Fox News is taking a big step into the world of streaming with the planned launch of its own subscription VOD service called Fox Nation, which will cater to “superfans” of Fox News.
According to the New York Times, the service is preparing to launch by the end of the year and will not overlap with the programming already in place on Fox News. Instead, the network will develop all new shows for the streaming service and tap its network talent for occasional cameos. Fox said the service will also include access to exclusive events and 20 plus years of archival FNC programming.
Fox News has yet to set a firm launch date (besides a fourth quarter timeframe) or a subscription cost for the service. For now, a Fox Nation website only says that the service is coming soon.
"With our traditional cable viewership at an all-time high, we are proud to announce a new digital offering geared entirely toward the FOX News superfans, who represent the most loyal audience in cable, if not all of television. This initiative will capitalize on providing that viewer, who is among the most affluent and well educated in cable, with a highly specialized content experience on a platform they can watch anytime, anywhere," said John Finley, Senior Vice President of Development and Production for Fox News, in a statement.
The launch of the service is coming at a fairly opportune time for Fox News, which has managed to maintain its high ratings for an extended period of time. In January, the network cited Nielsen research that showed Fox News is the most-watched cable news network for 16th year in a row. The cable network said its average 2.5 million in primetime total viewers is second only to ESPN.
Streaming is a world in which Fox News competitors like CNN have so far only taken tentative steps. CNN last year launched original content for its CNNgo app and also expanded its original content deal with streaming service Hulu.
But Fox News’s planned launch of a full-fledged standalone SVOD shows an acknowledgement that new approaches will be needed to stem the tide of subscriber losses for traditional pay-TV services. The top pay-TV services lost more than 2.5 million subscribers through the first three quarters of 2017, compared with the fewer than 800,000 those services lost during all of 2016.
As Fox News prepares its streaming service, fellow cable giant ESPN is nearing the launch date for ESPN+, a $4.99 per month streaming service that will offer live sports and other content not currently on ESPN’s linear networks.