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Fox's (FOXA) News Digital Network Rides on Record Viewership

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Fox Corporation’s (FOXA - Free Report) News Digital network finished the summer season (June to August) with its strongest August performance as well as highest month of multiplatform views on record.

The company saw double-digit increases on a year-over-year basis including multiplatform views (up 14%), and multiplatform minutes (up 25%), per Comscore data, cited by Fox. Moreover, multiplatform unique visitors reached 118.9 million.

The network’s comprehensive coverage of coronavirus propelled traffic and engagement to all-time highs.

In fact, FoxBusiness.com delivered its highest month in history for multiplatform unique visitors with 35 million. FOXBusiness.com drove 272 million multiplatform total minutes and saw 158 million multiplatform total views last month, securing triple digit growth across all metrics versus the prior year

Fox’s investments in expanding its network are expected to have driven ratings. Additionally, portfolio strength across entertainment and news content is expected to have aided viewership.

Growing Efforts to Boost Digital Presence Ahead of Elections

Fox News is boosting its digital presence with new features to boost viewership growth ahead of the presidential elections in the United States slated in November.

Starting with the first presidential debate on Sep 29, which will be moderated by Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace, the company will add cheer monitor and an audience monitor to capture real-time sentiment as well as access to Fox News talent who will be live blogging throughout the debate.

Additionally, the features, accessible via a sign in page, include debate trivia and information on candidates’ positions on issues.

Moreover, the network’s Fox News Digital Unit also is introducing new features for election day, as attention focuses on the impact of the expected uptick in mail-in balloting.

On election night, the digital features include a state-by-state visual representation of the vote split, along with past data, county level presidential result maps with zooming functionality and historical data and margin of victory data with historic options among others.

The features also include a pop-out video player so users can watch the channel while browsing the site. Certain functions will enable users to personalize their screens to track their favorite races. A real time ticker of results also will run that will mirror what is seen on TV.

Dull Prospects on Lower Advertising Demand

Despite rigorous effort to digitize features and boost viewership, the company is expected to bear the brunt of coronavirus-induced macroeconomic woes and heightened fears of a prolonged recession in the near term. Lower ad demand and spending is anticipated to hurt advertising revenues, which accounts for over 50% of the company’s top line.

Local advertising is a major source of revenues for Fox, which has been badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Notably, Fox’s fourth-quarter fiscal 2020 advertising revenues declined 22.4% year over year to $712 million.

Moreover, cancellation of major sporting events globally is expected to dent advertising revenues in the near term, partially offset by increased political-ad spending in the to-be-reported quarter.

Moreover, stiff competition from tech companies like Facebook (FB - Free Report) , Twitter, Alphabet (GOOGL - Free Report) owned Google and Amazon (AMZN - Free Report) for ad-dollars poses a threat to this Zacks Rank #4 (Sell) company. This has been a major impediment for growth, which is expected to continue marring prospects.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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