or not to bundle, that is the question
Streaming services (Netflix, Amazon Prime Video) provide on-demand content, skinny bundles (Hulu, Sling, Youtube TV, DirecTV Now) offer a mix of on-demand content and live network TV channels, and stand-alones (HBO, CBS, and now Fox) offer content from 1 network.
No single option will win: But since streaming giants have billions of dollars to make original content and skinny bundles benefit from cable’s variety, stand-alone networks need fanatical audiences just to survive…
Thankfully, Fox fans are die-hards
“We have fans,” Fox executive John Finley told The New York Times. “Other news organizations simply have viewers.”
Although Fox has a median viewer age of 65, the network has been the most-watched cable network for 26 consecutive months, and its committed fan base is growing among younger viewers.
Other network-specific streaming apps like CBS All Access and HBO Now failed to make a big revenue impact for their parent networks after their launch. But, unlike other channels, Fox is pitching its new service as a source of complementary content for its “superfans.”
An extra, not an alternative
Fox’s new streaming service will allow Fox fans to spend even more (exclusive) time watching Tomi Lahren and other popular Fox figures.
While the popularity of Netflix and Hulu has continued growing rapidly, network-specific streaming apps will likely continue to make modest revenue contributions to their parent networks.
For now, Fox will make sure its extra content will end by 7pm every night — in time for its cable heavyweights like Sean Hannity. But since 60% of young viewers only watch streaming TV, using Fox Nation to keep superfans jazzed is a band-aid solution, not a long-term Netflix-fix.