Foxtel Strategy Day: Allstar team talks up future of Australia’s biggest media company

Foxtel Strategy Day

Patrick Delany to investors: “We are now the disruptor of the Australian media industry”

The Foxtel Strategy Day was introduced by Fox Sports presenter Hannah Hollis. The ambition to impress an international audience was clear from the top with Hollis presenting from the Kirribilli waterfront with an Opera House, CBD and Sydney Harbour Bridge backdrop.

The first speakers were the CEOs of the Foxtel Group shareholders with News Corp CEO Robert Thomson first.

“Our team, led by [Foxtel executive chair and author] Siobhan McKenna and Patrick Delany, with an emphasis on growth through streaming, through improved compelling interfaces, and on securing long term valuable sports and entertainment rights, has put the company on a distinctly upward trajectory,” said Thomson.

The surge in streaming is successfully repurposing and monetising existing rights. And the signs of success were particularly evident in the fourth quarter of the fiscal year 2021 when the number of total paying streaming subscribers was 155% higher than at the same time last year.

“We have decisively debunked the myth that only a small proportion of the Australian population will pay for programming.”

Thomson finished with: “There is a new narrative at Foxtel. It is a story of rejuvenation, of resurgence, and of renaissance.”

Thomson then welcomed Telstra CEO Andy Penn who noted Foxtel’s recent performance validated Telstra’s decision to remain a shareholder.

“Today’s Foxtel is not the company that you think you know, since 2018, it has achieved significant growth in streaming,” said Penn.

“I want to join Robert in commending Patrick and the whole of the team at Foxtel on a job very well done in turning around the business.”

Who’s who at Foxtel Strategy Day

Robert Thomson: CEO News Corp
Andy Penn: CEO Telstra
Patrick Delany: CEO Foxtel
Julian Ogrin: CEO Kato Sports, Binge, Flash
Les Wigan: Chief Technology Officer, Foxtel
Hilary Perchard, Chief Customer, Marketing & Revenue Officer
Amanda Laing: Chief Commercial & Content Officer
Stuart Hutton: Chief Financial Officer

Foxtel Group CEO Patrick Delany followed the Foxtel Group owners and he drilled down into the recent audience growth. All of it for the new streaming products: “In 2016, 8% of subscribers came from streaming, now over 50% come from streaming. Launching new streaming products has allowed us to target customers we previously couldn’t reach through cable or satellite, or people that maybe couldn’t afford Foxtel.

Now nearly half of Australian households with subscription television have a Foxtel Group product.

“We are now the disruptor of the Australian media industry.”

Delany discussed Foxtel’s three pillars:

  1. Growth through streaming: “Our streaming revenue has more than doubled $360 million in the last two years. We are confident there’s more growth to come in streaming. Three-quarters of Australian homes have an SVOD service. Independent research indicates this is going to grow to 85% by the end of 2025.”
  2. Strengthening Foxtel: “Our loyal high-value subscribers enjoy the Foxtel products and they’re willing to pay a bit more to have the convenience of everything in one place. 89% of our subscribers pay more than $50 per month. Nearly 90% of subscribers have been with us for more than three years, and nearly 60% for over eight.”
  3. Great content and the best technology. “Our diverse range of long-standing content partners value the reach we’re delivering. We are the local partner of choice for Australian and international sport. We have partnerships with Australia’s most popular sports, the AFL, NRL, cricket, and Supercars. We’ve become a tech-led company, whether it’s through single genre streaming services, or the plug-in-and-play iQ ad tech that serves targeted ads to our subscribers.”

Delany highlighted some three-year targets:

5m+ subscribers
$3b revenue

To emphasis the strength and loyalty of its partners, Delany played video endorsements from:

Gillon McLachlan, CEO AFL
Peter V’Landys, chairman ARL
Nick Hockley, CEO Cricket Australia

Foxtel Strategy Day

Foxtel Strategy Day Julian Ogrin

Julian Ogrin, CEO Kayo Sports and Binge and the forthcoming Flash, said of his division’s success: “The secret sauce is our product offering, for Kayo that is quality Fox Sports production and commentary.

Ogrin promoted the forthcoming Flash service and wanted to dispel any perception it would be only promoting a conservative view of the world (via Sky News Australia and Fox News). He noted Flash will cater to viewers regardless of their political leanings.

Foxtel Strategy Day tech guru Les Wigan

Les Wigan, CTO Foxtel Group emphasised the importance of technology as central to Foxtel Group’s long-term vision. “Our tech is scalable, reliable and puts the customer at the centre,” said Wigan.

He noted how robust their streaming platforms are. The Foxtel Group has seen 55,000 Kayo customers signing up in a single day.

The platform has managed to carry 57 concurrent live streams.

Joining Kayo or Binge is an easy process: “94% of streaming customers can self-sign up,” said Ogrin.

Future projects for converging tech stacks will reduce duplication and overheads, grow audiences and targeted advertising capability, digitise customer management and marketing systems, and merge and modernise broadcast infrastructure.

Wigan also spoke about the highlights of the new iQ5 as it transitions customers from cable to IP delivered content.

Hilary Perchard, Chief Customer, Marketing & Revenue Officer

One of the newer members of the Foxtel management team spoke about the core base of 1.6m high revenue, high value, long-term customers who will continue to get a differentiated, premium, aggregated experience.

iQ5 is the key enabler – the best of streaming with Foxtel’s favourite features in a lower cost to manufacture box.

People who couldn’t access via cable or satellite, including many in apartments, can now use iQ5 to subscribe.

iQ5 is able to feed a customer need for aggregation via a suite of apps.

Foxtel Strategy Day

Foxtel Strategy Day Amanda Laing

Amanda Laing, Chief Commercial and Content Officer

“Foxtel is the Australian partner of choice for studios and sports,” said Laing.

She spoke about the importance of ground-breaking dramas. Laing introduced Leah Purcell who has just finished on the final season of Wentworth and who is a creative on the forthcoming Foxtel Group drama The Twelve.

Laing then interviewed two more actors – Heather Mitchell and Hugo Weaving – stars on the forthcoming 2022 mini-series Love Me.

The money man, Stuart Hutton, CFO, followed who detailed some of the financial highlights and noted the Foxtel Group is the #1 Australian media company by revenue.

The Foxtel Strategy Day wrapped with a Q&A session hosted by freelance money guru Ross Greenwood who interviewed Patrick Delany and delivered questions from financial analysts.

See also: Patrick Delany previews News Corp and Telstra’s Foxtel Group growth plans

To Top