Why I Hate Fox News!

Well if the title to this article got you to read it, then great. But really, when you think about it, hating a news channel seems to be a pretty poor use of one’s emotions. From the title though you might assume I am not happy with Fox. You might think I have a poor opinion of hosts like Tucker Carlson, Bret Baier or Laura Ingraham. The opposite is true. I like watching Fox News and I like most of their on-air personalities. So why am I not happy? Let me tell you.

A few years ago, I wanted to add one channel to my cable line-up. I called my cable provider, Frontier Communications, and asked to add that one channel. The customer service person explained to me that she would be happy to add that channel, for another $69 per month. I thought that was outrageous and told her so. She explained further that the additional $69 per month included about 50 additional channels, including Spanish channels, sports channels and religious channels. Great – except I did not want all those channels, I just wanted one channel. Unfortunately, as the agent explained, I could not purchase just one channel, I had to upgrade to a more expensive “package.”

I was talking to my daughter and explaining to her how frustrating it was not to be able to add one channel. My daughter said, “Dad, you’re so old school. You should be using Roku.” Then she explained to me about Roku and how it worked. The very next day I cancelled my Frontier cable service and bought a Roku TV. I love it. I signed up for Netflix, Prime, Showtime, and a few other channels. Some things I wanted to watch are free. Other things come with small charges, like $4.99. I was getting everything I cared to watch – even Fox News.

Now, to be clear, I wasn’t getting all of Fox News. At the time I was only able to view segments of shows, and those were often delayed by 24 hours. I tried to figure out how to sign up for Fox News, but unlike other channels where the process was easy, I could not figure it out, so I just watched the time delayed segments.

Then, a couple of months ago something changed. When I tuned in Fox News, I could watch for a few minutes, then I was prompted to go to the Fox News website, choose my Internet provider, and then enter a code. Then I could continue watching. That seemed like a silly system to me so once again I tried to sign up for Fox News. I kept getting ads for Fox Nation, so I signed up for that, only to find Fox Nation does not include most of what is on Fox News. So, I cancelled that and tried to sign up for just Fox News. I could not figure it out despite spending a couple of hours reading blogs and FAQs on the Internet. I even sent Fox News and email asking for help. Never got a response. The only thing I did discover is if I signed up for a whole “package” of channels with Hulu, I would get Fox News – except the price was $54.99 a month and the package included a whole bunch of channels I don’t want. Someone at Hulu must have previously worked at Frontier Communications.

So, here I am. I am willing to pay for Fox News – just Fox News. But it doesn’t appear there is any way to do that, so instead I am back to using the 24-hour delayed segment system that requires me to enter these codes on the Fox News website. That’s not so bad except you don’t just have to enter the code once. One night I had to enter the code seven or eight times. One time entering the code gets you twenty minutes of viewing, the next time its only good for five minutes, with no rational behind why the times a code lasts varies from code to code. Then, occasionally, in addition to entering the code, I must sign into to my Frontier account before the system will let me continue watching.

The result is that I watch much less Fox News than I used to (I am sure my progressive leftist friends are happy about that). I can’t imagine that is what Fox wants. But clearly Fox has not figured out how to allow Roku customers who are happy to pay, to watch the channel in a reasonable way. And from reading blogs and articles on the Internet, it seems like I am not the only one experiencing this problem.

I am not a marketing professor, but it appears to me Fox News would provide a good “case study” on how not to take care of your customers.