Ahead of Fox Corp’s live upfront week event on May 15, the company is holding pre-upfront presentations for its individual business units. The proceedings kicked off on Tuesday with Fox News Media pitching its message to the advertising community.
The company is looking to showcase the breadth and depth of its portfolio this May upfront season — including Fox News, Fox Business, Fox Nation and Fox Weather. Fox News Media said it launched 22 new programs over the past two years and 24 podcasts last year alone. And though news and news analysis content is the company’s main focus, nearly 40% of its reach now comes from lifestyle content across platforms.
Fox News Media is offering lifestyle packages and CTV-only plans to advertisers to meet an increased interest in news-adjacent programming, which ranges in everything from Yellowstone: One-Fifty on Fox Nation to Gutfeld! on Fox News.
“The benefit for us is just clear in that it offers an opportunity to bring in advertisers that maybe historically didn’t buy into a news environment,” said Fox News ad sales chief Jeff Collins.
In addition to lifestyle offerings, Fox News Channel is also gearing up for another presidential election campaign. Bret Baier, Martha MacCallum and Shannon Bream, along with the Decision Desk run by Arnon Mishkin, will return, as primaries are months away.
“I think people are surprised when I mentioned to them that the first debate is going to be this summer. Our first debate, part of the Republican primary, is going to take place in August,” Collins said.
Collins explained that the initial coverage is just the beginning. Though primaries will go through the fourth and first quarters, with increase in viewership expected, coverage could also move into Q2, and conventions will of course come in the fall.
“A large portion of the overall election and election packages we’ll be out with will be running as part of next year’s upfront,” Collins added. “So we’re talking to a lot of our upfront clients about that now and coming on board for that coverage.”
Perhaps the network’s coverage of the 2024 presidential election will go more smoothly than its coverage of 2020 presidential election. Fox News and Fox Corp are being sued by multiple voting technology companies right now, including a high-profile ongoing legal battle with Dominion Voting Systems, which is arguing that Fox News Media outlets and their hosts pushed false claims that its voting machines were rigged in the 2020 election that saw Joe Biden beat Donald Trump. Dominion is suing Fox for $1.6 billion. Fox, for its part, has consistently denied the accusations it knowingly made false claims, and has argued it is protected by the First Amendment. The lawsuit may go to trial next month.
Nevertheless, Collins said the company has a regular “cadence of communication with marketers on a case-by-case basis,” and the lawsuit “has not impacted strategy at all.”
The Fox News event took place in its midtown Manhattan headquarters, which is home to shows such as Gutfeld! and Hannity. However, press wasn’t invited to the event due to what the company said was a lack of space.
There were opening remarks from Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott, followed by a demo of Studio W with Fox News senior meteorologist Janice Dean and Fox Weather anchor Amy Freeze, among others.
Then, in the Gutfeld! studio, Collins walked advertisers through what they can look for in 2023, spotlighting the company’s “investing in … ” theme. Collins told Adweek’s Bill Bradley that the theme summarizes the company’s messaging.
“What you’re seeing across a lot of other organizations is, unfortunately, a bit of a pullback and pullback from investment, pullback in original content, certainly on the linear side, and we’re doing the exact opposite,” said Collins.
The event continued with Fox News president and executive editor Jay Wallace moderating a panel on what buyers can expect in the coming election year. Wallace will be joined by Baier, MacCallum and Bream.
Following the panel, Harris Faulkner and Johnny “Joey” Jones explained how the company is “investing in … ” America’s heroes through its focus on military and veteran programming. And later, the company focused on its up and coming talent, including Bill Melugin, Jackie DeAngelis and Lawrence Jones, who shared how Fox is “investing in … ” America’s stories.
Finally, the company shared how brands are seeing a “return on investment” with a panel hosted by The Five’s Dana Perino, Jesse Watters, Jeanine Pirro, Jessica Tarlov and Greg Gutfeld. The Five was the most-watched non-sports cable news show in 2022, averaging 3.5 million viewers.
“When you grow ratings, you’re able to increase investment, and you increase investment in original programming that continues to grow ratings even more,” Collins said.