2018 FOX upfront presentation recap

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New ad format, football, six new series for 2018-19

On Monday, May 14, Fox Networks Group (FNG) took to the stage at the Beacon Theatre in New York City to present its 2018-19 primetime programming schedule. The presentation, which featured FNG executives and talent from FOX’s current and new shows, highlighted FNG’s newest ad format, FOX’s focus on football, six new series in the 2018-19 primetime programming schedule and more.

“JAZ pods”
Joe Marchese, President of Advertising Revenue for FNG, kicked things off by talking about how powerful stories usually comprise multiple storylines artfully woven together. Similarly, brands’ stories must be thoughtfully woven together with creative content and live events so viewers and brands both benefit.

JAZ pods” (“JAZ” stands for “Just A and Z”) is the latest ad innovation to help make this happen. FNG’s newest ad format features just two 30-second national commercials per break, reducing the total number of commercials by more than 60 percent. Each brand in those two spots will have immediate proximity to FNG content, making it more memorable to viewers. JAZ pods will debut later this year across Fox Network Group’s portfolio, including during live sports events, and they will be the only ad format available for “The Weekly,” the new year-round collaboration between FX and The New York Times.

“These will be among the most powerful ads in television,” Joe said. “How impactful? I would argue that it’s not in percentages but multiples. How many fewer times will you have to show your ad? Lower frequency, higher impact – the viewer wins and brands win.”

Joe also pointed to sponsored-stream engagement ads, in-action six-second ads, live-to-live commercials, and talent-curated commercials to forge a stronger connection between the commercial break and programming, and original co-production with in-house agency All City as some of the many innovations FNG offers to brands.

“New FOX”
“We want to welcome you to ‘New FOX,’” Dana Walden, Fox Television Group Chairman and CEO, told the audience as she walked onto the stage.

“This is such an exciting time for our network,” Gary Newman, Fox Television Group Chairman and CEO, added. “We have an opportunity to chart a new course for broadcast television.”

Dana and Gary underscored four main pillars for “New FOX”:

  1. Broadly appealing dramas and comedies
  2. Star-driven unscripted and live events
  3. Primetime’s only animation block
  4. Biggest broadcast portfolio in sports

“And that includes the most football on any network, ever,” Dana added.

Football in America
“New FOX” will have an exclusive focus on the U.S. marketplace, where football is the No. 1 sport. With NFL broadcasts on Sundays and Thursdays this fall, FOX will own 40 percent of all regular-season viewing.

The emphasis on NFL broadcasts means that FOX’s fall rating in the adults 18-49 demographic will increase 15 percent. It also means FOX will have its highest audience circulation in years, as well as 82 percent live viewership, more than any of its competitors.

A younger, more engaged audience
Dana and Gary also said FOX’s audience will be the most gender-balanced, the most diverse and the youngest compared with other networks. “And a younger audience is a more engaged audience,” Gary said.

To underscore this point, Gary said that FOX has a positive social media sentiment of 93 percent and the highest brand affinity of any major network. It also has a social footprint across Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook of 225 million – more than any of its competitors.

Another strong season
FOX’s total multiplatform audience across Hulu, FOX NOW and VOD platforms grew 5 percent this season. FOX NOW’s audience grew 30 percent, according to Gary.

With the first seasons of “9-1-1,” “The Resident,” “The Orville” and “The Gifted,” FOX boasted four of the top 10 new TV series this season, more than any other network. “The landscape is crazy competitive, but we are programming shows that stand out,” Dana said.

Later in the presentation, Joe Buck, FOX Sports lead play-by-play announcer for MLB, USGA and NFL coverage, talked through live sports in more detail. He shared that FOX Sports finished the year as the No. 1 network for live sports for the first time in 13 years. “And as we all know, live sports is king,” Joe said.

Programming announcements
“The Four,” “The Resident,” “The Gifted,” “The Orville” and “9-1-1” are all returning for second seasons on FOX. Nearly two-thirds of FOX’s first-season shows this year earned a second season, the network’s highest success rate in nearly 20 years. And “The Simpsons,” now the longest-running scripted series in TV history, is kicking off Season 30 this Sunday. “That would give us a schedule defined by momentum and stability,” Gary said.

The fall 2018 primetime programming schedule for FOX will welcome three new comedies: “Last Man Standing,” “The Cool Kids” and “Rel.”

The midseason schedule will welcome two new series: “The Passage,” and “Proven Innocent.” Also, the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning limited series “Cosmos” will return in spring 2019 with “Cosmos: Possible Worlds”; and the live musical production of the Tony Award- and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical “Rent” will air on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019, on FOX.

Read more about FOX’s primetime schedule for the 2018-19 season, as well as descriptions of all the network’s new showsYou can also watch trailers for FOX’s six new series.

Here are some photos from FOX’s programming presentation and the post-show party: