Tuesday, September 14, 2021

Fox Entertainment To Acquire TMZ

Fox's entertainment unit announced Monday that it is acquiring TMZ, the celebrity gossip site and TV show. The price tag, according to Bloomberg citing people familiar with the deal, is less than $50 million. The move is the latest step in an ongoing effort to build a new entertainment business after Fox sold a large chunk of its assets to Walt Disney Co. three years ago, including the 20th Century Fox studio and the FX and National Geographic cable channels. 

“When everybody is trying to move their viewer behind a paywall, we see great opportunity in ad-supported businesses,” Collier said. 

Charlie Collier
Prior to joining Fox in November 2018, the 52-year-old Charlie Collier was president of AMC, the edgy cable TV network responsible for hits like “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad” and “The Walking Dead.” At the time, moving into the broadcast TV business was hardly an obvious next career move. Streaming video-on-demand networks like Netflix were the next big thing in home entertainment.  

In 2020, Fox acquired Tubi, an ad-supported streaming service, for $440 million. Since then, Fox has been moving some of its hits, such as the brick-building competition show “Lego Masters,” over to the free service. This fiscal year, Tubi’s advertising revenue more than doubled to nearly $400 million. 

The company acquired Bento Box Entertainment, maker of the animated show “Bob’s Burgers.” Last month, Fox announced a production partnership with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, the star of two shows that aired during the summer on Fox, “Hell’s Kitchen: Young Guns” and “MasterChef: Legends.” Ramsay said he talked to other potential partners, but chose Fox in the end. “It’s always felt like home at Fox, and now it’s more official than ever,” he said. 

The TMZ deal will add yet another multiplatform piece to Fox’s growing portfolio of brands. Content from TMZ, which has a large online following and a TV show that has run on local Fox stations for 14 years, can be put on Tubi and used to help promote Fox shows. The network is already a TMZ advertiser. There’s also an opportunity to create more programming around the TMZ name, such as documentaries for the network or the Tubi service.

Reuters reports Fox will own and operate all TMZ-branded media properties, including the syndicated TV shows “TMZ” and “TMZ Live," both of which air on network affiliates owned by Fox Television Stations; the sports site TMZ Sports and program “TMZ Sports,” celebrity and culture website TooFab.com and TMZ.com, and celebrity tour operations in Los Angeles and New York.

TMZ founder and Managing Editor Harvey Levin will remain with TMZ and continue to oversee day-to-day operations for the brand, Fox said in a news release. He will report to Rob Wade, Fox Entertainment’s president of Alternative Entertainment and Specials.

For two years in a row, Fox has managed to keep its title as the No. 1 network for 18-to-49-year-old viewers, the audience targeted by advertisers. But running a broadcast network in 2021 remains a unique challenge. Audiences are turning away en masse from regularly scheduled TV, and Fox is not immune from the resulting decline in ratings. The network averaged 4.2 million total viewers nightly in prime time through the season that ended in May, down 15% from 2017. 

To combat the downward trend, Fox has focused on sports and reality shows that draw more live viewers. Earlier this year it renewed its NFL contract at the staggering rate of more than $2 billion a year. The company has also been using the network to promote  Fox Bet, a new sports betting venture.

No comments:

Post a Comment