Fox to spend more than $200 million per year on streaming, CEO says

Fox Corporation intends to invest between $200 million and $300 million annually in its streaming ventures, the company's head executive said in a wide-ranging interview this week.

On Tuesday, financial publication Axios published details of its interview with Fox Corporation's Chief Executive Officer Lachlan Murdoch, who has been aggressive in building out the company's streaming initiatives since he took the helm of the company in 2018.

Two years ago, Fox Corporation acquired Tubi, a San Francisco-based free, ad-supported streaming service. The company wasted no time beefing up Tubi's streaming catalog, incorporating Fox reality and competition shows like "The Masked Singer" and "Hell's Kitchen" and launching ad-supported streaming content channels that offer, among other things, local news from Fox-owned broadcast stations.

Fox acquired Tubi for around $440 million. Analysts say the company is expected to quickly recoup its initial investment in the service, with Tubi slated to bring in around $700 million in revenue by the end of this year — a figure Lachlan told Axios was "about right."

Fox has built out its streaming endeavors in other ways: Over the last few years, the company has invested heavily in Fox Nation, a premium, subscription-based streaming service that offers commentary, reality and general interest programming. Last year, Fox News Channel personality Tucker Carlson launched a streaming-only show called "Tucker Carlson Today" on the service (Fox News Channel and Fox Nation are both operated by Fox News Media). Earlier this year, the company said former "Frasier" star Kelsey Grammar would launch a new documentary series focused on famous American battles. (Lachlan said Fox Nation's subscriber base is in the "higher single-digit millions," though the company has never formally disclosed its subscriber count.)

The success of Fox Nation has opened up an unusual revenue stream for the company: Book sales. The company publishes titles penned by some Fox News and Fox Nation personalities under the Fox News Books brand. A line of faith-based books published by Shannon Bream, who hosts the program "The Women of the Bible Speak," has sold hundreds of thousands of copies, according to a source familiar with the business.

Last fall, Fox made one of its most audacious moves in the streaming space with the launch of Fox Weather, an ad-supported streaming channel that is produced and hosted by dozens of certified meteorologists and climate-centric journalists. Along with its natural placement on Tubi, the service is simulcast on the Fox Business Network and some Fox-owned broadcast stations. Since it launched last year, the Fox Weather app has been downloaded over 1.5 million times, Lachlan said.

All of those initiatives are part of a broader strategy at Fox to harness the power of streaming platforms, and the company hopes to recoup its investments and become profitable in "a few years," Murdoch told Axios.

Other executives have remarked that Fox's ad-supported products could quickly eclipse that of its traditional broadcast network, which may be behind a recent decision to break with tradition and not offer a full fall lineup at the recent network upfront presentations held earlier this month. A Fox executive said the decision was intended to give equal weight to Tubi and other streaming platforms; Fox was the only network not to unveil a fall lineup at the upfronts.