Fox saw increases in advance ad commitments for its primetime schedule and expanding digital venues as part of the industry’s annual “upfront” sales process, the latest of the nation’s big media companies to see robust activity as advertisers try to move forward as the coronavirus pandemic diminishes.
The Fox Corporation unit saw advertising commitments rise across all areas of its portfolio, which includes the Fox broadcast network; Fox Sports and Fox News Media, according to a person familiar with the matter. The company also secured significant commitments for Tubi, its ad-supported streaming video hub, with the venue it did in the upfront compared with the year-earlier period.
Like other U.S. media outlets, Fox is experiencing a rebound of interest from Madison Avenue, which cut back its commitment to TV advertising in 2020 as the coronavirus pandemic crimped business operations and scuttled live sports broadcasts and the production of new episodes of scripted dramas and comedies.
The networks are benefitting from the laws of supply and demand. Linear TV ratings are in general decline as viewers adopt streaming more readily. But the surge of demand from advertisers means more sponsors are chasing a downturn in viewer impressions, which pushes up ad rates. Fox pressed for increases of 19% to 22% in the rate of reaching 1,000 viewers, a measure known as a CPM that is integral to these annual talks between advertisers and Madison Avenue. Last year, most networks were only able to secure increases of between 3% and 4%.
Buyers expect the networks to garner an uptick in overall volume of between 2% and 6%, for linear primetime, Variety estimates Fox secured between $1.36 billion and $1.64 billion in 2020, compared with between $1.6 billion and $1.82 billion in the prior year. Using the buyers’ estimate as a guide, it’s possible that Fox may have garnered between $1.39 billion and $1.74 billion.