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Fox News set to woo cord-cutters with premium streaming service

For traditional news broadcasters with operations focused on television, it makes perfect sense to venture into news-based video streaming service. The latest to join the league of media houses trying their luck in the streaming space is Fox News, apparently taking a cue from the prevalence of cord-cutting among youngsters and the internet’s increasing clout on the news/current affairs audience.

The premium customers of Fox News, a division of 21st Century Fox, will soon be served with a direct-to-viewer streaming service that would offer the network’s highly popular commentary-and-opinion programming. While Fox Nation is expected to go on air in the fourth quarter, little is known about the pricing. Hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, currently the favorites of prime time audience, are likely to be part of the digital version also. The programs, a mix of subscription-based streaming content and long-form programming, will be designed to cater to the taste of young viewers.

The package also boasts of giving subscribers access to the vast programming archives of Fox News, right from the network’s launch over 20 years ago. Another highlight would be a feature that allows viewers to interact with the hosts and guests who appear on the shows.

Others who have already announced similar ventures include Walt Disney, which acquired Fox News’ parent 21st Century Fox last year. ESPN Plus, a premium streaming service from Disney, is expected to be rolled out within a month. Before that, CBS Corp. is scheduled to treat sports buffs with CBS Sports HQ, besides launching two other ad-supported streaming services. Last year, CNN reportedly revealed plans to invest $40 million in its social video startup, Great Big Story, to transform the latter into a round-the-clock streaming network by summer 2018.

Hosts Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson, currently the favorites of prime time audience, are likely to be part of the digital version also.

“This initiative will capitalize on providing that viewer, who is among the most affluent and well educated in cable, with a highly specialized content experience on a platform they can watch anytime, anywhere,” said John Finley, SVP of Development and Production at Fox News.

The concept of Fox Nation is rooted in the idea of bringing a superior viewing experience to the richest and most loyal among the existing subscribers, as well as to woo freshers looking for the right avenue. And, there cannot be a better time, given the record viewership growth that has resulted in subscription revenue exceeding advertisement revenue.

Fox Nation will operate from the network’s headquarters in New York. It is expected that 21st Century Fox would chart out expansion programs for each of its units in the coming weeks, in response to the shift in operational dynamics following the takeover by Disney.

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