In his TCA executive session Wednesday, Fox entertainment chief Charlie Collier stressed that the newly constituted, slimmed-down Fox Corp. enjoys competitive advantages in a landscape of consolidation.
“We’re building something different at Fox,” he said during opening remarks in the session. The company’s central goal, he added, is to “question nearly every assumption.”
Collier, who moved into his role last fall after a long run at AMC Networks, acknowledged the “trends toward consolidation” across the industry. He didn’t get specific, but the clear references seemed to be to Disney’s $71.3 billion purchase of 21st Century Fox assets, AT&T’s $81 billion Time Warner deal, the $14.6 billion Discovery-Scripps merger, and a host of others.
Fox Corp. was due to report financial results later Wednesday for the first full quarter since the Disney deal. Fox now consists mainly of the broadcast network, Fox News, FS1 and local TV stations. In that reduced form, Collier argued, “we get to determine whether bigger is necessarily better.” The mission, he went on, is to “win in a different way.”
Collier said Fox came to TCA with three primary goals: promoting shows airing in the 2019-20 season; building a “first-rate creative engine”; and refining “what makes Fox different structurally and how we can be the best home for talent.”
Highlighting the success of The Masked Singer and hopes for the upcoming season, Collier said the entire company, from CEO Lachlan Murdoch, down to the rank and file is focused on supporting talent.
“It’s not an urban legend — Lachlan and the team do make fast, forward-looking decisions,” he said.
Collier also noted Tuesday’s acquisition of Bento Box, which he called “one of the world’s leading animation production entities.” The deal, he said, “fortifies our commitment to animation” and burnishes Fox’s stature as the network that has launched more animated hits in primetime than any other broadcaster.
After the Disney deal, Fox no longer has a stake in Hulu. Among its traditional media peers, the company owns fewer of its own direct-to-consumer platforms. Asked in the Q&A portion of the executive session about how Fox will fare in the newly streaming-obsessed marketplace, he said, “We look at our relationship with Hulu as one we’re incredibly proud of. We were part of the founding of Hulu.” The value of Fox’s animation assets, he said, “grows across platforms.”
Fox Now, the company’s ad-supported streaming outlet, requires a pay-TV subscription. Nevertheless, Collier asserted, it is “driving and growing. … We lean into it.”