Fox Chief Lachlan Murdoch Coy On Name Of New Sports Streaming JV But Says It Looks Great And “We Can’t Wait To Launch It This Fall”

Fox CEO Lachlan Murdoch said the upcoming sports streaming venture with Disney/ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery is forging ahead with over 150 engineers now on board dedicated “to building a unique and innovative product” for sports fans outside the traditional cable bundle.

The venture recently launched internal beta tests, he said. “It’s an incredibly exciting product and we can’t wait to launch it this fall.”

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In March, former Apple and Hulu exec Pete Distad was tapped to head the new JV. Murdoch called him “a world class CEO … off to a flying start.”

He stressed on a conference call following the company’s latest quarterly financials, as he has one in the past, that Fox remains “wholly and fundamentally supportive of the traditional cable bundle,” which reps its biggest revenue stream and will continue to “for a very long time. .. and we will support our distributors in any way we can.”

“Having said that … it’s important to put our brands where viewers are.”

On a call in March, he anticipated the new service will hit five million subscribers in five years.

Asked if he saw the new app being bundled with Fox Corp.’s fast-growing Tubi platform, he said no, Tubi is a very different product. “I think it makes potentially more sense to bundle sports with other SVOD services, which you will likely see as we go forward.”

He teased the Wall Street crowd a bit. “In the room behind me, I have got the beta version of the streaming app. And I don’t think we’ve announced the name yet, so I wont inadvertently do it on this call. I hope not anyway.” The price for the service will also be a big reveal when it comes.

“It’s very innovative. It’s designed to be entirely focused on the cord-nevers, cord-cutters, people who are not in the cable bundle. And frankly you wont be able to compare it to a tier of live channels. It is a very different, digital-first product. When you eventually get it and get to enjoy it, you will understand how ground-breaking, certainly in this country, it really is.”

He said “everyone is running at full pace to get the product finished and delivered. Obviously there is the fun side of it, which is the user interface and how you use it. But there is a ton of work obviously in engineering behind that, in ingesting content from multiple partners and to be able to combine that to make a seamless product.”

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