During NATPE Virtual Miami 2021, Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations, shared learned best practices for attracting and retaining viewers at a time in the industry when the market is more competitive than ever.
“When we became a new company, our syndication organization went to Disney, so we were left without the infrastructure to launch new shows. However, we didn’t think that would be too much of a problem because of the big group that we are. We also do rely on the big studios, which keep bringing new stuff out,” Abernethy stated.
Then, the CEO of Fox Television Stations admitted that the company’s lineup and its presence in so many markets make it “have a tremendous need for shows”. In that sense, he said that Fox “was fortunate to get Jay Leno’s show,” referring to the reboot of “You Bet Your Life,” the new version of the game show that is going to be hosted by Leno and it is going to launch in a couple of weeks. Ahead of its debut, the format “has already been sold in 85% of the United States,” and will launch across Fox’s portfolio of 29 stations.
Later, he referred to the world of streaming and explained what he describes as his “philosophy of streaming” by telling a little story about his personal experience. “I was in a major network back in the 80s when cable came along. The big companies took an approach which was not ideal. They were reluctant to move money from a high money-margin business to a low one. They also wanted to just take what they were doing and put it into the new format. The belief was ‘the more money you spend, the more you will succeed’ or ‘if you put promotion behind something, it will work’. None of those big companies succeeded back in the days, but so did others more innovative, such as Turner or Discovery,” he said.
“Fast-forward, the world wide web comes. And, again, the same thing happened: companies were reluctant to put money on the low-margin business. The innovation once again came from other companies that were using the platform to serve people’s needs and do something different than they were doing on the main channel. With that in mind, I think now it is all happening again with a new format called streaming,” he added.
According to CEO of Fox Television Stations, we are now living in a world where the viewer is making the decisions. “You can create a show and promote it to death, but it might not work. The consumer is going to decide,” he assured. To conclude, he remarked that, in the end, the most important thing is to “find an audience that really love your product and come back regularly”.
You can create a show and promote it to death, but it might not work. The consumer is going to decide” Jack Abernethy CEO of Fox Television Stations