Fox CEO Rob Wade: Network Thrives Amid SVOD Market Challenges

Fox sets new growth strategies, sidestepping streaming norms

by Zain ul Abedin
Fox CEO Rob Wade: Network Thrives Amid SVOD Market Challenges
© Rich Polk/Getty Images

Amidst evolving media landscapes, Fox CEO Rob Wade recently articulated a strategic advantage the network enjoys due to its absence of a direct subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service. His remarks come as Fox prepares for its much-anticipated Upfront presentation, which will showcase its new direction and initiatives.

In a rapidly shifting market, many traditional media companies have grappled with the financial complexities of maintaining profitable SVOD platforms. Networks like ABC, NBCUniversal, and CBS have invested heavily in their respective streaming services - Disney+ and Hulu, Peacock, and Paramount+ - aiming to pivot successfully in digital content's changing tide.

However, these efforts come with significant financial scrutiny and challenges. Fox, however, charts a distinct course. "Our industry has seen a massive market shift, and for us, that translates into a massive opportunity," Wade explained.

Unlike its peers, Fox does not operate a mainstream paid streaming service but rather focuses on its free-streaming service, Tubi, and strategic partnerships in sports streaming with giants such as Disney and Warner Bros.

Discovery. This strategic positioning, according to Wade, liberates the network from the "challenges of an SVOD P&L," enabling a more flexible and adaptive approach to content creation and distribution.

Innovating Beyond Tradition

Wade's vision extends beyond maintaining the status quo.

He emphasizes innovation and growth without the constraints of "long-standing legacy frameworks" that can hinder adaptability in a fast-evolving market. "We aim to seize opportunity, invest and grow, not by rebuilding where we were, but by creating something new," he stated.

His plan involves smart investments and innovative production models that enhance cost efficiency without compromising creativity. This reimagined strategy is also reflected in the organizational changes at Fox. The network is consolidating its studio operations - Fox Entertainment, Fox Alternative Entertainment, and Marvista Entertainment - under the new umbrella of Fox Entertainment Studios.

This move, led by Fernando Szew, is coupled with the launch of an international distribution division, Fox Entertainment Global, and the promotion of Michael Thorn to oversee both unscripted and scripted content segments.

As a seasoned producer with two decades of experience, Wade insists on positioning creative excellence at the core of Fox's endeavors. "As a producer for the past 20 years, I know for this to work, creative must be the enduring center of all we do," he remarked.

His commitment to delivering "unexpected, unforgettable entertainment" starts with cultivating original ideas and harnessing world-class talent, underscored by recent high-profile deals with industry luminaries such as John Wells, Gordon Ramsay, Jamie Foxx, Niecy Nash, Molly Parker, Howard Gordon, and Jon Hamm.