OT: FoxSports.com has reportedly lost 88% of its audience after pivoting to video

Submitted by Kewaga. on September 27th, 2017 at 1:38 AM

Remember the board's discussion recently regarding our preference on how we like to consume our news..... via print or video?  With an overwhelming majority voting for the former over the later.  Additionally, if you remember the topic was brought up by Fox's choice to pivot from print to video.   


Well, the results are in...


In the wake of the “new and improved” FoxSports.com, the reviews were universally negative.


And true to expectation, that has shown up in the first substantially reported numbers about the traffic to FoxSports.com. SI’s Richard Deitsch reports that traffic dropped an astounding 88% since the “pivot to video.” Their traffic has gone from over 143 million in a monthly period to just under 17 million.



The entire strategy of “pivoting to video” isn’t so much about maintaining pageviews as it is making money. Higher ad rates for videos plus all of those writer salaries off the books means Fox may not be actually doing all that bad from a business perspective in spite of what seems to be terrible news about their disappearing audience.


That’s when Fox Sports has to ask if it’s all worth it, though. Is perhaps a few extra bucks in video ads worth all of the negative publicity and a rapid descent into complete and total obscurity in the online sports economy?







September 27th, 2017 at 10:47 AM ^

So I'm confused, are they really saving money doing video vs print? If you do print you have a few writers spitting out an article or 2 per day.

If you have all video you still have writers writing the scripts, on air personalities reading the scripts, camermen, sound guys, editing guys, etc etc. I'm sure they already have the video dept but if they are doing 500% more videos now they'd have to hire more of them. 



September 27th, 2017 at 2:32 AM ^

Umm.. agree with the sentiment, but Google Glass may not be the best example to make your point. Admittedly, it has not had the expected level of success as a consumer product, but it already has a second life as an enterprise product and I wouldn't be surprised to see it relaunched in the consumer market with enhanced features and have some success.


(not affiliated with Google in any way -- just a tech nerd)


September 27th, 2017 at 4:34 PM ^

notoriously do very little market research/hiring of consultants.  They just build whatever they want, and what they know will be the future (wearables, self-driving cars, etc), despite the fact that that technology might do poorly in market research. 

They can afford to test things out and learn from those tests even if they aren't immediately commercially viable.  That's a success to them, because the information will be useful down the road.

And to be fair to market researchers, I guarantee the Dave Brandon and his ego thought he could apply his "branding expertise" to M football without realizing that M football fans and their relationship to the product are very different from the people who buy domino's pizza and why they do.  Any decent market research firm would have polled the right people and said, whoa, dude, this a bad idea.

Also, you just have to hire a winning coach and try not to bungle PR scenarios.


September 27th, 2017 at 2:09 AM ^

Your caveat is not a small issue, it’s the main one. Videos make revenue for these sites and they can only survive by getting you to consume it. Articles aren’t a viable strategy because they are expensive to produce and you read fewer articles per unit time than watch videos. Especially if their videos autoplay, so you end up watching many in a row. The catch is not that they switched to videos, it’s that they don’t have good enough videos to attract viewers to their site. They might still make more money with 17M viewers if they get them to watch a lot of vids.


September 27th, 2017 at 3:02 AM ^

it's not about people reading "fewer articles per unit time."  It's about advertisers having no reliable way to track the effectiveness of video ads.  The reason everyone is pivoting to video is that traditional clickthrough web ads are like the most transparent form of advertising out there.  Advertisers know exactly how effective the ads are because of the clickthroughs, and the answer is: incredibly ineffective.  

There's no reason to think video ads are more effective, but people who do this say they're far more difficult to track and analyze.  Facebook recently had to adjust its estimates of video engagement massively downward because of a "mistake" it made in the calculations.  "Pivot to video" is just another way of saying "trick advertisers for a while," and I don't see any way it's sustainable in the long term.  In the meantime, it's pissing off its readers, who want good written content (very few people like video, in part because people do a huge chunk of their internet surfing at work).  


September 27th, 2017 at 7:47 AM ^

I do this for a living and this is wrong.  Click-through-rates are not correlated with sales for traditional brands/products sold in retail stores.  They are effective only for direct-to-consumer businesses, but this is still only a small portion of overall sales.

Videos have been proven to be more effective through Marketing Mix Modeling, which is the most sophisticated measurement system for brands/products that are sold primarily offline.  Video CPMs are typically 5X of Display CPMs, so they may not be in that bad of shape, even if they lost 88% of their traffic.  That comparison can climb to ~7X if they can guarantee hitting certain demographics, which becomes easier for publishers like Fox Sports if they have registration data from logins.


September 27th, 2017 at 9:29 AM ^

I do this for living as well and this is correct. Video ads are much more effective in driving (good) traffic and conversion. And it is pretty easy to track video ad conversion, really no different than banner ads.


September 27th, 2017 at 10:10 AM ^

they can only survive by getting you to consume it.

People are not watching the videos.  They are not consuming the content.  Plain and simple.

That's what the 88% decline means.  You know it and I know it.

All the fancystats are meaningless if people are not legitimately "consuming" your content.

You are missing the forest for the trees.


Lou MacAdoo

September 27th, 2017 at 2:50 PM ^

I refuse to watch the damn video ads. Especially the ones that autoplay or the ones that run right before a video I want to watch. I'm sure it registers that I consumed the content, but I sure as hell did not. Now the banner ads that on my favorite sites and print ads in my newspaper I do consume. Perhaps it's because I don't feel as though they're being forced on me.


September 27th, 2017 at 4:56 PM ^

with good written content?  You might get some people to read it, but you're not going to make any money because those ads are as you say "incredibly ineffective".  And you're correct.  We've all become very good at ignoring the ads.  So why produce good content if you can't monetize it?

At least the video strategy isn't known not to work, but what they were doing definitely did not work.

So to those talking about, "if it ain't broke..." well, it was broke.  I give them credit for at least trying a model that might work (and we don't even know for sure if their profitability is worse now).


September 27th, 2017 at 8:57 AM ^

I don't want to watch some hackney dick wad make exaggerated gestures and facial expressions while reading the words to me. I just want to read the goddamn article, and leave. I don't want your stupid hipster studio hacks to entertain me. 

I really think we've gone over the edge to full blown Idiocracy, and it makes me angry. When did we become so collectively stupid as a people? 


September 27th, 2017 at 5:39 AM ^

eventually advertisers will figure out that no one is watching the video ads either, and then foxsports is just a website with a bunch of videos no one wants to watch making no ad revenue


September 27th, 2017 at 6:12 AM ^

I'm sure I'm not the only one, but I prefer to consume this stuff without sound. When I'm at the office, obviously I can't be heard watching sports news, when I'm at home, I'm typically reading a snippet here or there while I'm watching tv or doing something else, or I'm checking my phone in an elevator or waiting in line or laying in bed before I go to sleep or before I get up.

I'll watch a highlight reel here and there, but usually with the sound off. there is almost never a time where I specifically go to a site to watch clips or to listen to the talking heads. I'll read what you have to say, but I don't need to watch you say it.

Mr. Yost

September 27th, 2017 at 8:03 AM ^

Agreed. And I also think some of you are like me in that you scan an article for 15 seconds and determine whether or not you want to read it.

When it's video you have to watch a 30 second commercial and it's like "fuck it."

I don't want to watch a commercial and then a 2 minute video to figure out if I wanted to watch the video that I just watched.

When it's print I can scan it, see how long it is...some articles I don't have time to read all the way through, some I can get the point after a quick glance. Especially something like trades...I just want to see what OKC gave up for Melo, I don't want to read the whole article about how things went bad in NYC. I already know that.

I would never watch a video for that type of news. It's news, I just want to know what happened. I'll watch video for some type of story piece...like how Eddie Lacy's struggles with weight (that just comes to mind because it was just a huge piece on ESPN). That may be video content because the article is so long and it's not a news piece. But 90% of why I visit those sites is for sports news or information. Video doesn't help me with that.


September 27th, 2017 at 6:14 AM ^

On my Directv, they blacked out the UofM, sharty - Notre dame, and Lions games for me, I will not click on anything that makes them money ever again. Un Friggin believable. Scumbag 'mfers!