A new Fox is going to have a new ad-sales chief.
Marianne Gambelli, a Madison Avenue veteran who once ran ad sales for the NBC broadcast network and NBC Sports, is expected to assume control over most advertising sales for the “new” 21st Century Fox that will take shape after the company sells the bulk of its assets to Walt Disney Co. in a deal slated to take place in 2019. Gambelli, currently ad-sales chief for Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network, is expected to gain oversight of the function for Fox Broadcasting and Fox Sports as well, according to three people familiar with the matter.
Joe Marchese, a digital executive who has worked to get advertisers to embrace new marketing concepts as head of ad sales for Fox Networks Group, has opted not to move over to the new company, these people said. He will continue to oversee ad sales until the transaction, according to these people. A spokesman for 21st Century Fox said executives declined to comment.
The Wall Street Journal previously reported the decision to elevate Gambelli.
Gambelli will be well suited to the role. The new Fox company will in some ways rely most heavily on formats that are among TV’s strongest: live programming and sports content. The executive supervised ad sales for many of the same types of programming while at NBC, and has experience working for advertisers as well. Before arriving at Fox News Channel in May of 2017, she was chief investment officer at Horizon Media, the independent media buying operation.
She joined Fox News as it was grappling with revelations about sexual harassment at the network, and is part of a group of female executives installed to run the operation, one of the parent company’s biggest financial contributors.
Marchese came aboard Fox when it bought his digital-advertising company, TrueX, in December of 2014 for a price believed to be around $200 million. An entrepreneur through and through, he has championed new ways of working with commercials. Under his aegis, Fox vowed to cut back on the amount of commercial inventory it ran in its linear programs, and banned “standard” TV ads for digital and on-demand playback of its content on FX – a nod to the fact that viewers of TV shows have varying expectations for the way they experience commercials when streaming content via broadband.
Marchese won attention from advertisers by talking to them about how not to waste the attention of consumers. “I do think interruptive advertising is seeing its decline. I think that if TV is going to become interactive and on-demand, then advertising is going to become interactive and on-demand,” he told Variety in 2016. People will be able to control ad loads, but they won’t have to interrupt the story arcs.”