Fox Stations Launch FLX, A New Linear And OTT Advertising Service
Fox Television Stations is rolling out a new advertising service called FLX that aims to one-up NBCUniversal’s Spot On, Sinclair Broadcast Group’s CompulseOTT and a host of other similar products.
FLX (pronounced flex), which has been in the beta testing phase for some time, provides advertisers with tools that allow them to purchase availabilities across the linear Fox TV stations along with about 150 over the top and connected TV options.
Fox has also extended its existing partnership with the pre-buy planning platform Mediaocean to include the new FLX service. “It allows us to target consumers with premium video inventory at scale from all levels of geography, from a ZIP code to a congressional district to across the country,” says Michael Page, VP of digital sales for Fox Television Stations.
The service encompasses full episode programming from Fox Sports, Fox Entertainment, Fox News, Discovery Communications as well as content distributed by Tubi, the ad-supported streaming platform that Fox acquired last year.
Page noted that FLX is a little late to the party, in that there are a number of other advertiser platforms that aim to service agencies and their clients in similar ways. In addition to Spot On and Compulse, there’s Cox’s Gamut Total, Premion, Scripps Octane and Charter Communications’ Spectrum Reach.
As cord-cutting and streaming consumption continued to escalate during the pandemic, Fox decided to take a deliberate approach, building out FLX in partnership with the software platform MadHive. It gave FLX a test drive on its stations in Chicago and Detroit about a year ago before expanding the beta test to all of Fox’s stations and the national Fox Station Sales group.
Page explains that it wanted to make sure its sales teams understood the new product; that all the kinks were ironed out; and that there was a thorough understanding of what separated it from the pack.
This month, FLX is managing about 150 campaigns. And Fox is just rolling out the expanded Mediaocean opportunity, which will make it easier for the large agency holding companies to use the service.
Page said there are three key ways that FLX is uniquely positioned. First, it uses blockchain technology to avoid any problems with fraud. “Any time there’s a new digital product out there, fraud follows,” he says. “MadHive was very focused in on the things that we can do to determine that we are giving true inventory of the highest quality and that it is legitimately targeted to a household, versus a bot or something like that.”
Second, FLX is focused on preventing another common OTT and CTV issue: ads that repeat too frequently. “We really work on optimizing frequency for advertising down to a household level,” Page says.
Third, it’s seeking to differentiate itself from the competition by avoiding the need for buyers to pay additional fees for extra targeting options. “We’re giving them all the targeting right up front,” Page says. “We’re doing everything we can to make it a high-quality product.”
The service also will give buyers insight into attribution, showing how a given ad drives consumers to websites or to purchase products and services. “We seamlessly included that in the product,” Page says.
“Our insights team can show [buyers] the impact that a campaign had on their business as the campaign is ongoing. We show them the results as they come in,” he adds. Fox is working to expand that attribution solution to the linear TV stations, so everything is on the same platform. “It’s a form that’s really designed to be a one-stop shop as a video-advertising resource.”