Australia’s Foxtel Shuffles Management in Response to Changed Digital Reality

Australian Pay-TV leader Foxtel has announced a management reshuffle that breaks down the separations between its traditional channels and the newer streaming services. Unveiled in an internal memorandum, the reshuffle notably broadens the role of Amanda Laing as chief commercial and content officer. Her role extends across entertainment and sports. Peter Campbell is moving from Fox […] …

Australian Pay-TV leader Foxtel has announced a management reshuffle that breaks down the separations between its traditional channels and the newer streaming services.

Unveiled in an internal memorandum, the reshuffle notably broadens the role of Amanda Laing as chief commercial and content officer. Her role extends across entertainment and sports. Peter Campbell is moving from Fox Sports to “a critical new role within product & strategy” as executive director, transformation implementation.

The company’s two OTT businesses Kayo (sports) and Binge (films and TV series) get new business leaders, Ant Hearne as executive director, Kayo, and Alison Hurbert-Burns as executive director, Binge. Both report to their joint CEO Julian Ogrin.

“We have repositioned Foxtel as Australia’s premium aggregator of content and entertainment services ‘all in one place’ and made progress in maintaining Foxtel’s customer base with the lowest retail churn in 2-years. For those that want Foxtel without a set-top, we have Foxtel Now,” said Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany in the notice.

“We have established growth businesses in Kayo and Binge for those Australian who prefer streaming and already have over 800,000 subscribers. We’ve created a leaner, more efficient company by right-sizing our cost-base and by doing smart content deals in entertainment and sports.”

“This reorganization recognizes that we are now a more diversified business with interests that extend from the traditional Foxtel business to advertising, sports production, entertainment creation and new streaming businesses,” Delany said.

Foxtel, which is jointly owned by News Corp and Telstra, recently caused red ink in News Corp.’s 2019-20 financial statement. That revealed a US$1.69 billion write-down on the book value of Foxtel and News America Marketing, its marketing business.

Foxtel’s broadcast subscriber base dipped below 2 million customers, down by 200,000 since March, though that may be offset by growth from the streaming launches. Kayo had 542,000 subscribers, and Binge 185,000 paying subscribers as of Aug. 4.

The company has pledged to renegotiate large sports rights deals, cutting costs by US$115 million (A$160 million) this year and a further US$129 million (A$180 million) over the following three years.

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