Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News Channel is taking a step into streaming video with the launch of a subscription service that will offer on-demand programming from rightwing presenters such as Tucker Carlson and the Donald Trump-supporting Sean Hannity.
Fox Nation, the new streaming service which launches on Tuesday, will cost $6 per month. Founding members paying for a three-year subscription get a range of gifts, including a Fox Nation-branded military-style “tactical watch”.
President Trump’s favourite news channel offers a mix of news in the day and tub-thumping conservative commentary in the morning and evening prime time slots. But Fox Nation will have only opinion programming.
The line-up suggests the conservative voices will be every bit as strident as their colleagues on the news channel: one of the Fox Nation shows, presented by former ESPN star Britt McHenry, is called “Un-PC”.
John Finley, Fox News’ senior vice-president of development and production, said the service was for “superfans” who “have a demand for more Fox coverage all the time”. He added: “These are people who listen to Fox News radio and read Fox News online.”
The service will join a marketplace that is getting crowded with rival offerings from media companies hoping to build audiences at a time when younger viewers are spending less time watching television.
“People are dying to stream more content,” said Rich Greenfield, analyst with BTIG Research, pointing to services from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and others. “Could Fox Nation attract a few hundred thousand subscribers? Sure. But can they get to millions of customers? Let’s see.”
Fox News is part of the Fox group spun out of 21st Century Fox, which was broken up by Mr Murdoch to sell its entertainment assets to Walt Disney.
Mr Finley added that Mr Murdoch and his son, Lachlan, chief executive of the new Fox, had been “very involved from day one” in Fox Nation.
Fox News is the most profitable business within Fox and has continued to top cable news ratings in the Trump era, with stars such as Mr Hannity attracting loyal fans. However, Mr Hannity’s close relationship with Mr Trump has attracted criticism: the presenter appeared as a “special guest” alongside Mr Trump at a recent rally in front of cheering supporters of the president, joining him on stage to condemn the “fake news” media. That earned Mr Hannity rare rebuke from the channel.