Fox's Sell Rests on Schedule's Strength

An Upfront Q&A with Jon Nesvig

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NEW YORK ( -- With News Corp.'s results out today, Jon Nesvig, president-sales, Fox Broadcasting, must be feeling pretty good. After all, the company cited strong ratings for "American Idol," "24" and "House" as a reason for its profitable third quarter, especially given the 17% rise in the adults 18-to-49 demographic. With the start of the upfront market just days away, Advertising Age's Claire Atkinson spoke with Mr. Nesvig about his prediction for the market and whether or not he's an ad skipper.
Fox President-Sales Jon Nesvig
Fox President-Sales Jon Nesvig

MediaWorks: What does the upfront look like this year?

Jon Nesvig: It's the same prediction as last year, half to 1%. We'd like to see the upfront grow, but a 1% growth upfront total doesn't bother me. With the cable diversion of money, a lot of major cable brands have reached saturation. They're just building frequency, reach still remains the province of broadcast.

MediaWorks: Who or what is your biggest competitor for dollars?

Nesvig: Non-measured media continue to get the lion's share of marketing dollars.

MediaWorks: What economic factors have the greatest effect on the upfront?

Nesvig: Overall economic growth, corporate profits and competitiveness within key categories are going to have the greatest impact on upfront dollars this year.

MediaWorks: What's the most common negotiating tactic you hear from buyers?

Nesvig: Buyers don't seem to be as focused on price as they are on ideas and engagement

MediaWorks: What's unique about your offering?

Nesvig: The success and diversity of our schedule. If you look at "House," it continues to do amazing numbers, [as well as] "American Idol" and "Prison Break" and "Bones" and "The O.C." and the Sunday night comedies.

MediaWorks: Are cross-platform sales coming back into fashion?

Nesvig: It all goes back to the advertisers' need to get the right package done. This is taking an idea that is content-generated and spreading it across other platforms. As much as people are talking about looking elsewhere, we'll be there.

MediaWorks: Will digital dollars move out of the TV pot?

Nesvig: Emerging media have been funded out of newspaper classifieds. The Internet [players] with big-reach vehicles seem to be a compelling combination, and how much that helps or hurts, it's hard to know. Broadcast combined with emerging media platforms will be the way to go.

MediaWorks: How will the DVR debate be resolved?

Nesvig: As for the DVR debate, I'm more interested in the rate of exchange than the currency.

MediaWorks: Do you ad skip?

Nesvig: Personally, I love the commercials.
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