The company said that the channel was designed for a US audience and attracted “only a few thousand viewers” in the UK.
While has Fox has cited commercial calculation as the motive behind the decision, its withdrawal will inevitably be viewed through the prism of Fox’s campaign to smooth the path of its proposed acquisition of the 61% of Sky that it does not already own.
UK digital, culture, media and sport secretary of state Karen Bradley is currently on the point of deciding whether to refer the deal to the UK competition watchdog. Bradley recently asked Ofcom to look again at its recommendation that the acquisition did not raise broadcasting standards issues, seeking “further clarification” in the light of new “new evidence and/or comment on the Ofcom assessment”.
Ofcom has now submitted additional advice on the proposed acquisition.
The regulator had previously recommended that the deal should be looked at on the grounds of media plurality but said that a Fox-owned Sky did not raise questions as to whether to company would adhere to broadcasting standards.
Fox News has however attracted considerable controversy of late over a series of sexual harassment scandals and allegations of collusion with President Trump’s White House over a subsequently discredited story.
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