Streaming outlet Fox Nation is already running the commercials its larger rivals say they want to sell.
Big subscription-based streamers like Netflix and Disney+ have caught the attention of Madison Avenue with recent announcements about launching ad-supported tiers for their services. Fox Nation, a smaller streaming outlet that is part of Fox News Media, has quietly opened some of its selections for advertisers.
Subscribers who recently streamed “Duck Family Treasure,” a new special that stars members of the Robertson family from the long-running series “Duck Dynasty,” likely saw something that people who binge-watch often don’t: commercials appearing in the bottom third of the screen while the action continued above them.
More of the ads — from Camping World, a specialist in selling recreational vehicles — are on the way. After launching the first five episodes of the series, Fox Nation is set to unveil five more this Sunday. Camping World ads will appear. In addition to the Fox Nation promotions, Camping World also sponsored a one-hour “Duck Family Treasure” special on Fox News Channel last Sunday. Ads for the company ran throughout the show.
“It’s very rare” says Jeff Collins, executive vice president of ad sales at Fox News Media, of commercials on Fox Nation. He adds: “We are not doing it in excess, and we are certainly not doing it in most programs.”
But Fox Nation is doing it, nonetheless, even as other premium services have been making early offers. Disney is gearing up to launch a new ad-supported version of Disney+, with just four minutes of commercials per hour, and has been selling availabilities in the industry’s “upfront “ market. Netflix has also signaled its intent to begin offering ads in a lower-priced tier, and its executives said at the Cannes advertising festival this week that the company is holding discussions with outside parties that might serve as a potential partner in its new sales endeavor.
Getting an ad on Fox Nation isn’t easy. “We are doing that only for select, major partnerships,” says Collins, who notes that the ad pact with Camping World is part of a “multi-million-dollar deal.” Fox hopes to sell broader packages of inventory, he says, that might include streaming as well as traditional TV that can nab a “live” audience.
The company will consider running ads in other Fox Nation series, he says, but won’t serve them up in the usual method: interruptive 30-second spots. Collins says Fox would prefer to place the ads within the program at the bottom of the screen and in other ways that don’t take the viewer away from the program being selected. “We are sticking to promotional billboards, lower thirds,” he says.
Fox News Media believes advertisers will have interest in a broadening array of programming that focuses on lifestyle rather than hard news or politics. While Fox Nation initially billed itself as a sort of “Netflix for conservatives” when it launched in 2018, the service has placed new emphasis on true-crime shows like “Cops” as well as documentaries. To be sure, it still streams programs that appeal to the conservative base of its cable sibling.
Collins thinks sponsors may be interested in a new documentary series about Yellowstone National Park narrated by Kevin Costner, or a “Patriot Awards” show. “We have more and more of a lifestyle focus” on Fox Nation, says Collins. “We have a lot of new content coming on that we are having a lot of conversations about” with advertisers.