×

Lachlan Murdoch: Advertising Boycotts Have No Financial Impact on Fox News

In the past year, public backlash over Fox News pundits like Tucker Carson and Laura Ingraham have led some advertisers to pull their support. But Lachlan Murdoch isn’t fazed when it comes to advertising boycotts, saying that they don’t affect the network’s content whatsoever.

“The boycotts themselves are not having a financial impact of any significance,” said the CEO of the network’s parent company, Fox Corp.

Murdoch spoke in front of investors at the MoffettNathanson 6th Annual Media & Communications Summit in New York on Tuesday. He also said that affiliate revenue in Fox News generates more money than advertising, but that he he still believes the company is still “one of the best places in America” for an advertiser to market their brand.

“We’ve generally been able to move those clients around where we can, so it hasn’t had an impact on the financial health of the company,” he continued. And even if boycotts were to hurt the organization financially, he said they “wouldn’t affect the way we program that channel.”

He then brought up an anecdote involving his father, Rupert Murdoch, to illustrate his viewpoint. Once, an important client threatened to pull his advertising from a newspaper that the senior Murdoch owned, if he didn’t stop a journalist from investigating this person’s business.

“My father said, ‘Fine, pull your advertising.’ He ended up not pulling his advertising and we ended up continuing our investigation into what was real fraud in the business,” said Murdoch. “I learned a lesson … advertisers don’t tell our journalists what they can say or what they can write.”

Murdoch also seemed unbothered when asked if he was worried that Fox News, often touted as conservative or right-wing, is too aligned with one political view, or if there would be any risk for the network were President Trump to lose the next election. The CEO dismissed these ideas, citing that Fox News has been the No. 1 news channel in the U.S. for 17 years.

“We’re very confident we can maintain that lead under other administrations … The fact is actually is that you generally do better in opposition as an opinion voice or publisher than you do in alignment or in agreement with the government,” he said. “If you look at the ratings, it’s our competitors who’ve done relatively better under the Trump administration rather than us, so I think the main beneficiary has been MSNBC.”

Fox Corp. is the company remaining after Disney acquired most of 21st Century Fox in a $71.3 billion deal, encompassing the film studio but not the broadcast network. Murdoch said that Fox won’t be following in the footsteps of other entertainment giants like Disney in launching a streaming service for its entertainment network, though he said it already has platforms for news and sports.

“On the entertainment side, we sold our entertainment library to Disney as part of the deal, so we don’t envision any time soon having a pure entertainment direct-to-consumer product,” Murdoch said.

Another change is that Fox News was run “completely separately” and had its own distribution team and advertising team, Murdoch said. Now, the network has one advertising team under one roof to sell ads for news, sports, and entertainment.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Topic Studios

    Layoffs Hit Topic Studios as TV Division Relocates to West Coast (EXCLUSIVE)

    A small round of layoffs has hit Topic Studios this week in the television division, insiders familiar with the company told Variety. One of the insiders said three executives at the New York-based producer and distributor are out: senior vice president of scripted programming and Viacom alum Lisa Leingang, vice president of development Mona Panchal [...]

  • Peter Weber and Mike Johnson

    'The Bachelor's' Mike Johnson on Diversity and New Leading Man Peter Weber

    ABC named its newest star of “The Bachelor” this week, officially making Peter Weber the leading man for Season 24 of the long-running dating show. Social media backlash ensued following the announcement due to ABC’s selection lacking diversity, yet again. Since the dating franchise began in 2002, there has been only one “Bachelorette” of color [...]

  • ABC Studios Logo

    ABC Studios Head of Alternative Fernando Hernandez Exits

    ABC Studios’ head of alternative Fernando Hernandez has departed from his post at the Disney-owned television studio, a source familiar with the situation told Variety. The Hollywood Reporter first reported the news. Hernandez’s exit follows an executive shuffling at the top in recent months that has included the departure of Amy Hartwick, ABC Studio’s head [...]

  • Rob Cowan, Greg Silverman'The Conjuring 2'

    Greg Silverman’s Stampede, School of Rock Team for Unscripted Series (EXCLUSIVE)

    Former president of Warner Bros. Pictures Greg Silverman is partnering with School of Rock through his content creation company Stampede. The collaboration with the music school will create exclusive content, starting with the development of an unscripted series.  School of Rock operates a network of performance-based education franchises that offer students of all ages guidance [...]

  • TV Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville'

    TV News Roundup: Erica Durance Reprises 'Smallville' Role in 'Arrowverse' Crossover

    In today’s TV news roundup, Erica Durance reprises her “Smallville” role in the CW’s annual “Arrowverse” crossover, and Showtime shares with Variety an exclusive sneak peek at the return of “The Circus.” FIRST LOOKS “2020 is the most important election of our lifetime,” Alex Wagner says in a new trailer for the fourth season of [...]

  • Patrick Whitesell and Ari Emanuel WME

    Endeavor Targets Sept. 27 for Stock Debut, IPO Video Tells Company's Origin Story

    After years of preparation, Endeavor is set to make its formal Wall Street debut on Sept. 27, when its stock will begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Endeavor has targeted Sept. 26 for the final pricing of its shares. The stock will trade publicly the following day. Earlier this week, Endeavor said its [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content