All video, all the time. Fox Sports, owned by Twenty-First Century Fox Inc (NASDAQ:FOX), announced it is eliminating 20 writing and editing positions in Los Angeles to invest in more video content. Fox Sports is encouraging those affected to apply for new positions related to the new video only platform.
Twenty-First Century Fox Inc has decided to lay off 20 of its writers and allow other news-centric sports sites like ESPN to pay writers to cover sporting events and write content.
Fox will divert those writing resources into producing online video that enhances on-air content, can be used for advertising, and could potentially go viral.
“We 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,” Jamie Horowitz, president of Fox Sports National Network, wrote in a memo sent to employees.
“Gone are the days of uploading content to a hub and hoping an audience seeks it out,” Horowitz added. “Creating compelling sports video content is what we do best at FOX Sports. We are going to be focused on leveraging our live event rights, talent and resources to create premium sports video content optimized for each platform.”
Horowitz joined Fox in 2015 after working at ESPN and NBC and has pushed Fox Sports to wean itself off news in favor of on-air personalities who provide opinions on headline sports stories.
Opinion shows are not only cheaper to produce than shows using reporters in the field, but also provide more up-to-date information than a highlight show would at the end of the day. That said, this is no consolation for those writers who have been laid off.
Opting to focus on video over the written word is not new. Vice Media Inc., BuzzFeed Inc., The New York Times, and Conde Nast Inc are allocating more resources towards video too.
While people like to get their news and sports from different avenues, video is fast becoming the medium of choice. In 2009, U.S. adults watched only three minutes of online video each day, but by 2016, that number jumped to 67 minutes. Over the same time frame, ad sales for digital video have been growing 39% annually.
“Fox Sports Cuts Web Writing Staff to Invest More in Online Video,” Bloomberg, June 26, 2017.
“Latest Fox Sports shake-up eliminates writing jobs,” The Inquirer, June 26, 2017.
“Fox Sports cuts web writing staff to invest more in online video,” Chicago Tribune, June 26, 2017.