With most of the subscription streaming services boasting that they carry few or no commercials, Fox declared that it was proudly ad supported at its upfront presentation Monday.
The strategy made some sense given that the event’s main audience is media buyers, whose job of reaching target audiences has become more difficult as viewers cut the cord and go over the top.
There were even breaks in the presentation with Saturday Night Live-style commercial parodies promoting the healthy effects and harmony produced by advertising.
“We believe in broadcast and advertising,” declared Fox Entertainment CEO Charlie Collier, an ad sales guy in a previous life, early in the virtual event,
“I never thought I’d have to point this out at an upfront, but at Fox, advertising isn’t just part of the story, it is the story,” he said.
Then Collier paused to take a faux commercial break for Adbyva, a remedy for “Max Plus syndrome," a condition plaguing many ad buyers today” from the good people at Fox Pharmaceuticals. After taking Adbyva, “advertisers experience far less anxiety knowing their new campaign will land. And ad buyers note a marked surge of giddiness as they are able to forget about paywalls for just another frigging day.”
Fox’s own streaming service, Tubi, Collier said, is also ad supported. “Together, Fox plus Tubi broadens broadcast and extends reach for you and your clients. Fox is bringing you in, not cutting you out.”
As the home of The Simpsons, Fox presented an animated tale of a media buyer driven to therapy by impenetrable pay walls at HBO Max and DRAX, Disney’s not-yet fully available technology. “Our ads have been running over and over in a frequency death spiral on Peacock. And only on Punky Brewster," the exasperated buyer declared.
Naturally, the buyer finds relief with an animated Marianne Gambelli, Fox’s president of ad sales, and the rest of her senior team, including cartoon versions of Suzanne Sullivan, head of primetime sales; Seth Winter, sports sales; Jeff Collins, Fox News Media, and Mark Rotblat of Tubi.
“We built our entire business around your business,” the real-life Gambelli told the audience. “We have what you need, scale, reaching more people than ever in moments that matter that our viewers live in the most sought-after premium content.”
She added that Fox was investing in technology that makes your media work harder. "We deliver ad Innovation with purpose. With Fox Next, we've made 100% of our digital inventory addressable. With One Fox we've given you unrivaled access to audiences across all our platforms,” she said. “We make your brand message break through. While everyone else is talking about it, we are doing it.”
Later in the presentation another commercial spoof ran, this one for the album Now That’s What I Call Ad Buying, volume 2021. Songs included That Don’t Impression Me Much, You Down with GRP, I Want to Put You in the Z Position and Make-good Love to Me.
In conclusion Collier thanked the ad buyers for attending.
“Fox is focused on making sure you our partners win in a fully ad-supported environment,” he said. “We will not put our content behind a paywall and that more and more will make a difference as we build our businesses together.”
Unfortunately, there was no open bar.
Broadcasting & Cable Newsletter
The smarter way to stay on top of broadcasting and cable industry. Sign up below
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.