Murdoch: Fox Could Go Over-The-Top

No big acquisitions on horizon
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21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch continued to point to the superiority of streaming to traditional broadcast TV.

Speaking at UBS' annual Global Media and Communications Conference in New York Monday, Murdoch said it was possible that Fox could launch a direct-to-consumer model at some point, but at this point the company was focused on opportunities created by advertising innovation and by working with new third-party digital distributors.

As an owner of subscriber businesses in international markets, Murdoch noted that the direct-to-consumer business is "super hard." But he noted that digital distributors offer less friction for consumers and a better user experience. More importantly, when viewers shift from traditional platforms like Comcast's Xfinity to Hulu, Fox is better able to monetize them. "It's a much better trade for us," he said.

He added that the national ad market continues to look healthy. "We feel pretty good about the advertising market now," he said.

Murdoch also said that despite consolidation going on in the industry, with AT&T acquiring Time Warner and CBS and Viacom studying a combination, 21st Century Fox felt good about its ability to compete.

"We don't feel the need to acquire some other large piece," he said. "This is not about empire building or scale for scale's sake."

Murdoch also said he was pleased with progress at Fox News, where CEO Roger Ailes was ousted earlier this year.

He said that primetime talent changes were working well and that after the election, Fox News' ratings have fallen less than its competitors', giving it a bigger share.

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