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FOX Revenue Growth Depends on Sports Programming

Jason Barrett

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21st Century Fox’s broadcasting network witnessed double-digit drop in key demo ratings as well as total viewers in calendar year 2015. This can be attributed to the absence of Super Bowl, which aided the 2014 viewership. Fox will air Super Bowl 51 in 2017 and that will surely lift its overall revenues and ratings next year. Television ratings primarily impact the advertising revenues for a media company. Even if we exclude the impact of 2014 Super Bowl, Fox has still posted advertising losses at its broadcasting segment in the past few quarters. This can be attributed to lower viewership at its television shows as more people embrace digital video platforms, thereby impacting the ratings on traditional television.

Also, the broadcasting advertising trends are uneven, as they are driven by various events such as political campaigns and sports.  In 2015, U.S. broadcast ad spending declined 3% while it was up 13% in Q4, reflecting strong scatter market.  Q4 numbers are impressive and this will likely bode well for the broadcasting networks in upcoming earnings. 2016 will also bode well for broadcasting networks due to the Olympics and the Presidential election. These events will likely accelerate television ad spending and Fox, along with other broadcasting networks, will benefit from the trend as well.

Fox’s advertising revenues have been hovering around $5 billion in the last few years. The network’s advertising is impacted by lower ratings, which were down 15% in key demographics and down 12% in total viewership for calendar year 2015. We estimate the broadcasting revenues will have declined around 3% for the calendar year 2015. Despite the ratings pressure, we expect Fox’s advertising to grow in low-single-digits in the coming years. Below we discuss why.

Fox has an abundance of sports programming to leverage higher ad revenues in the coming years, especially Super Bowl 51 in 2017. The Super Bowl generates solid ad revenues for broadcasters. For instance, ads for 2015 telecast were sold at $4.5 million for a 30-second spot by NBC, and the 2016 price are expected to be around $5 million for CBS and even higher for Fox next year. Apart from the Super Bowl, Fox has rights to college football games, among others. In fact, broadcasting networks (the big 4 networks) have seen stellar growth of 35% in their advertising income from sports coverage in the last 5 years. For the 2014-15 television season, the big four networks generated close to $8.5 billion in sports ad sales, representing 37% of the overall ad revenues. We expect the broadcasting networks to continue this trajectory in the coming years.

Fox will also benefit from low upfront sales for the current television season. The network had more units to sell in the scatter market, which is seeing solid growth in pricing, as is evident from the ad spending uptick of 13% in Q4. Also, Fox being one of the Big 4 broadcasting networks will absorb a significant chunk of political ad spending amid the Presidential election this year.

To read more visit Forbes where this article was originally published

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Sports TV News

Chris Fallica Leaving ESPN for FOX

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Jordan Bondurant

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A prominent sports betting voice featured on ESPN’s College GameDay will be heading to rival FOX and their Big Noon Kickoff show starting in 2023. According to Awful Announcing, Chris Fallica, affectionately known as “The Bear”, will make his last appearance on GameDay will be this weekend.

Fallica has been with ESPN since 1995. Since 2013, Fallica had been featured on GameDay making betting picks with his patented “Bear’s Board”.

Neither FOX or ESPN would comment on the situation, but in the Awful Announcing report it’s believed that there will be a send-off of some sort for Fallica on Saturday.

Fallica joins Tom Rinaldi as the second former GameDay voice to jump over to FOX and be featured on Big Noon Kickoff.

Both shows have experienced incredible viewership growth this season. For GameDay, there have been several weeks this season that have seen some of the largest audiences in the show’s history.

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Sports TV News

Tim Brando Believes Executives Look For Familiarity, Not Great Voices For Announcers

“Executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio. As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Tim Brando has seen the broadcasting industry has evolved in a lot of ways through the years, but one thing that’s remained constant is how infrequently some of the announcing gigs with major networks open up to younger voices.

That’s mainly because you have veteran talent already occupying those positions with no plans for the immediate future to step aside.

On a recent edition of The Sports Talkers Podcast, FOX Sports broadcaster and host Tim Brando spoke to Stephen Strom about the reality that many broadcasters face.

“Yeah there are a lot more jobs, but there are fewer great jobs,” Brando said. “A lot of guys are getting jobs, but it’s like a dead end.”

But in terms of hiring younger talent for network jobs, he thinks it’s become more about adding faces to broadcast booths rather than voices.

“There’s a tendency I think now in our business to hire more visible and perhaps more popular talent because they’ve been in the studio,” he said. “But they’re not ready to be in the booth. Not everybody can do both well.”

Tim added that there’s a nuance to calling play-by-play versus working studio coverage. Brando said that perhaps it has a lot more to do with young broadcasters bypassing getting their start in radio and going right into TV.

“It seems to me that in some circles anyway in our business, executives are going more for people they think they audience knows from having been in the studio,” he said. “As opposed to man that’s a great voice, that guy really gets it, and his judgement is fantastic.”

Brando did mention some of the younger voices at FOX who have risen to the bigger opportunities in the booth, and how they ultimately worked their way up. He said he’s had the chance to offer advice to a few of them and act as a mentor in a way, because that’s how it was for him breaking into the industry.

“I believe in pouring into the young broadcasters out there, I really do,” he said. “Because Curt Gowdy poured into me. I think there’s a responsibility and a level of accountability for the generation before to help those that are coming up that you really respect.”

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MLB Network Airing 38 Hours of Winter Meetings Coverage

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Jordan Bondurant

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The annual winter meetings for MLB are set to take place in-person for the first time since 2019 next week, and MLB Network is ready to bring viewers all the coverage possible from San Diego.

The network is devoting 38 hours of live programming on-site, with shows like MLB Tonight, Hot Stove, High Heat, MLB Now and Intentional Talk emanating from the Manchester Grand Hyatt Hotel.

Coverage will begin on Sunday at 7 p.m. with MLB Tonight leading into the announcement of the Contemporary Baseball Era Committee’s election results for the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Fans tuning in to MLB Network can expect to see Greg Amsinger, Fran Charles, Brian Kenny, Stephen Nelson, Alanna Rizzo, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, Lauren Shehadi and Matt Vasgersian hosting their respective shows throughout the week. Sean Casey, Mark DeRosa, Al Leiter, Cameron Maybin, Kevin Millar, Dan O’Dowd, Steve Phillips and Harold Reynolds will contribute coverage as analysts.

MLB Network will also carry coverage of the inaugural draft lottery from the winter meetings on Tuesday, December 6 at 8:30 p.m.

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