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Fox Plans to Substantially Hike Fees for Its Cable News and Broadcast Channels

Phillip Dampier May 9, 2019 Consumer News, Online Video 1 Comment

Your cable or streaming TV bill will increase once again as Fox executives told cheering investors this morning it would hike prices for carrying Fox TV stations and its suite of cable networks, including Fox News Channel, Fox Business, Fox Sports 1 and 2, and the Big Ten Network.

“We plan to meaningfully accelerate growth of both direct retransmission and non-[owned and operated] revenue and we believe the broadcast economics we receive are quite underpriced relative to the quality of the content we are providing,” said Fox chief operating officer John Nallen, speaking at a Fox Investor Day event.

Fox’s contracts with most cable, satellite, and streaming providers are coming up for renewal over the next three years, and it should not surprise providers to see substantially higher renewal pricing than ever before to continue carrying Fox’s networks. Fox plans to leverage the increasing amount of live sports on its broadcast network and the relative popularity of Fox News Channel to demand higher compensation. Fox was already collecting 29% more in retransmission consent-related revenue during the third quarter, but that percentage is expected to grow dramatically as new contracts are signed.

Fox News is already the most costly cable news network, and as other broadcast TV networks demand ever greater compensation from cable and satellite providers, Fox executives feel they are not asking as much as they could for their channels. That is an important consideration for Fox, which slimmed down dramatically after a sale of most of its assets to Disney. The ‘new’ Fox is made up of the Fox television network, 28 owned and operated Fox affiliated TV stations, cable news and business, and three sports channels. Nallen sees no need to expand the network lineup further.

“We are no longer lending the potency of our marketing brands toward any other initiative, brand or channel development,” Nallen said. “The purity of this sustained value opportunity from our Fox brands is critical as we are not tethered to any properties that are just getting harder to defend. This frees us up to capture the full value of all our brands across broadcast and cable.”

Nallen knows some cable operators have grown increasingly disenchanted with selling television service, and acknowledged some cable companies may balk at Fox’s new asking price, especially as cord cutting continues to accelerate. He told investors he is technology agnostic about who he sells Fox networks to, so it would come as no surprise if a streaming TV service eventually breaks into the top four Fox channel distributors. At the same time, as prices continue to rise, some traditional cable operators could eventually stop selling television service altogether.

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It is almost comical that these companies don’t see the writing on the wall. Every raise in price causes more cord cutting. Everyone has a breaking point.

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