LONDON – Which should be more important to television advertisers: viewer attention or ad “performance”? The answer poses risks for TV providers given the increasing march toward all things performance, according to Fox Networks Group’s Joe Marchese.

“I feel that more and more TV is getting baited into trying to become a performance outlet,” the President of Advertising Revenue says in this interview with Beet.TV at the recent EGTA Future of TV Advertising Forum 2018.

“The biggest thing would be to make sure you’re not fighting a fight that you can’t win or being tricked into fighting the wrong fight.”

Marchese says he understands why “the ideal” would be to say “prove performance and then I can spend more money there. But the truth is, performance is that I get people to sit there and watch the ad. That’s what TV does.”

He notes that TV has always performed by helping to build brands over periods of time. But there’s more of a balancing act going on among networks to let consumers “dictate how many ads are tolerable. I’m looking for a better way to say it, but tolerable it is.

“People think if the ads are good enough, people will like them. No. Advertising is an interruption. It’s not what you came there for.”

Asked about household addressable TV ads, Marchese points to such shortcomings in the quest for performance as co-viewing, wherein it’s hard to determine what person among several who are watching a Sunday football game is actually being addressed, and going too far with person-specific targeting.

Brands are built not only on advertising but also on cultural, family and familial ties, among other things, according to Marchese. “Take it to the extreme. It feels odd to say, ‘Imagine a world where we can perfectly target only the people we think are going to buy the product.’ Then what would the brand mean anymore if no one else ever saw it? No one would know what that brand stands for, so what difference does it make if the person’s wearing it?”

As for the likes of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google, Marchese believes that traditional TV must “create a Netflix-competitive experience, or ad-supported TV, if you will. As far as the other three FANG members, “Their advertising is different. It’s not a TV ad that’s running there for the most part. It’s performance advertising.

“But I think you’ll see the marketers reclassifying more and more dollars towards performance advertising. Because you know, who doesn’t want performance?”

This video is part the Beet.TV preview series ‘The Road to CES 2019.” The series is presented by dataxu.  For more videos, please visit this page