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Rupert Murdoch's group bets Fox News fans will follow network online

Murdoch's group has pitched collectibles to get fans to sign up for the service: streaming complement to the Fox News Channel for audiences who can't get enough conservative commentary


The building that houses the offices of FOX TV in New York

executive John Finley has already lost the office sweepstakes on how popular the new online video service is likely to be. And he’s OK with it.

For several weeks, Rupert Murdoch’s media group has pitched collectibles to get fans to sign up for the service: a supercharged, streaming complement to the Channel for audiences who can’t get enough conservative commentary. The highest-priced goody bag — including a three-year subscription and tactical military-style watch — costs $1,200, and Finley completely underestimated the appeal of the offering.

“That so many people have enthusiastically signed up and committed that much time and money to it, we think is a very, very good signal,” Finley said in an interview before Tuesday’s launch. Beyond saying that the uptake was stronger than he expected, he declined to disclose the initial subscriber numbers.

Though just a startup, is already an integral part of Murdoch’s reshaped empire. The family is selling much of Fox News’ parent — — to for $71 billion. As a result, Fox News, including projects like this one, will play a much larger role in the company. And while will compete with a dizzying number of streaming products, it’ll do so in Fox News’ particular way — by appealing to a conservative-leaning audience that may find itself underserved by other media networks.

“The plan has always been for Fox Nation to appeal to what we call our superfans,” said Finley, who is overseeing production. “Fox has this very dedicated, passionate audience that rivals lots of brands around the world. It’s meant to be a supplemental offering for those who really just want more.”

The seed for Fox Nation was planted in June 2017 when Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch asked his executives to develop a streaming version of the popular cable network that his father, Rupert, launched in 1996.

First Published: Mon, November 26 2018. 23:57 IST