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Advanced Advertising Summit Preview: Marianne Gambelli on Tubi Joining Fox’s Ad-Supported Portfolio

Marianne Gambelli, president, ad sales, Fox

The acquisition of Tubi by Fox in 2020 added to the portfolio Fox ad sales president Marianne Gambelli had to sell to advertisers looking for reach in premium content.

Gambelli, who previously held senior positions at media buyer Horizon and in sales at NBC, will be keynote speaker at the Advanced Advertising Summit, part of Future’s Spring TV week, on April 27 and 28.

In this preview of her appearance, Gambelli talks about how Tubi changed the way Fox sells advertising in its entertainment programming.

In a world where subscription video on demand is the shiny new object, everything in Fox’s portfolio remains ad supported. What does that mean to your clients?

It's funny, when we formed New Fox two years ago, that was our business model. We were going to be fully ad-supported. And then we bought Tubi and that vision seems even smarter now, two years later, post COVID, as we saw people switching to AVOD services. 

We wanted to be fully AVOD supported and I think it gives our clients a breadth of assets and surety of premium content that they may not be getting other places where you have all these platforms and you're probably going to put your mediocre content [on traditional platforms] but you're going to spend to support your SVOD platform. So as a consumer, you're going to go look for an original show and it's going to be behind a paywall on Hulu or Peacock or whatever. I think that's going to be frustrating to consumers. 

If you look at who we are, we're live, we're big and we're fully ad-supported, and that's our focus. That's where our content’s going. And again, if I'm a marketer I'd be nervous about the SVOD explosion because you're limiting how to reach consumers. It gets harder and harder. 

It’s got to be especially hard to reach mass audiences as more SVOD services emerge?

Right. They have to subscribe and then they have to view. Viewers have subscriptions but how often are you in that platform? And how much are you consuming?

Again, it’s immediate scale. That’s what linear broadcast does the best. So you might get scale over time on these platforms, but it might take months to aggregate what you can do in one shot on broadcast. 

You mentioned Tubi. How has Tubi changed Fox's portfolio and its approach to selling ads? 

Tubi was a perfect complement to Fox because it reaches an audience that Fox just doesn't reach. It's younger. It's more diverse. It's the ones that probably don't have a cable subscription that just go to Tubi for their viewing entertainment. So it was a perfect reach extension to who we were already serving. And it gave us a platform for our content, so you see a lot of our entertainment content has migrated there. I think you'll see some of our sports content start to migrate there too. You look at the timing, right? A year ago was a great idea. Now it’s brilliant. Look at the [streaming] explosion and we would not have been able to capture that with the current assets that we have.

How are you taking advantage of having Tubi in the portfolio?

It's a combination. If you’re looking for different attributes besides gender and age, you're looking for other commonalities, we're able to do that across the platform and that's where you really get the extended reach. But again, you're reaching people that you would not reach on linear. That's even more powerful. 

And it has a different ad experience, a lot less ads, more lean-in. So I think the engagement is a different model as well and we're learning from that as well. And we're doing some experimentation there and across Fox to learn from both.

Tell me about the innovations and experiments that benefit advertisers.

First it’s content, right? We all talk about Innovation and we talk about audiences but content still sits at the top of the pinnacle. It’s premium content and how do we connect that. So if you have a fan that's connected to The Masked Singer, how do we find that fan across our platforms on Tubi, Hulu et cetera?

And then how do we understand that engagement? So we've been experimenting with our “Absolute As” [an ad format that gives an advertiser ownership of pre-roll A-position spots on streamed shows] and limited commercials to see what the engagement is like and then how does that play on Fox, how does that play on Tubi and what are the differences there.

But also, It's part of the One Fox [integrated advertising] platform. So there's been lots of ways to integrate and change the way we go to market but also the way our viewer experiences the platforms. 

How are brands planning and buying differently in this new environment of streaming and data and such?

Planning and buying were done so simplistically years ago and you think of how complicated it is now, given the choice of platforms and the data and the technology and how you can activate and access these marketplaces.

It feels like it's much more customized. You used to look at a media plan for one category and a media plan for another and they probably looked the same. I think now with data insights and the ability to optimize and buy inventory in so many different marketplaces, you look at clients and their approach is very very different. I don't think there's a one-size-fits-all and all the plans don't look the same and they're iterating as they're learning and as data's coming in. Everything is in real time now, but not everything can be bought in real time. So I think you're laying in your bases and you're deciding on your premium content and your building blocks. And then from there. you can experiment.

Marianne Gambelli will be the opening keynote speaker at the Advanced Advertising Summit on Wednesday April 28 at 12:30 p.m. ET. For more information, click here to find out more.

Jon Lafayette
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.