Advertisers — and Netflix’s lack of — were the themes of Fox’s upfront presentation, which took the hybrid approach, offering a prerecorded virtual option and in-person event at the Skylight on Vesey Street in lower Manhattan.
Ad sales chief Marianne Gambelli opened the presentation by noting Fox’s “proudly ad-supported” approach to its business. With the 2022 World Cup in Doha; NFL football (and the impending arrival, though no one knows when, of Tom Brady to the Fox Sports broadcast team), and two of the next three Super Bowls; the World Series (and MLB’s crowd-pleasing Field of Dreams game), and the fledgling USL, the network had a lot of live programming to tout. And Fox Sports chief executive officer Eric Shanks didn’t mince words when it came to the company’s core revenue driver. Addressing the assembled media buyers, Shanks quipped: “We absolutely love selling pizzas, and phones and insurance. We know, without you we would be Netflix.”
Fox News Media and Tubi (acquired by Fox in 2020 for $440 million) also received stage time with Fox News Media CEO Suzanne Scott and Tubi founder and CEO Farhad Massoudi presenting their respective portfolios. Massoudi stressed Tubi’s business model as the “only free ad-supported streaming service,” and revealed that Tubi will stream full replays of every World Cup match beginning right after the live games end. Fox Entertainment chief Charlie Collier closed the program with assists from Jon Hamm, who will voice and executive produce the animated half-hour “Grimsburg”; Jamie Foxx, who will executive produce the missing persons drama “Alert,” and Marlee Matlin, who will make her directorial debut on Howard Gordon’s crime anthology drama “Accused.”
Brady, who is set to join Fox Sports when he eventually retires, was not there. Rather, he taped a message saying that he still has a lot to do “on the field.”
Talking up Fox Entertainment’s diverse, young and dedicated audiences, Collier pointedly threw shade on the business model of rival content giants. “We know Disney and Netflix can’t afford to build their paywall without your money,” he said, addressing media buyers. “Recent headlines say advertising is back,” he said. “I didn’t know it left.”