Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News is launching an international streaming service, counting on presenters such as Donald Trump-supporting Sean Hannity drawing subscriptions from American expatriates in an exceptional US election year.
The rightwing news channel is riding high in US ratings this summer, beating once-dominant broadcast networks to become the most-watched US TV network between June and August, according to Nielsen Media Research.
But the Fox network has long had patchy distribution overseas, with no presence in some markets such as the UK.
The planned subscription streaming service Fox News International is expected to be available in 20 countries this year, with a debut in Mexico later this month and a rollout in the UK, Spain and Germany in September.
Priced at $6.99 a month, the service includes live Fox News Channel and Fox Business, as well as on-demand viewing of presenters such as Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham. Its primary audience are the 9m Americans living outside the country at a time of heightened interest in news.
John Fiedler, the Fox executive vice-president for digital product and technology, said: “With the ongoing developments of Covid-19 in the US, the upcoming presidential election . . . this is the perfect time to bring a product like this to the international market,” he said.
The Fox brand of hyper-charged conservative news has no similar English-language rival in most of Europe, Asia and South America — a sign that the service’s main target is a relatively niche audience.
Trump vs Biden: who is leading the 2020 election polls?
Use the FT’s interactive calculator to see which states matter most in winning the presidency
Fox does not intend to develop the service by establishing local outlets. “Every new product evolves over time, but we have no current plans to localise our news coverage internationally or provide a different service beyond our US-focused offering,” Mr Fiedler said.
Suzanne Scott, chief executive, said she was “excited” to bring Fox News International to a “devoted audience overseas”.
Operating profits at Fox’s cable news division increased by 8 per cent to $2.7bn in the year to June 30. Fox last year launched the direct-to-consumer Fox Nation, aiming to cater to what it termed “super fans” of the news service. It has yet to disclose subscriber numbers.