Fox Wants 'Attention' To Be New Language For TV Ads

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Joe Marchese
Joe Marchese Credit: FOX

Joe Marchese has been vocal about shifting the TV ad marketplace to focus on consumer attention since taking over as head of ad sales at Fox Networks Group less than a year ago. Today, at an event hosted by Fox and attended by rival TV executives, high-profile talent, media buyers and marketers, he will begin to paint a picture for how this vision will translate to ad products.

Ed Davis, chief product officer ad sales at Fox Network Group, calls it "a new language for advertising…anchored in attention."

From now through the TV upfronts in May, Fox plans to introduce several new ad formats designed to allow marketers to "make the most of viewer attention."

Davis declined to go into details on the exact ad products, he provided some vague explanation on the elements of said ad products: Fox plans to alter the ad schedules within programming, experiment with ad break durations and introduce ad formats that it says will have fewer minutes of commercials and increase effectiveness for advertisers.

But a bigger part of the summit, which kicked off last night with a welcome toast from Lachlan Murdoch and conversation with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, is to get leaders in the industry talking about ways they can fix issues in TV advertising, including measurement, commercial clutter and viewer fragmentation.

Today's attendees will hear from FX CEO John Landgraf; Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising and client partnerships at NBC Universal; Charlie Collier, president and general manager of AMC Networks; entertainer and entrepreneur Sean "Diddy" Combs and showrunner Ryan Murphy. They will also get a hacker's perspective on ad fraud and discuss consumers' changing emotional relationship with brands and the limits of big data.

Fox's gathering, which is taking place in Los Angeles, follows a similar event hosted by NBCU late last year. The peacock assembled top media buyers, marketers and rival TV leaders to address these same issues. But many in attendance left feeling like little was achieved.

And in the way of new ad formats, NBCU announced on Wednesday that it is reducing the number of ads running in primetime programming by 20 percent and decrease ad time by 10%. It's also introducing a new "prime pod," among other formats, designed to make the commercials more contextually relevant to the content where they run.

It remains to be seen if Marchese's efforts will result in any solutions, but over the last year TV networks have certainly realized the importance of open dialog with not only clients and agencies but with staunch rivals. The past year has brought about the invention of OpenAP, a consortium started by Turner, Fox and Viacom to help standardize audience buying on TV, while a group of networks like A&E Networks and Discovery Communications have started to test a new attribution model that works to prove TV advertising drives tangible business results.

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