Brands Brief: Fox Networks Group Plans to Reduce Television Ad Time

Top Stories

  • Fox Networks Group is working to reduce television ad time to two minutes an hour by 2020, according to ad sales head Joe Marchese, in what would be a big shift compared to Nielsen’s estimated average amount of ad time an hour on broadcast of a little over 13 minutes in 2017. In order to avoid losing money, Fox would likely need to increase ad prices and change the way it sells ads, using metrics focused on time spent with content rather than number of views. (The Wall Street Journal)
  • A record low 26.5 million people watched the 90th Academy Awards on Sunday night, a nearly 20 percent drop versus last year and a striking slide compared to an audience of 43.7 million as recently as four years ago. The decline falls in line with other live events already this year; in January, audiences for the Grammys and the Screen Actors Guild Awards dipped by 24 percent and 30 percent respectively. (The New York Times)
  • McDonald’s Corp. has begun serving fresh-beef Quarter Pounders and premium burgers at about 3,500 United States restaurants and will expand the initiative to most of its other U.S. locations in May. The move to fresh beef — rather than frozen — is the biggest change to operations since McDonald’s began offering all-day breakfast in 2015, according to the company’s U.S president, Chris Kempczinski, and comes as the company works to improve food quality and variety to counter rivals and premium chains. (Reuters)

Chart Review

Events Calendar (All Times Local)

LeadsCon Las Vegas 7 a.m.
CMO Digital Insight Summit 7 a.m.
AdMonsters Publisher Forum 8 a.m.
BRITE Conference 8:20 a.m.
ANA Machine Learning Marketing webinar 1 p.m.
LeadsCon Las Vegas 7:30 a.m.
CMO Digital Insight Summit 8 a.m.
AdMonsters Publisher Forum 8 a.m.
C3 2018 8 a.m.
Speechwriters and Executive Communicators Conference 9 a.m.
ANA Television & Video Landscape webinar 1 p.m.
ANA Marketing & Sales webinar 3 p.m.
Data & Programmatic Insider Summit 6:30 p.m.
Engage Conference 7:30 a.m.
AMA Content Marketing Training 8 a.m.
Data & Programmatic Insider Summit 8 a.m.
C3 2018 9 a.m.
Speechwriters and Executive Communicators Conference 9 a.m.
PRSA business and social purpose discussion 6:30 p.m.
AMA Content Marketing Training 8 a.m.
Data & Programmatic Insider Summit 8 a.m.
Speechwriters and Executive Communicators Conference 9 a.m.
SEO and Content Trends webinar 1 p.m.

The Most Polarizing Brands in America

From the NFL to CNN, here are the brands that divide Democrats and Republicans the most.


Fox Wants to Reduce Ad Time to Two Minutes per Hour by 2020
Alexandra Bruell, The Wall Street Journal

Fox Networks Group’s ad sales chief, Joe Marchese, is setting a lofty goal for the broadcast network: reducing TV ad time to two minutes an hour by 2020. Mr. Marchese announced that target at a private industry event it hosted last week in Los Angeles, where advertisers, buyers and executives from rival media companies discussed TV advertising’s woes.

Marriott to move entire paid media business to Publicis Groupe
Sara Fischer, Axios

Marriott International, the largest global hotel company, will consolidate its entire paid media business under one roof, and will make Publicis Groupe its new agency of record, Axios has learned. Creative agency partners will not change.

Why Brands Are Faking Out Consumers With Ads Disguised as Movie Trailers
Katie Richards, Adweek

In the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, movie buffs were surprised to find IMDb pages popping up online and unexpected trailers dropping for what appeared to be a reboot of Crocodile Dundee. The trailers for Dundee looked expertly shot, with a dazzling cast of Danny McBride and Chris Hemsworth to match. Viewers soon learned the marketing for Dundee was a sham.

Whistleblower Account Diet Madison Avenue Goes Dark (Update: It’s Back)
Lindsay Stein, Advertising Age

Anonymous Instagram account Diet Madison Avenue, which since January has been publicly naming advertising industry execs it says have engaged in sexual harassment, has gone dark. The group tweeted on Monday morning that it either got hacked or the Instagram account was shut down due to complaints.

Media and Entertainment

Oscars Ratings Hit Record Low
John Koblin, The New York Times

The doomsday ratings scenario has hit the Oscars. A record low 26.5 million people watched Sunday night’s telecast, a nearly 20 percent drop versus last year.

Disney Names James Pitaro to Head ESPN
Brian Steinberg, Variety

Walt Disney named James Pitaro, who had been leading its consumer-products and digital divisions, to oversee ESPN, placing an executive with years of experience in digital media atop one of its most lucrative and best-known assets. He will also serve as co-chair of the company’s TV operations.

The Athletic Raises $20 Million to Fund Expansion
Benjamin Mullin, The Wall Street Journal

The Athletic, a subscription-based sports media startup, is preparing to more than double its staffing and expand to new professional sports markets after securing a new investment round. Two years after launching as “the new sports page,” the Athletic has raised $20 million, according to Athletic co-founder and Chief Executive Alex Mather.

NASCAR revamps its content group to meld edit and content marketing
Sahil Patel, Digiday

As a sports league that both produces a ton of its own content and needs to market its brand to younger and newer fans, NASCAR exists as both a publisher and a marketer. It’s forced the league to restructure how it approaches its editorial and marketing content internally.

Social Media and Technology

Amazon Targets PayPal Strategy in Forging Bank Partnerships
Spencer Soper, Bloomberg Inc. wants to appeal to more cashless customers, like tech-savvy millennials, while trying to cut its transaction expenses, copying a strategy set by PayPal Holdings Inc. The e-commerce giant is in talks with JPMorgan Chase Financial Co., Capital One Financial Corp. and other banks about creating new online accounts, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Facebook asks users: Should we allow men to ask children for sexual images?
Alex Hern, The Guardian

Facebook has admitted it was a “mistake” to ask users whether paedophiles requesting sexual pictures from children should be allowed on its website. On Sunday, the social network ran a survey for some users asking how they thought the company should handle grooming behaviour.

Here’s Why Amazon Bought a Doorbell Company
Brad Stone, Bloomberg

Last week Inc. bought the Santa Monica, California-based smart home equipment maker Ring for an estimated $1 billion in cash. Though filled with less import than the company’s $13.4 billion acquisition of Whole Foods Market last year, the deal was the second-largest in Amazon’s history.

New Foils for the Right: Google and Facebook
Michael M. Grynbaum And John Herrman, The New York Times

Conservatives are zeroing in on a new enemy in the political culture wars: Big Tech. Arguing that Silicon Valley is stifling their speech and suppressing right-wing content, publishers and provocateurs on the right are eyeing a public-relations battle against online giants like Google and Facebook, the same platforms they once relied on to build a national movement.

Rare, Cox Media’s Facebook-driven conservative site, is shutting down
Sara Fischer, Axios, the viral content site launched by Cox Media in 2013 to take on the ever-evolving digital landscape from a right of center lens, will shut down at the end of the month, according to Facebook posts by its top editors. Why it matters: It’s another example of a viral website built on Facebook traffic that is shutting down after Facebook announced it would be making changes to its News Feed algorithm to weed out publisher content.

‘Facebook or bust’: Facebook publisher Attn stands its ground after news-feed change
Lucia Moses, Digiday

On March 1 at Attn, a social video news startup, a couple dozen staffers in the L.A. headquarters got an email summoning them to a meeting. The all-caps subject line: “February views emergency meeting.”

Employees kept crashing into the glass walls at Apple’s new headquarters. Here’s what they told 911.
Hamza Shaban, The Washington Post

Apple’s new state-of-the-art $5 billion “spaceship” campus boasts a huge glass-walled building with the latest in energy efficiencies, and a 100,000-square-foot fitness center, and it sits amid an orchard, meadows and a pond. But the serene office space appears to have caused some trouble for several employees.

PR and Marketing

McDonald’s flips to fresh beef in 3,500 U.S. restaurants
Richa Naidu and Lisa Baertlein, Reuters

McDonald’s Corp said on Tuesday that it had begun serving fresh beef Quarter Pounders and other premium burgers at about 3,500 restaurants in the United States, and most of its other U.S. locations will follow suit by May. McDonald’s Corp said on Tuesday that it had begun serving fresh beef Quarter Pounders and other premium burgers at about 3,500 restaurants in the United States, and most of its other U.S. locations will follow suit by May.

Walmart goes gourmet, taking its meal kits nationwide
Zlati Meyer, USA Today

Defying the image of meal kits as a quick gourmet dinner solution for upscale city dwellers, Walmart said Monday that it’s going to expand its own version nation in a move that brings a gourmet flourish to middle America. The giant retailer announced that its meal kits be available in more than 2,000 of its stores over the course of this year.

Amazon is bringing free Whole Foods delivery to Prime members in San Francisco and Atlanta
Jason Del Rey, Recode

Amazon is expanding its delivery partnership with Whole Foods by rolling out free delivery from the grocery chain to Prime members in San Francisco and Atlanta. Orders that total at least $35 can be delivered within two hours for free through Amazon’s Prime Now service, or within one hour for an extra $7.99 fee.

In Fashion and Beauty Ads, Less Skin and More Empowerment
Ray A. Smith, The Wall Street Journal

Makers of clothes and cosmetics are starting to keep highly sexualized or unrealistic images of women from their advertising in response to pressure from millennial women and their younger counterparts in Generation Z. An ad campaign by New York-based designer Alexander Wang debuting March 5 will show no women’s faces or bodies.

Opinions, Editorials, Perspectives and Research

Diet Madison Avenue Is Creating A Culture Of Fear. There’s A Better Way
Karen McKibben, Advertising Age

In January, a friend asked me if I had heard about an Instagram account called Diet Madison Avenue that was trying to get men fired for sexual harassment. I followed briefly to see if it was something I could support and quickly realized how dangerous anonymous social media could be. I unfollowed. Then people stadrted getting fired and I knew I had to do something.

Why Spotify Won’t Be the Netflix of Music
Stephen Wilmot, The Wall Street Journal

Musicians have long complained about the power of big record labels. Investors tempted to buy Spotify stock when it goes public later this month could end up sympathizing. The popular music-streaming app has revived the recorded music industry but done little to disrupt its balance of power.

Facebook working on approach to classifying satirical news pieces
Erik Wemple, The Washington Post

The Babylon Bee last week took it on the digital chin. A satirical Christian site, the Bee had published a story alleging that CNN had acquired an industrial-caliber washing machine to “spin” the news.

From neural nets to autonomous machine learning algorithms: The many different ways marketers define AI
Ilyse Liffreing, Digiday

Artificial intelligence is one of the marketing industry’s principal buzzwords right now. Like many en vogue terms, definitions can range all over the map.