FOX Network follows Black Media in tobacco settlement request to U.S. Court

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Fox Broadcasting Company has filed a request in U.S. District Court to be added to the media advertising plan submitted by the U.S. Justice Department as part of its lawsuit settlement with tobacco companies. The media plan, which requires the leading cigarette makers to place ads saying they misled the public on the dangers of smoking, mandates the “corrective statements” run in 34 general market daily newspapers and their websites, and on the CBS, ABC and NBC television networks.

Following a story in Target Market News on Jan. 13 that disclosed no black media outlets part of the ad plan, the trade organizations, the National Newspaper Publishers Association and the National Association of Black Owned Broadcasters filed a joint request with the U.S. Court on Jan. 17 that their papers and stations be included in the media plan. [Click here to read related story]

The media plan, which was approved by the court in 2006, came to light after the U.S. Justice Dept. and the Tobacco-Free Action Fund filed an agreement reached with Philip Morris USA, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. and Lorillard Inc. on the language and design on the required corrective statements. The ad plan as proposed has been valued by media professionals at $30-$45 million.

On Jan. 21 Fox Broadcasting filed an amicus brief with the court saying that the Fox Network should be included among the “major television networks” which the court required the tobacco companies to use in placing corrective statements. In its filing Fox stated that it is “the most watched network among teenagers and adults under the age of 35,” and therefore “more likely to reach the younger audience aggressively targeted by Defendants in their commercial campaigns promoting smoking.”

Also yesterday, the tobacco companies responded to the request by NNPA and NABOB that black media be added to the ad plan by saying “this request comes too late. It has been more than seven years since this Court first specified the newspapers and television networks in which Defendants would be required to place corrective statements.”

The cigarette makers go on to say that “Now that the parties have been negotiating the implementation terms of the corrective communications remedy for over a year, it is simply too late in the day to put a new slate of newspapers before the Court and the parties.”

Judge Gladys Kessler is scheduled to review the requests in a status conference today in U.S. District at 2 pm.

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