Fox Co-Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch just kicked off the company’s quarterly earnings call by addressing a subject on everyone’s mind: prospects for Fox News following the departure of Roger Ailes, who has been accused of sexual harassment.
Co-Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch took charge of the news service. Here’s what his son Lachlan said today:
Two weeks ago we received and accepted Roger Ailes resignation as CEO of the business and our father took up the responsibility of leading Fox News as chairman and acting CEO.
Throughout this process we have moved quickly and decisively to protect the business, to protect its employees, and to protect the unique and important voice Fox broadcasts. There is no one more dedicated or more able to transition Fox News to new leadership than its founder. As acting CEO he joins an existing team that is extraordinarily strong and equally devoted to its success.
Fox News Channel is on track to have its highest rated year ever and has led all of basic cable both in prime time and total day for three full months of this calendar year.
In response to an analyst question he said that “there’s no desire or need to shift the position it has in the market.”
Separately, CEO James Murdoch said that Hulu — co-owned by Fox, Disney, Comcast, and Time Warner — should have no problem launching its planned live streaming service early next year without CBS.
“I don’t think any one particular network has hold-up value” — especially since CBS already has its own CBS All Access streaming service — he says. Hulu currently has about 11 million paying customers, up less than 1 million since May.
And he “couldn’t be happier” with the ad sales from the just-completed upfront market. Fox saw “very high single digit” percentage increases in the rates for each 1,000 viewers at the broadcast and cable networks. Volume was up by mid-single digits — with prices in the scatter market also up mid-single digits.