Fox Has NFL Issues, YouTube Has More

Consider TV and advertising on the NFL games for Fox. It’s a challenge -- especially when it comes to ratings. Content issues? No one is saying yet.

Speaking about traditional TV, 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch offered this during Tuesday’s UBS media conference: “I can’t tell you the NFL viewership decline isn’t a challenge. How do we deal with having just that many fewer viewer impressions?... There is just a lot of football.”

This has come amidst continued protests by NFL players during the pre-game national anthem. One TV NFL TV advertiser, Papa Johns, says the protests have affected pizza sales.

NFL ratings are down versus the year before, but overall, Murdoch says the NFL is still good business. TV marketers continue to desire live, highly rated sports TV.  



Through nine weeks of the season, national TV advertising for all TV networks running NFL games has totaled $1.76 billion -- versus $1.44 billion a year ago, according to

These concerns are likely far less than YouTube's trials, where inappropriate content -- with regard to children and other videos -- has made its way onto the digital video advertising-supported site recently.

Earlier this year, YouTube experienced other issues, when advertising appeared next to content from extremist groups advocating violence. Traditional TV marketers have become alarmed and troubled that their messaging has run next to such videos.

Now, YouTube says that in addition to getting rid of some 150,000 videos, it will hire even more “human” advertising monitors -- around 10,000. Along with its data security efforts, the move should help secure better “brand safe” platforms.

Fox can’t do much about onscreen NFL sports content. Brand safety here isn’t an issue.

But we can say there is a major difference between a player's protest over social issues and internet content that caters to unsavory/potentially illegal content.

Still, certain TV sports providers such as the International Olympic Committee are removing some “content.” It is banning the Russian Olympic team -- a major Olympic competitor -- from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, because of what the IOC says was the team’s state-sponsored doping program during the Russian-hosted 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi.

Clearly, content and brand safety are ongoing problems.

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