Jeff Collins, Executive Vice President, Advertising Sales at FOX News Media, explains how the strategy of the FOX News sales team pivoted after the pandemic hit – and why Upfront week, despite its flaws, remains relevant.
What is your forecast for the TV ad business this Upfront season?
The largest ad categories in news are still relatively healthy and we have seen an influx of new business due to the increased relevance of news so we are optimistic about demand. We will see some dollars held back from the broadcast upfront timeline but we believe much of that will still find its way to TV in scatter or calendar year deals.
What trends are you seeing?
We are seeing an influx of new advertisers targeting younger audiences such as QSR, Streaming and Tech. Financial advertisers have also been active and seeking out the upscale and professional work from home audience during the daytime hours. We are also seeing an influx of sports advertisers into our prime opinion hours looking for high reach and engaged audiences.
How did Fox News’ sales strategy pivot after the pandemic hit?
Clients certainly didn’t need to be reminded of the relevance of news right now; they experience it every day. Our team shifted from overtly selling the value of our brands and audience to becoming much more of a service to our clients. So while we cancelled our flashy upfront event, we did host a Virtual Town Hall for clients providing them with the latest health, financial and political information direct from our experts; knowledge which can help them accomplish their goals.
What strategies are working best?
We have become much more prescriptive for individual clients based on their unique needs and evolving creative messaging. We have such a diverse array of content, from high-reach hard news events like Virtual Town Halls to uplifting stories in our America Together series; what’s been working is finding the desired content mix which aligns with our client’s goals.
What do you think the “new normal” will be for Upfronts in the future?
While I believe you may see some changes to individual clients timing and deal points, I think the process is still relevant. We have heard from clients that, despite its flaws, upfront week is still an efficient way for them to learn about important marketing opportunities in the year ahead.