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FOX Sports ditches online written content for video (welcome, former FOX Sports customers)

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The times are a-changing for online written content. But this one is driven more by money grabs than shifting audience habits.

Yes, plenty of younger folks are consuming online content via video. But plenty of folks from all demographics are still looking to get information about sports via the written word.

Here’s the problem: Online videos currently carry much more lucrative advertising dollars (and, in turn, higher commissions) than online articles. Which means that many of the people who are hired to sell advertisements are focusing more on selling video ads than on selling digital ads. Which means that websites are having a harder time selling digital ads, because they are selling more video ads. Which means that websites are focusing on generating video content that will carry the video ads their advertising employees are selling.

Which means that websites are ditching written content that has far fewer advertising dollars attached to it.

The latest, and most significant, example of this phenomenon comes from FOX, which is dumping its entire online writing and editing crew and replacing them with employees who will be enhancing the video operation. Via Bloomberg, by way of SportsBusiness Daily, FOX Sports National Networks President Jamie Horowitz justified the move by explaining that “[c]reating compelling sports video content is what we do best at FOX Sports,” and that FOX Sports “will be shifting our resources and business model away from written content and instead focus on our fans’ growing appetite for premium video across all platforms.”

It’s entirely possible that this claim is true, and that it’s just not cover for the decision to not give all customers what they want but to let the FOX Sports advertising staff chase the biggest commissions in order to serve only those who want video. But if Horowitz’s contention is accurate, that’s on FOX Sports for not hiring people who can generate written content that will whet the appetite of visitors to FOXSports.com.

Either way, welcome to PFT and NBCSports.com, those current-or-soon-to-be-former FOXSports.com customers who can’t or won’t get their information about sports via video, and who have little interest in the #EmbraceControversy style for the purposes of capturing inauthentic moments that will make waves on social media. Here, as you may have noticed, we’re providing content both in writing and through video — but not through video that features yelling and screaming and preening and posturing; instead, we’re generating video that supplements our written content and presents it in an entertaining and engaging way.

If/when FOX decides that it once again can make money from online written content or that it can’t fully and effectively promote video without tying the content to digital articles or that it cares about all of its audience and not just some of it, we hope you’ll remember that we didn’t bail on the format you prefer simply because the current business cycle entails greater financial rewards for generating video.

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27 Responses to “FOX Sports ditches online written content for video (welcome, former FOX Sports customers)”
  1. chronsy says: Jun 26, 2017 5:02 PM

    I bet it auto plays as well.. How am I supposed to be unproductive at work now?

  2. coltsreign says: Jun 26, 2017 5:11 PM

    I’m one of those ” Younger” folks and I Love PFT. You guys get to the point instead of drawing attention to yourselves, unlike certain personalities ( Stephan A Smith and Jason Whitlock)

  3. jdd428 says: Jun 26, 2017 5:18 PM

    I very rarely went to a Fox Sports website in the past. Now I never will.

  4. stew48 says: Jun 26, 2017 5:18 PM

    I confess. I honestly thank Florio for the presentation. I avoid as much video as possible, much preferring the written word as more accurate and explainable.

  5. realfootballfan says: Jun 26, 2017 5:18 PM

    Must be all of the conservatives not reading their web page anymore. Oh, you mean it’s unrelated to politics and strictly a business decision driven by money just like the layoffs going on over at ESPN? Say it ain’t so. However, they probably are ditching their writing staff because nobody reads their site, and I’m not saying because they have bad content. I just always hate they way it loads even when you have an ad blocker up to try to navigate it more easily.

  6. imodan says: Jun 26, 2017 5:28 PM

    Fox’s entire business model banks on drawing in the uneducated and under educated who prefer pictures to all those REAL hard wordy things.

  7. MichaelEdits says: Jun 26, 2017 5:29 PM

    Listening always takes much longer than reading, and you never lose words to mumblers or overspeakers. Then throw in the slow loading time for a video, and I don’t know why anybody would bother.

  8. FinFan68 says: Jun 26, 2017 5:29 PM

    IMHO, video in sports is for highlights or occasional enhancement to the actual news content, not news. I actively avoid video content and I cannot stand sites that blast a video as soon as you open it. While video advertising may be more lucrative, part of the driving force is millennials. Most of them have exceptionally short attention spans and may have difficulty with reading comprehension. Post something this length and odds are the TL:DR crowd will just ignore it and continue drooling while frantically searching for a video. 😉

  9. lukedogg087 says: Jun 26, 2017 5:33 PM

    I can’t stand the ads on video. That’s why I only watch if it is something I am really interested in. I’ll read an article that I’m only marginally interested in though. Maybe it’s a generational thing but I would rather read something and make my opinion on it based on well thought out points than whichever blow hard screams louder.

  10. phantomgremlin says: Jun 26, 2017 5:36 PM

    Long time visitors know the following, but for recent arrivals, here’s some background:

    PFT is informative and easy to navigate. It’s easy to search. The only reason PFT isn’t a steaming pile of feces is because Florio has a special relationship. NBC hosts but Florio’s team curates.

    If it weren’t for this unique business arrangement, NBC would have long ago totally trashed this site. It’s the nature of big companies. It’s their DNA, it’s what they do.

    Occasionally Florio is tempted to switch the site design to the inferior setup used by other sites in the NBC sports family. Fortunately he then switches back after a few hours or a day. Let’s hope this site stays useful for a long time.

  11. InTheLand says: Jun 26, 2017 5:57 PM

    Generally speaking, I HATE online video content. I like to read.

  12. touchdownelvis says: Jun 26, 2017 6:00 PM

    I don’t even watch the videos here.

  13. theright0pinion says: Jun 26, 2017 6:46 PM

    I just removed my Fox Sports bookmark. No thanks, if I wanted to watch videos then I’d just watch TV.

  14. TheWizard says: Jun 26, 2017 6:48 PM

    I’ve always considered reading active, watching vid passive.

    Just whatever suits one’s personality.

  15. finnymcphin says: Jun 26, 2017 7:13 PM

    I appreciate the options here. The videos and podcasts are great for interviews but watching and listening aren’t always acceptable options. Whether in between things at work or relaxing at home I can always read without disturbing anyone around me. Sometimes if the wind is blowing the right way and the moderation team doesn’t mind we can even add our two cents worth here, something else that isn’t always appreciated at work or home.

  16. gromit45 says: Jun 26, 2017 7:18 PM

    I don’t carry my ear buds everywhere so I want to read than hear. I decide to be polite and not blast audio to people around me.

  17. learysdisciples says: Jun 26, 2017 8:10 PM

    Like, what’s a video or something?

  18. vottorific says: Jun 26, 2017 8:18 PM

    Never liked the video. Always liked reading your articles much better. Some of it is the ads, but not all of it. I love reading your perception of things. And Mike, Your the best. You don’t even have to sign your work, we know its you. Been to this site since you started it because of John Thornton, he gave me your link. So keep up the good work Florio. Much appreciated in southwest Ohio!

  19. nflfollower says: Jun 26, 2017 8:23 PM

    I watch sports, and read commentary. Can’t stand watching commentary. I think many agree with me as well, judging by sports center ratings.

  20. sdelmonte says: Jun 26, 2017 9:03 PM

    I wonder what will happen to Ken Rosenthal’s columns.

  21. rrhoe says: Jun 26, 2017 9:06 PM

    I don’t even watch pre-game shows anymore but will read any and everything.

  22. charger383 says: Jun 26, 2017 9:08 PM

    Reading commentary is much better because you don’t have to put up with watching and listening to an annoying reporter

  23. mzew233 says: Jun 26, 2017 9:08 PM

    I don’t want to watch a 30 second add for DirecTV, jus to hear a soundbyte about Brady’s Japan trip, thier new receivers, someone talking about Manning being the Goat, did michael Fllord drink Kampucha, or anything else.

    ESPN is the exact same way. What did Brandon Cooks say to Mike Reiss about Belichick?
    Hangon, I didnt know Gatorate had a new energy Bar that many inner-city schools celebrate with. Let me watch that first.

  24. financialmusingsblog says: Jun 26, 2017 9:19 PM

    I like concise well written articles. Video highlights are good if they are chronological with no commentary other than the announcers.

  25. packerfanwi1028 says: Jun 26, 2017 9:23 PM

    Just keep writing and we’ll keep reading

  26. nervouswreck042 says: Jun 27, 2017 7:39 AM

    Let’s not forget the “i’m at work and can’t hear the video anyway because my cubicle isn’t soundproof” folks on here as well.
    More importantly, it still feels like journalism. Maybe not in the purest sense, but in a concise digestible format.
    I’ve been reading for many years now. I have no loyalty, but I appreciate quality.
    If PFT changes format to video, I’ll just go somewhere else. And this’ll just be that site that one time did a thing about Terry Bradshaw’s death.

  27. agamemnon1974 says: Jun 27, 2017 11:05 AM

    I will echo many here. I don’t like video (especially auto-play at work, and annoying 30 second ads) for the type of content disseminated here. The quick writing, simple (non-clickbaity, well, mostly) headlines make it easy to avoid work for a few minutes and get the news/rumors I crave year round. The website is also really nice to navigate. (No need to make UI changes either.)

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