The COVID-19 outbreak “could have a material adverse effect on the Company’s business, financial condition or results of operations over the near to medium term,” Fox said in an SEC filing Monday.
In what’s become boilerplate language in the recent wave of filings, the company said “the magnitude of the impacts will depend on the duration and extent of COVID-19 and the effect of governmental actions and consumer behavior in response to the pandemic and such governmental actions. The evolving and uncertain nature of this situation makes it challenging for the Company to estimate the future performance of its businesses, particularly over the near to medium term, including the supply and demand for its services, its cash flows and its current and future advertising revenues.”
It noted that national news ratings remain strong.
The filing came as Fox CEO Lalchan Murdoch has been taken to task for Fox News’ underplaying the coronavirus pandemic during a critical period as President Trump did the same – before both pivoted to a stance more in line with other news outlets and health officials that acknowledged the seriousness of the crisis. In back-to-back stories in The New York Times last Sunday and Monday, media columnist Ben Smith described Lachlan Murdoch as a passive overlord and noted that patriarch Rupert Murdoch, 89, had canceled a large birthday celebration on March 8 in favor of a small event with immediate family.