Holding on to Hulu and moving forward was all about relationships said Chase Carey today. “I think it is really a case where we’ve always known the importance of these digital platforms and the opportunity specifically in Hulu. I think the real question is partnerships are complicated and can we get the right strategy that we both believe we can execute to be successful,” said the 21st Century Fox COO Tuesday about working with co-owners Disney and Comcast. Carey was speaking on a conference call Tuesday after the company released its Q4 results. He was joined by Deputy COO James Murdoch and CFO John Nallen. “As we went through this process we really found that of all the constituencies coalesced around a vision of how to really build this and how it can be something exciting for content owners and something exciting for the digital marketplace,” he added. After weeks of speculation that Hulu would be sold, 21st Century Fox, Disney and Comcast announced on July 12 that they would keep the company and supply $750 million to push it’s growth.
While the company’s cable properties were given full bragging rights, the consequences of a weak season for the Fox’s broadcast network flagship show American Idol was also addressed on the call today. “It’s a fact that Idol did not deliver as we hoped,” Nallen said on the call about the effect the veteran reality series’ recent season had on ad revenues. “We’ve made some steps and put new leadership directly in place,” the CFO noted of the addition of David Hill to oversee the show and X-Factor after the departure of alternative programming president Mike Darnell earlier this year. Not that Nallen was apologizing. “It’s still a profitable show and still a Top 5 show and we think there is an opportunity to reamortize that. But there’s no question that Idol effected our broadcast business,” he said. Carey and Nallen also both told analysts that the company plans to invest $150 million in programming and marketing for the Fox broadcast network.
21st Century Fox are holding an investor day in LA on August 8 where they plan to present the company’s upcoming priorities and operational plans.