Jun 11, 2024 - Business

Scoop: Fox Nation inks new deal with Kevin Costner


Photo: Richard Bord/Getty Images for Cannes Lions

Fox Nation, the subscription streaming service from Fox News, plans to release a new Kevin Costner show in the first quarter of 2025, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The service offers Costner and other Hollywood stars a platform for passion projects about topics like faith, outdoor living and true crime that are targeted to Americans in the middle of the country.

  • That focus has proven successful for Costner, who has recently struggled to capture a broad audience at the box office.
  • Costner's $100 million independently financed Western epic "Horizon," for example, only made $12 million in its domestic debut last week.

Zoom in: The new series is a spinoff of Costner's popular 2022 Fox Nation docuseries "Yellowstone: One-Fifty," a source confirmed to Axios.

  • It's being developed by Costner's Territory Film Studios, alongside Montana-based Warm Springs Productions — the same firms that produced his first Fox Nation series.

The big picture: The new series is part of a broader effort by Fox News to bring more Hollywood talent and entertainment programming to Fox Nation, which was mostly focused on news and opinion at launch.

  • Fox Nation recently announced a deal with Martin Scorsese to bring a faith-based series to the service in November. It has the exclusive streaming rights to Matthew McConaughey's film, "Deep in the Heart."
  • The service has partnered with several Hollywood stars on various shows, including Rob Lowe, Dennis Quaid and Dan Aykroyd. It became the exclusive streamer for new episodes of Cops in 2021.

Catch up quick: Fox Nation's transition to an entertainment hub began a few years ago, but it really took off in 2022 when the service first partnered with Costner on "Yellowstone: One-Fifty."

  • That show, a spinoff of his hit TV series "Yellowstone," supercharged subscriber growth and engagement for the platform, Fox Corp. chair and CEO Lachlan Murdoch told investors last year.
  • The first Costner series drew "hundreds of thousands" of subscribers, said Fox News Media chief digital and marketing officer Jason Klarman.

By the numbers: Fox Nation has roughly 2 million paid subscribers, Klarman confirmed to Axios.

  • Murdoch told Axios in 2022 that the total addressable market for Fox Nation is in the higher single-digit millions.

Zoom out: In transitioning Fox Nation to a hub for news-adjacent content, the company is able to expand into new verticals — such as lifestyle and outdoors content — that reach younger audiences.

  • The median age of a Fox Nation subscriber is 50, compared to 69 for Fox News' linear channel, a spokesperson said.
  • "The big categories that have really just popped are comedy, faith, true, crime, and American history and exceptionalism," Klarman said. The target audience for Fox Nation, he added, is a pop culture lover who's also a Fox News fan— like a "Bravo for conservatives."

What to watch: Fox Corp. executives have told investors that the Fox Nation platform could one day be used to house Fox News' linear TV content, should the cable bundle collapse.

  • While Klarman says, "there's no plan for it right now," the business, tech and marketing expertise gleaned from building Fox Nation has prepared the company to make that transition if need be.
  • Should Fox News ever decide to migrate its linear content to streaming, it's more likely that all of its live news and on-demand content would be housed in one service together, Klarman said.
  • Sports, he noted, likely wouldn't be a part of that effort. Venu Sports, the joint streaming venture between Fox, ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery, is where Fox will prioritize its sports streaming efforts.

Go deeper: Fox moves into lifestyle content

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