Sky stops broadcasting Fox News in UK

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Rupert Murdoch with sons James (r) and Lachlan (l)Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Rupert Murdoch with sons Lachlan (l) and James (r)

Sky is to stop broadcasting Fox News in the UK after low audience figures, the media firm has said.

21st Century Fox, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch, said the channel was being withdrawn as it was not commercially viable.

The decision was not related to Fox's takeover bid for Sky, a source told the BBC.

Culture secretary Karen Bradley has previously said she may refer the bid to competition regulators.

"[Fox] has decided to cease providing a feed of Fox News Channel in the UK," a company spokeswoman said.

"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.

"We have concluded that it is not in our commercial interest to continue providing Fox News in the UK," she added.

Sky stopped broadcasting the US television network in the UK from 4pm on Tuesday.

In May, a woman who alleged that she had been sexually harassed at Fox News asked UK media regulators to block 21st Century Fox's planned purchase of Sky.

Sky eyes

The company source said complaints against Fox News in relation to the takeover bid were not the reason for the TV network being dropped.

The source said that Fox News had about 2,000 average daily viewers. The costs of distributing the US network in the UK meant it was not in 21st Century Fox's commercial interests to continue, the source added.

However, figures from the Broadcaster's Audience Research Board (Barb) suggest that Fox News' average UK daily viewing figures were nearly 60,000 per day this year.

Back in December, 21st Century Fox offered £11.7bn for the 61% stake in Sky it does not already own.

Critics of the merger, which gives 21st Century Fox access to Sky's 22 million customers in Europe, say Rupert Murdoch will have too much control of the UK media.