Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Henhouse finds Fox boring

With the confirmation yesterday (Reuters) that Rupert Murdoch's US operation has dumped the Fox News Channel feed from the Sky platform, the questions are focusing on why it was dropped -- ratings, political awkwardness?

In fact, the ratings numbers (possibly as little 2000 viewers a day) point to the real question: why was it ever on Sky in the first place? It stood out in that lineup not because of the propaganda (RT and Press TV already in that space), but because of the garish red and blue colour scheme and the happy talk format borrowed from its New York City local news foundations. It's as good a time as any to recall that Rupert Murdoch once thought that the problem with the Sky News channel is that it wasn't enough like Fox News; he said that to the House of Lords Communications Committee tour of the USA in 2007 --

He believed that Sky News would be more popular if it were more like the Fox News Channel. Then it would be “a proper alternative to the BBC”. One of the reasons that it is not a proper alternative to the BBC is that no broadcaster or journalist in the UK knows any different. Mr Murdoch stated that Sky News could become more like Fox without a change to the impartiality rules in the UK. For example Sky had not yet made the presentational progress that Fox News had. He stated that the only reason that Sky News was not more like Fox news was that “nobody at Sky listens to me”.

Even in Brexit-crazed Britain, those supposed presentational skills weren't drawing any viewers. So perhaps it was just there as a vanity project, so that when 21st Century Fox executives and affiliated pundits were flicking around the hotel TV channels on their London junkets, they could indulge a sense of conservative clowning as a true Anglosphere project. But it turns out that such things don't easily cross borders. 

No comments: