First look: Foxtel Media prepares Cockatoo Island for 2024 Upfront

Foxtel Media

Oxford Street theatre to Allianz Stadium to former the convict gaol and shipyard in Sydney Harbour

In the space of the last eight days, it’s been a busy Upfront season. Sydney has been home to Upfront events for Seven, Paramount, oOh!media and next, Foxtel Media.

Foxtel Media is no stranger to having Upfront events in memorable places. For a few years, it rented iconic prestige properties in Sydney near the sea or the harbour. One of those was a Mosman house where a season of Australia’s Next Top Model was based.

Foxtel Media bumped in to the former shipyard space on Wednesday

It then got very ambitious. “One of our best ideas was Foxtel on Oxford,” recalled Foxtel Media chief executive Mark Frain this week. “We renovated a theatre on Oxford Street in Paddington. There was a bar in the lobby and we had two theatrettes to hold workshops, presentations and Upfronts. The vision was to use it for a couple of years, but then Covid came along.”

Flashback: Inside the Foxtel on Oxford theatre

Since Covid the theatre has been swallowed into the overhaul of that block of Oxford Street where a Japanese property developer is constructing a hotel.

Frain added: “It was a very exciting time to own our own theatre, but we never got to finish the plan.”Just last year, for the 2023 Foxtel Media Upfront, the venue was the recently redeveloped Sydney Football Stadium.

Foxtel Media

Foxtel Media’s 2023 Upfront action at Allianz Stadium

We did that to coincide with the transformation and evolution of Foxtel. What is now called Allianz Stadium had gone through its own transformation and it was brand new.

The only Stadium occupants prior to the 2023 Upfront were Harry Styles for a concert and one football match. “There was quite a bit of feedback from people who experienced FOMO when they couldn’t make it last year. It was spoken about a long time afterwards amongst agencies and marketers.”

Foxtel Media’s Mark Frain during a Wednesday site visit

Venue for 2024 Foxtel Media Upfront: Cockatoo Island / Wareamah

This year the television broadcaster and its streaming platforms are taking Upfront guests into the middle of Sydney Harbour.

Frain: “Our production company Alfred always come up with suggestions that are different. We actually considered Cockatoo Island several years ago. We didn’t go with it but never forgot about it.

Cockatoo Island media wall ready? Check

“It was the choice this year because we liked the idea of having a blank canvas in a different environment. It seemed like a great opportunity.”

Full coverage of the Foxtel Media Upfront and announcements in Mediaweek tomorrow.

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