When Fox News is mentioned these days, it is perceived as a major mainstream bastion of right-leaning news and commentary. Usually, it is seen as being supportive of the Republican Party and thus tends to report positively on them. That, of course, includes incumbent US President Donald Trump, whom Fox News tries to defend against detractors (though even they have limits). Fox News' reporting and content are relevant mainly to US audiences, though it also airs overseas, carried on pay-TV providers like Sky in the UK. But that will not be for long, as Rupert Murdoch has decided to pull the news channel off British TV.

Last broadcast

The announcement was made by 21St Century Fox, stating that the reason for removing the rather controversial Fox News was due to proving not to be commercially viable. Apparently, the news and other programs on the channel could not quite find a steady audience of British viewers. A company spokesman elaborates, "Fox News is focused on the US market and designed for a US audience and, accordingly, it averages only a few thousand viewers across the day in the UK.” Fox News ended its broadcast to the UK at 4 PM of their local time, on Tuesday, August 29.

It is interesting to note that the pullout of Fox News in British television takes place sometime after the April announcement that 21st Century Fox will be acquiring Sky, the top pay-TV provider of its kind in the UK.

This takeover bid by Rupert Murdoch’s company valued $15 billion, and was cleared by the European Commission but has been criticized by British officials. There is no relation, according to Fox spokespersons, between the ceasing of Fox News in the UK with the finalization of the Sky acquisition.

Fox and the Sky acquisition

Rupert Murdoch, the legendary Australian-American media mogul, created Fox News as a branch of the Fox Entertainment Group in 1996.

Its first CEO was CNBC exec and Republican Party consultant Roger Ailes. Over the years it built a polarizing reputation, depending on a viewer’s political leaning. Rightists see it as straight news, while leftward critics call it biased and given to focusing on conspiracy theories. Sky, which carried Fox News on British TV, has a competitive European reach, with 22 million subscribers in UK, Ireland, Italy, Germany, and Austria.

Karen Bradley, the UK Secretary of Culture, has voiced her opinion of subjecting the multi-billion dollar deal by 21st Century Fox for Sky to get more reviews, which would delay the acquisition further. This is just as well for critics of the takeover, who point that Murdoch already has three British papers under his control. Adding Sky, in their opinion, would give him too much influence in UK media.

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