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Fox Advertising Executive Joe Marchese Says Digital Media Is Unfairly Screwing Cable (Video)

Marchese wants a better digital ad experience.

Asa Mathat for Vox Media

Joe Marchese runs “advanced advertising” at Fox Networks, and his job is to figure out how Fox properties can make money on advertising as people move from watching stuff on cable to watching stuff on the Internet.

He thinks advertising is fundamentally broken — the Internet screwed it up and the only rational response is for people to use ad-blockers and tune out all the crappy ads. Marchese unpacked why “marketing and media buying doesn’t value human attention,” onstage with Peter Kafka at the Code/Media conference at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point, Calif.

Marchese, whose ad startup TrueX was acquired by Fox almost two years ago, argues that video ads online are designed to leech human attention in ways that piss off viewers and misrepresent how much engagement is actually happening.

“We’ve been looking at ad time that Fox as a network exposes users to … it’s many multiples higher than YouTube,” Marchese said. “When I came [to Fox], I thought we needed better product, and better message … but TV allowed itself to get into a rigged game because it let the digital people set the metrics.

“Impression means [the content] was viewable for two seconds. TV only has one product, corner to corner on the screen, ads for 30 seconds with the likelihood that the sound is on,” Marchese adds. “We can complain all we want about Nielsen, but it’s fair. Digitally, one impression could be half the page for two seconds, another could be for 10 seconds — because it doesn’t have any standard … we’re getting crushed.”

But don’t think that Marchese is wistful for the days of people watching stuff through cable connected to their TV; he acknowledged that an increasing number of people are watching Fox content online, and that Fox needs to design better ads to engage them in a similarly substantive way.

One way Fox is doing it is through specialized interactive ads that users can opt into instead of sitting through normal interruptions. For instance, if subscribers watch the new FX show “The People v. OJ Simpson: American Crime Story” on the FX website, there’s an option to watch a “Deadpool”-sponsored limited interruption version.

As for how people should check out content on the rest of the Internet? Marchese, drawing on stuff he’s previously written, said that users should turn to ad-blockers, which “are the best thing that’s ever happened to the Internet.”

This article originally appeared on

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