FIM Expands Partnerships with Local Affiliates for Ad, Content Management

On the heels of Gannett’s launch of over 100 mobile sites in conjunction with its local paper and TV properties, News Corp’s Fox Interactive Media hopes to build or revamp over 160 local Fox affiliate sites as part of an agreement with the FOX affiliate Board of Governors. Around 40 sites, which will use the FIM TV Stations Group “MyFOX” platform, are in the works and the board will recommend all affiliates employ the content and ad platform on their sites.

“This gives the affiliates a real opportunity to develop real additional revenue streams,” said FOX affiliate Board of Governors Chairman Joe Denk.

FIM will have access to half of the inventory on local sites, mainly to offer to national advertisers, said a company spokesperson. “That’s where our sales force has its focus,” she said, noting, “We are working with a number of sites in a preliminary fashion.”

The MyFox platform, already used on Fox’s 24 owned-and-operated station sites, manages video, news, weather and sports content, along with community blogs, photos and message boards. “This certainly can be complementary to the existing relationship with the network — common content under the Fox brand,” said Denk.

The deal will expand FIM’s partnerships with the affiliates it does not own and operate. In March, the company announced its local affiliates would use its on-demand video streaming and e-commerce transactions platform, and share ad revenue with FIM through the agreement. When that arrangement was announced, FIM said video pre-roll, contextual and search ads would be served through the platform, with local affiliates garnering 30 percent of ad revenues and FIM collecting the remaining 70 percent.

“The arrangement is similar in terms of revenue share and inventory share” to that deal, noted Denk, who said he doesn’t know additional details regarding ad formats or revenue split ratios.

Gannett earlier this week unveiled more than 100 local mobile sites, most of which are affiliated with its local newspaper and TV operations. The company said CPM-based ads will be sold direct through regional and national sales offices as well as AOL’s mobile ad network Third Screen Media.

Though there is a chance some local Fox affiliates that already use their own content and ad management systems could be reluctant to switch over to FIM’s, Denk stressed the need for cohesiveness across the sites. “The board feels widespread affiliate participation is clearly in the best interest of the platform,” he told ClickZ News, adding, “You can’t have a good broadcast network if you have spotty distribution.”

Denk said the board took time to negotiate a deal that is beneficial for the affiliates. “We think it’s an affiliate-friendly scenario,” he said.

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