Fox takes over Snapchat ad sales for Vertical Networks
- Fox agreed to handle Snapchat ad sales for Vertical Networks, the video production company that was started to create programming specifically designed for the messaging app, according to Ad Age. Fox will sell ad placements in Vertical's properties including a digital magazine called Brother and shows like "Celebrity Binge Watch," "Yes Theory" and murder-mystery "Solve."
- Fox's first sponsorship deal is with Boost Mobile for the dating show "Phone Swap," which pairs people on blind dates who trade phones to learn about each other. Boost's ad campaign is geared toward urging mobile customers to switch carriers.
- "Phone Swap," whose third season premieres this week, is the first Snapchat Discover series that will also air on broadcast TV with a limited run this summer on some Fox TV stations, per Broadcasting & Cable. Boost will run 30-second commercials during the TV airing and will issue six-second ads on Snapchat.
The partnership between Fox and Vertical Networks demonstrates how Snapchat is integrating brands into its programming after years of trying to maintain a stark distinction between commercials and content. Given the pressures to please investors and advertisers, Snapchat has softened its stance in order to boost ad sales. Snapchat last week began running six-second ads that don't allow skipping, which is likely to appeal to advertisers.
Fox's deal with Boost also shows how broadcasters could pitch brands on buying ad space across its TV networks and Snapchat to get brands' content in front of a broader range of viewers. Letting Fox handle ad sales for Vertical Networks may increase the value of those sponsorships, as they're delivered across multiple platforms and may likely see more engagement. Fox can set its ad prices when dealing directly with brands, while Snapchat's platform lets marketers bid on ad space with competing brands. Snapchat's ad platform typically has lower prices than direct deals, especially with the company's increased reliance on programmatic advertising. Sponsorships like the one with Boost may give brands an incentive to spend more on the image-messaging platform.
Meanwhile, "Phone Swap" saw an averaged audience of 10 million viewers in the 48 hours each show was available in the first season, Vertical Networks CEO Tom Wright told Ad Age. This audience number is relatively solid for Snapchat, which counts views when people tap into a program for any amount of time. However, the measurement isn't directly comparable to metrics for TV audiences that typically include the average audience every minute a show airs.
This latest deal with Fox follows Snapchat's first streaming of a Vertical Networks show that lets viewers participate in solving a murder mystery. "Solve" dramatizes a murder based on real events and lets viewers play detective by examining evidence before voting on who they think the killer is. The show then reveals the real culprit and the audience vote. By blending in some gaming elements, "Solve" could see a greater level of engagement and return users tuning into the content on the social media platform.