President Donald Trump is telling friends that he plans to “wreck” Fox News by launching a competing digital media streaming service according to a new report in Axios from Mike Allen.
In the days that have followed his apparent failed reelection bid, reports of Trump’s frustration with Fox News have become a fascinating media narrative. Trump has repeatedly called out Fox News during rallies and on Twitter, despite the fact that the highly-rated primetime opinion lineup has remained fiercely in the Trump camp.
Fox News’ decision desk projecting Arizona going for Biden was seen as controversially premature on election night, though it now appears to have been 100% accurate. But according to Allen, it was something of a nail in the coffin of the relationship between Trump—and his loyal base of supporters—and Fox News. For a short while, the hashtag #Foxit (a portmanteau of Fox and Exit) trended in conservative circles on Twitter.
Allen reports,”‘He plans to wreck Fox. No doubt about it,’ said a source with detailed knowledge of Trump’s intentions.” Allen then lists Trump’s theoretical plan:
There’s been lots of speculation about Trump starting a cable channel. But getting carried on cable systems would be expensive and time-consuming.
Instead, Trump is considering a digital media channel that would stream online, which would be cheaper and quicker to start.
Trump’s digital offering would likely charge a monthly fee to MAGA fans. Many are Fox News viewers, and he’d aim to replace the network — and the $5.99-a-month Fox Nation streaming service, which has an 85% conversation rate from free trials to paid subscribers — as their top destination.
Allen continues by noting the Trump campaign’s vast database of supporters and how easily that can be leveraged into any new venture, particularly a media one.
Rumors of Trump’s media play remind us of a similar story towards the end of the 2016 campaign in which reports claimed that Jared Kushner was exploring a TrumpTV play. A Trump streaming service now, however, would find competition not just from Fox News, but from more conservative outlets like OAN, and Chris Ruddy’s NewsmaxTV, the latter of which has seen a sharp spike in viewers over the past week.
CNN’s Brian Stelter reports in the Wednesday night Reliable Sources newsletter:
Over the summer, when I started to keep an eye on Newsmax’s Nielsen ratings, the channel was averaging about 25,000 viewers at any given time — a tiny number by any TV news standard. As the election was approaching, the audience ticked up, but it was still just a fly on the Fox elephant’s back. In the final week of October, Newsmax was averaging just 65,000 viewers at any given time.
Then came the election. Newsmax averaged 182,000 viewers during the election week that ended on Sunday. And it is growing even more this week. On Monday the channel averaged 347,000 viewers. On Tuesday, 437,000 viewers. Evening shows like “Spicer & Co” and “Greg Kelly Reports” are reaching 700,000 and 800,000 viewers. These shows struggled to hit 100,000 before the election! Something has changed.
Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch addressed competition in the earnings call last week and noted enormous post-election ratings. Fox News launched their own streaming service roughly two years ago, FOX Nation, which the network has claimed to be a successful endeavor, though has not released any numbers in support.
Before allegations of “fake news” start to fly, Mike Allen is a seasoned DC reporter who has earned a great deal of respect on both sides of the aisle. Read the full report here.
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