Fox Corporation Executive Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Lachlan Murdoch sent a company-wide memo to staffers on Thursday touting the company’s success amid the coronavirus pandemic after the first full fiscal year as Fox Corporation recently wrapped up.
“Several months ago when I first wrote to you about COVID-19, we all hoped that the duration and severity of the pandemic’s impact would be far less substantial than what we have experienced so far. Many of you have been touched personally by coronavirus, and our thoughts are with you and your families,” Murdoch wrote.
“Notwithstanding the personal challenges we face and professional reimagining that we continue to undertake, your groups have collaborated to ensure that FOX continues to serve our viewers, partners and other stakeholders,” Murdoch added before listing milestones that Fox Corporation achieved over the past 12 months.
Fox Corporation’s fiscal year ended June 30 and the company reported financial results on Tuesday.
FOX Network was the No. 1 broadcast network for the first time in eight years, noting that “The Masked Singer” was the 2019-2020 TV season’s No. 1 entertainment series and America’s biggest live sporting events occurred on the network.
“The unmistakable power of live sports combined with top entertainment programs made FOX the only network to deliver year-over-year ratings gains during the 2019-20 television season,” Murdoch said. “This year FOX Sports broadcast both a historic, seven game MLB World Series and an exciting Super Bowl LIV, which was watched by over 100 million people.”
Murdoch also pointed out that Americans have turned to Fox Corporation as they seek the latest information on everything from the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and civil unrest to the 2020 presidential election.
“More than ever this year, our audiences turned to us for the best in national and local news. FOX News, which ended fiscal year 2020 with record-breaking viewership, was also the leading primetime network in all of television among total viewers in June, marking the first cable network to ever lead all broadcast networks in ratings for an entire month,” Murdoch added. “Similarly, our local FOX Television Stations increased their news productions and created special town halls to ensure viewers have the information most relevant to their cities and towns.”
FOX Television Stations saw an increase of 40 percent in year-over-year viewership in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year.
“Three newer additions to our company also performed strongly,” Murdoch added. “Advertising-supported streaming platform Tubi has seen phenomenal growth since we acquired it in April. Credible Labs was a key part of the FOX Business brand refresh and is now in the early stages of integrating alongside our national and local news assets. And Bento Box is also producing 11 new animated shows.”
The Fox Corporation CEO then expressed gratitude for staffers working through difficult times, and often doing so remotely.
“These successes are due to you—I am deeply grateful for your contributions and appreciative of the work you do even during these challenging times,” Murdoch said. “While we understand the desire to return to our pre-coronavirus ‘normal’ and see our friends and colleagues in person, our approach to fully reopening facilities is guided by your health and safety.”
Murdoch explained that rising rates of positive coronavirus cases combined with “evolving restrictions and best practices around the country” have postponed the companywide plan for a return to the office this fall.
“In the near-term, we want to maintain a low density in our offices for those employees whose jobs do require them to be on site,” Murdoch wrote, adding that non-production employees who have been working remotely will continue to do so for the remainder of the calendar year.
“For the many employees who have been reporting to their work locations without interruption, we remain committed to ensuring a safe environment for you. We instituted protocols mandating social distancing and face coverings at all FOX facilities, and we increased sanitizing frequency and cleaning product availability,” Murdoch added. “We will soon be introducing additional screenings and processes designed to keep you protected.”
Fox Corporation also announced that it would extend coverage of medical insurance premiums for employees enrolled in the FOX-sponsored plans through the end of the calendar year.
“This means that the premium payment that you make through your normal pay cycle process will be suspended not just through September as we initially announced but through December 2020. FOX will make those medical insurance premium payments on your behalf,” Murdoch wrote. “We are also extending through the end of the year coverage of any employee-paid portion of medical insurance premiums for our full-time staff union employees who receive medical coverage through union medical plans.”
Murdoch informed staffers that they have proven Fox Corporation can thrive with many people working remotely and said the last few months will influence the company’s long-term thinking from an operations standpoint.
“You do so much for the company, and we will continue to seek opportunities to assist you and your loved ones during this difficult time,” he wrote.