Opinions

Fox Knows The Score

Posted by Matt Rosenberg on April 3rd, 2011 at 6:54 pm

Fox is a very self-aware company about the trouble the network TV business is in. First, the network reacted to Cablevision taking them off the air in a carriage fee dispute by blocking Cablevision ISP subscribers from Hulu, showing that they understand that the network is unnecessary if you want to watch Glee. Now Jim Gianopulos, the chairman of the 20th Century Fox movie studio is scolding cinemas for annoying customers by cluttering the pre-show screen with ads when the audience is used to being able to skip ads with their DVR.

The irony is that theater owners are doing the thing that TV networks used to be able to do quite well: monetize a captive audience. Mr. Gianopulos told the truth -- people don't like having their attention hijacked. Just because they are captive doesn't mean they will accept being hawked at.

The NY Times article that reported this implies that Mr. Gianopulos issued this statement as a partial explanation for the 20% Q1 decline in theatrical revenue. If people are so upset about ads screaming at them that they will avoid seeing a first run movie in its exclusive theatrical run, what does that say about ads on television shows that you can watch off-network the next day?

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