Fox Nation has enlisted a new face to help it navigate TV’s streaming wars.
As part of a licensing pact with WarnerMedia’s Warner Bros. studio, the Fox News-backed streaming outlet will offer six classic films featuring Clint Eastwood throughout the month of August, along with two original documentary specials made to accompany the movies. The films to be shown include 1971’s “Dirty Harry,” which is in the midst of its 50th anniversary, 1976’s “The Enforcer,” “1983’s “Sudden Impact,” 1988’s “The Dead Pool,” 1985’s “Pale Rider” and 1986’s “Heartbreak Ridge.” “Magnum Force,” the 1973 film that is the second in the “Dirty Harry” series about an aggressive police detective, is not part of the package.
“Clint Eastwood is somebody that our audience holds in very high esteem and is very iconic,” said Jason Klarman, president of Fox Nation, in an interview.
The pact shows Fox News Media extending its efforts in streaming video — Fox Nation launched in 2018 — while two main rivals, NBCUniversal’s MSNBC and WarnerMedia’s CNN, have only recently begun to ramp up efforts. Fox News has expanded offerings on Fox Nation adding content that appeals beyond the news and politics that are staples of its flagship cable outlet, while also bringing Fox News’ primetime shows to the service a day after they air. The Fox Corp. unit has also launched a streaming outlet for subscribers overseas and plans to launch an ad-supported streaming venue for weather news in weeks to come.
As part of the pact, Fox Nation will in January 2022 feature five popular Warner Bros. films in a “Who Can Forget The ‘80s” package. The movies to be shown include 1980’s “Any Which Way You Can,” which also stars Eastwood; 1980’s “Private Benjamin;” 1983’s “The Outsiders;” 1983’s “The Right Stuff” and 1989’s “Tango & Cash.”
“We are talking to all of the studios” about curating movies that might appeal to Fox Nation subscribers, says Klarman.
Executives have months of information about Fox Nation subscriber choices and habits, said Klarman, which helps inform its programming decisions. ”It’s all about the data. We know when they are watching us and what they are going to watch,” said Klarman, a veteran TV executive who has worked for NBCU’s Bravo among other outlets and was named president by Suzanne Scott. Fox News Media’s CEO, in January. “We know what their habits are on the platform and it helps us identify what they are more interested in.”
Lifestyle and entertainment offerings, the executive said, have a role to play at Fox Nation. The service offers a true-crime series led by Nancy Grace, and a cooking program featuring Paula Deen, along with classic holiday movies and the popular reality series “Duck Dynasty.” Such content, said Klarman, “really resonates with the audience and drives acquisition and engagement.”
Revenue from licensing content to streaming outlets continues to have a powerful allure in the current media business, particularly as money from advertising and syndication is less reliable in an era when more viewers watch their favorite programs on demand.
That has prompted media companies to do business with rivals they might typically avoid. ViacomCBS, for example, has made several Nickelodeon series available to Netlfix, even as the company strives to compete in the streaming world with its own Paramount Plus. Warner Bros.’ deal with Fox News Media comes during a competitive period when anchors and hosts from CNN and Fox News Channel have taken issue on air with segments that have aired on their rival. The pact will have Warner Bros. supplying content to Fox News Media in the exact month when CNN is expected to launch its own streaming venue, CNN Plus.