21CF is the biggest direct to consumer co with Hotstar, Sky, Hulu: James Murdoch

MUMBAI: 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch has said it is one of the biggest direct to consumer media company in the world. He cited the example of Hotstar in India and Sky in UK to buttress his point.

He noted that Hotstar has 145 monthly unique users in a month and two billion minutes of watch time in a day.

“We are one of the biggest direct-to-consumer firms in the world. If I look at our Hotstar business in India, which is a mobile video app that we launched a few years ago, you know, we have 145 million monthly uniques now interacting directly with the platform up to two billion minutes a day, actually, across that platform in India,” Murdoch said speaking at Code 2018.

“The Sky business, with the SkyGo over the top business, and now TV, alongside the overall kind of more traditional, but digital and very different from the MVPDs here, 23 million families, households, and many, many more customers interacting with that platform there.”

He also noted that Hulu, a joint venture with Disney and Comcast, has accelerated tremendously over the last year, and is now a 20 million plus platform.

Talking about the company’s ability to spend on content, Murdoch said that the company’s India unit has acquired Indian Premier League (IPL) and India cricket rights for a long-term. He noted that in both the cases the company was competing against big digital platforms to acquire the rights.

“We just finished a cricket auction in India, two of them actually. One for the India Primary League and one for the BCCI. And in both instances, big digital competitors were there and we have a great monetization platform there.

“We were able to invest the appropriate amount, a large amount and secure, really, the bulk of cricket broadcasting for the next five to seven years in to country, which is a pretty good position to be in, in terms of if somebody new wants to come in, there’s nothing to buy in cricket.”

Queried about his next move post the sale of the company’s assets to Disney, Murdoch said that he intends to do something new. Murdoch pointed out that he has been doing something different every five years.

“But then you look at it and you say, well, everything five years or so … Man, every five years or so I sort of do something newish, so I think … I started out … Karen and I were talking before, we used to meet at these conferences in the ‘90s. I spent a bunch of time in the ‘90s working in the digital area, et cetera. I had moved to Hong Kong, built our Star business out for a number of years there. Moved to London. Did a number of things there in two different jobs. It’s been kind of the five-year mark since I moved back to New York, so I think it’s time to do something new,” he said.

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