Has the Fox broadcast network become a cable-like niche service? You might think so after listening to the presentations execs made to advertisers today. After another year of down ratings in primetime, entertainment chairman Kevin Reilly boasted that “Fox reaches the hard to reach” — notably Millennials. He sketched a strategy that offers the “most youthful audience at scale” while Fox starts “redefining the network experience” as it begins “eventizing our entertainment slate.” He promised “the biggest investment we’ve ever made” in shows that offer “urgency.” In addition to its new series, it’s making a big commitment to specials that represent “one of the ways we’re looking to drive tune-in all year long.”
Nobody can talk about Millennials without including new media initiatives. Fox says that its animation studio has over 100 animators working on digital shorts, a partnership to produce online videos with Andy Sandberg’s comedy group The Lonely Island. “Your brands are always in an environment you can trust” with Fox’s digital content, Ad Sales President Toby Byrne says. He also is high on VOD where “the fast forward is disabled so the ads cannot be skipped….VOD is TV and we all need to be there.” Fox shows are available on demand in 19 of the top 20 markets, and offers dynamic ad insertion in 75% of the country. In addition, Byrne touted an app that will offer all episodes of The Simpsons on demand. “It will be very cool, very innovative, and very Simpsons,” Byrne says.