Scoop: Trump eyes digital media empire to take on Fox News
President Trump has told friends he wants to start a digital media company to clobber Fox News and undermine the conservative-friendly network, sources tell Axios.
The state of play: Some Trump advisers think Fox News made a mistake with an early call (seconded by AP) of President-elect Biden's win in Arizona. That enraged Trump, and gave him something tangible to use in his attacks on the network.
- "He plans to wreck Fox. No doubt about it," said a source with detailed knowledge of Trump's intentions.
With loyal viewers and longtime dominance, Fox Corp. CEO Lachlan Murdoch said on a Nov. 3 earnings call:
- "We love competition. We have always thrived with competition. ... Fox News has been the number one network, including broadcast networks, ... from Labor Day through to Election Day."
Here's Trump's plan, according to the source:
- 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% conversion rate from free trials to paid subscribers — as their top destination.
Trump's database of email and cellphone contacts would be a huge head start.
- Trump's lists are among the most valuable in politics — especially his extensive database of cellphone numbers for text messages.
Axios is told Trump may use vote-count rallies to undercut Fox.
- "He's going to spend a lot of time slamming Fox," the source said.
Trump has increasingly complained that Fox News interviews more Democrats than it used to. He has needled the network by promoting other conservative outlets, including One America News and Newsmax.
- "Fox has changed a lot," Trump said during the most recent interview he has given anywhere, with "Fox & Friends" on Election Day. "Somebody said: What's the biggest difference between this and four years ago? And I say Fox."
- "I'm not complaining — I'm just telling people," Trump added. "It's one of the biggest differences this season compared to last."