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Fox News backs out of advertiser event over coronavirus fears

(Image: Fox News Channel/Fox Corporation/Handout, Graphic: The Desk)

Executives at the Fox News Channel have backed out of an advertiser event scheduled for later this month over growing concerns about the coronavirus outbreak.

The news outlet is the first media company to cancel its advertiser upfront in New York City. The event was scheduled for March 24.

“In a precautionary effort to keep our employees, client and agency partners safe, we have determined that it would be best to cancel our upcoming event in New York based on public health concerns due to coronavirus,” a Fox News Channel executive said in a media statement on Tuesday.

The advertiser upfront event is a series of events where television networks present their mid-season and fall lineups to advertisers. The events typically take place at varying times in March.

It was not immediately clear if the Fox News Channel would re-schedule its upfront for advertisers or make its presentation available in an alternate format.

Comcast, the parent company of NBC Universal and NBC News, and CNN parent company WarnerMedia are still going ahead with their upfront presentations as scheduled, though a Comcast spokesperson said they are closely monitoring the situation and hinted their plans could change as the coronavirus outbreak worsens.

Fox Corporation, the parent company of Fox News Channel, is one of several media companies to modify business plans due to the viral outbreak.

The New York Times, CNN and a handful of other media companies have asked their editorial employees to limit non-business related travel due to the contagion, according to numerous reports.

Twitter, Facebook and Google have likewise asked their employees to limit travel or have canceled events due to the outbreak.

The upfront event is not the first Fox Corporation has withdrawn from over viral concerns: Executives were scheduled to appear at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference this week in San Francisco, but the company said its boss, Lachlan Murdoch, would no longer appear.

Executives from Facebook and Disney also pulled out of the conference, while officials from Comcast and AT&T’s WarnerMedia continued with plans to appear. ViacomCBS said its chief executive, Bob Bakish, would appear as scheduled on Wednesday.

For accurate and reliable information about the coronavirus COVID-19, click or tap here to visit the World Health Organization’s website.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).