Fox Sports Will Guarantee Views in New Branded-Content Distribution Program

Across Facebook, YouTube and even TV

Today Fox Sports will announce a new initiative called Fox Sports Engage, a multiplatform branded-content distribution program that aims to give advertisers a wider audience.

Fox Sports Engage will distribute branded content across a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. But here's the kicker: Fox Sports will guarantee that a certain amount of people will see the content.

"That guaranteed viewership is what we think has been missing from the social media distribution landscape," Pete Vlastelica, evp of digital for Fox Sports, told Adweek. "We think we've developed what could be a real game changer for our ad sales team in response to a lot of input and feedback we've heard from the marketplace."

Vlastelica explains that so much focus for branded content has simply been getting the content made, but now Fox Sports wants to focus on how to better distribute it. "It's not that [making branded content] is easy, but we've figured out how to do it," he said.

Vlastelica adds that brands have been realizing that no matter how great the content may be, the important part is making sure it gets out where it will be seen by the most people. "What brands figured out was that the integration is valuable but not as valuable as getting eyeballs on the content," he said.

Fox Sports had already been experimenting with this new distribution mechanism with a few advertisers, including Nationwide and Fiat. During the Women's World Cup, Fiat sponsored Fox's short-form sports and news program, At the Buzzer, which ran on Facebook, Foxsports.com, Twitter, YouTube and TV. "We view television as just another platform," said Vlastelica.

The program, which highlighted the top trending topics in the world of sports and pop culture, performed the best on Facebook, which leads to another important aspect of Fox Sports Engage.

While the guarantee is for the overall views across the entire social media (and television) landscape, Vlastelica said Fox Sports will tally up the views on the individual platforms to see where the branded content is getting the most attention. This allows for Fox Sports to put more resources toward wherever the content is performing the best. "It allows us to be really flexible as the campaign progresses," he said.