Foxtel’s Arena channel has been one of the subscription TV platform’s heritage channel brands. Over the past 20+ years it has had a number of brand refreshes. The latest is unveiled today as the channel adopts a tweak to its name, now Fox Arena, takes on a new logo and the tagline Live Out Loud. The channel continues to be part of Foxtel’s Lifestyle suite of channels.
Fox Arena is promoting itself as the TV destination for reality franchises and is reinforcing the age of the audience it is attracting to commercial partners.
Wendy Moore is the general manager of Lifestyle for Foxtel and is managing the channels remotely from home in a Covid-19 world.
“We are all on Microsoft Teams and it’s amazing how quickly we have all got used to it,” Moore told Mediaweek on the eve of the Arena refresh.
“I speak to most of the team once a day to have a catchup. All these years we thought it might be hard to work from home. Turns out not so hard!”
Much of the chat on the online calls for the past few months has been regarding the July 1 channel relaunch.
The overhaul is certainly not going to scare any of the channel’s existing viewers. There are only a couple of content changes and a new logo.
“We did make quite a big change to the channel content earlier this year,” Moore explained. “We moved out some of the soaps and added in quite a bit of reality.
“Fox Arena is now the home of reality TV. The soaps didn’t quite fit with that and they sit better on other channels.”
Moore said the Arena refresh was going to coincide with the new Real Housewives of Melbourne season, but with a Covid-19 production delay, they decided not to wait.
“After the new Foxtel deal with WarnerMedia, we are bringing in the US Bachelor and then later Ellen. We have a few other new shows including Bridezillas.
“We are now targeting a much younger audience for Arena than we get on Lifestyle. Maybe 10 years younger.”
Moore is promising more Australian content over the next 12 months across the Lifestyle channels. The delay for Real Housewives of Melbourne means it won’t start production until 2021, going to air later that year.
“Housewives just doesn’t work with social distancing and lock downs. You need parties and travelling and lots of interaction with lots of people.”
For people who love the Real Housewives, Fox Arena has 10 US versions of the format plus UK’s The Real Housewives of Cheshire.
“We wanted to put them all together and be a destination for Housewives.”
The Ellen Show is returning to Arena after a few years away. “We know how much the audience loves her. Part of the excitement of doing the Warner deal is getting her show back.” Nine also screens Ellen with Nine getting the first screening of each episode.
Another show from the WarnerMedia deal is second rights to the US Bachelor with Nine again having first rights via a multichannel.
Other programs include an Arena staple Judge Judy. It’s mainly a daytime proposition for Arena, although her new season will get a primetime spot.
Many of the new Foxtel studio deals include more shared content, but the audience doesn’t seem too fussed if they are mixed in with some channel premieres.
Those linear TV premieres include Below Deck Mediterranean and Million Dollar Listing Los Angeles.
Fox Arena continues as a US award shows destination as the home of the Emmy Awards, Golden Globes, SAG Awards and The Critic’s Choice Awards.
While Housewives of Melbourne is the only local content in production, Moore said: “There are a couple of other shows we have had the green light for, but we are holding production until we get past Covid. Next year will be a big year of Australian productions for us.
“The WarnerMedia deal has a local production element to it and we will be working with Warner Bros. International Television Production in Australia on program exclusive across the Lifestyle channels.”