Foxtel dealmaker Amanda Laing on content everybody wants

” Every deal needs to play a part in making sure that Foxtel is future fit. “

Subscription TV platform Foxtel last week revealed its most recent content deal with a major international supplier. The new agreement means NBCUniversal continues as a major Foxtel provider of scripted content. But this deal is less about channels, and more about programs.

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As of September 30, 2019, Foxtel’s total closing subscribers were 3.065 million, an increase of 6% compared to the prior year

Foxtel’s chief commercial officer Amanda Laing explained to Mediaweek how she negotiated much more than a rollover of their previous deal.

“We have got expanded access to the extraordinary Universal movie library which gives us many great blockbusters and evergreens like The Fast and the Furious franchise and in the next 12 months we will have the latest instalment of that, Hobbs & Shaw with The Rock.

“That allows us to build a great proposition to our customers. We have also been able to ensure that we have access to the library content from NBCU that frankly the global giants are all fighting over.

“We’ve got The Office, we’ve got 30 Rock and Parks and Recreation. We have great comedy content, sci fi content and great drama and crime. We can use that to fuel not just the Fox Entertainment channels, but also to have a very rich VOD offering.”

Laing also mentioned they are keeping the E! and Universal channels and the content from Bravo that supplies Arena like the Real Housewives franchise and the US property programs.

She added the whole agreement has been updated to make sure Foxtel has VOD rights.

See also:
Foxtel and NBCUniversal complete new multi-year content agreement

Foxtel has some of the NBCU content exclusively, and some non-exclusive.

“For some things it is important to have them exclusively, for others it is just important to have them. A lot of the content on our Fox branded channels it is not exclusive, but we know the channels we have created are exclusive. Our curation of that content is the special sauce that we bring.

“Some content will give us day and date release with the US and an exclusive window before anyone else can get it.”

There was a time when there was speculation that Foxtel might cull the number of its channels and not renew some of its supply deals. Foxtel if anything seems to be going the other way – more is better?

Laing: “Giving subscribers breadth of content is very important. Our content proposition is something that nobody else does. We have channels and content for on demand viewing. A lot of people still love watching channels. Equally we have series stacking and box sets for those who want to be very selective.”

Since joining Foxtel after leaving Nine, Laing has been running the ruler over its content deals, making them “fit for purpose” as she put it.

“We have made sure we are securing linear and on demand rights. Every deal needs to play a part in making sure that Foxtel is future fit.

“We are in partnership with all the big names in US and UK content including the Hollywood studios. We done many deals, but there are more to come, stay tuned!”

Laing no longer looks after sports rights, one of the things she did at Nine, most notably its NRL rights. “They were fun times at Nine. I now look after all of Foxtel’s entertainment content.”

Foxtel or its suppliers are careful not to reveal contract terms, but it is thought under Patrick Delany and Laing channel deals are not as lucrative as they once were for content distributors.

When asked about the competing forces for the funds that are available and what Foxtel’s content team would ultimately like to acquire, Laing replied diplomatically: “We keep an eye on what is happening globally with content and then we make informed content decisions within the available costs envelope.

As to Foxtel being able to mix it with the likes of newcomers Disney+ and Apple TV+, Laing is very optimistic. “The data shows that most people have more than one paid entertainment subscription. We want to be one of the ones people choose. People are very engaged with our content and subsequently stay longer on the platform. That is when they realise the value of their subscription.”

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