Foxtel Upfront: Bring on the ads as Binge joins Kayo to bring in ad dollars

Foxtel Upfront

Patrick Delany and Mark Frain: The game has changed, are you in or are you out?

As a Foxtel Upfront and other Upfronts go, it’s going to be hard to top Sydney’s new Allianz Stadium as a venue. (Seven is to come next week and SBS next month so let’s not pre-judge it.)

Nine started Upfront season last month at Luna Park and 10 followed earlier this month at the International Convention Centre.

Foxtel Media CEO Mark Frain told Mediaweek the company had identified the stadium as a possible venue several months ago. On the first site visit Foxtel Group’s event team were wearing hard hats and hi-viz vests as work carried on around them, but they were assured the stadium would be open for Upfront Month.

Foxtel Media used to hire showcase properties around Sydney harbour and the coast to engage with agencies at their Upfront events. Former CEO Anthony Fitzgerald and then current CEO Mark Frain would then put the staff through a punishing schedule of presenting to a different agency every day.

This year it was almost a return to the glory days. Ad revenues and subscriber numbers are up setting new highs, and Foxtel Media targeted the most talked-about venue in the city to share their marketing messages with 500 media buyers and advertisers.

Foxtel Upfront

Patrick Delany

Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany opened the show and laid out the theme for the evening – the game has changed.

“Control has moved from the programmers …. to the viewer,” started Delany.

“The way they watch.

“The way they binge.

“The way they skim through content …. It’s has changed. Forever. And with new tech and more choice … comes a whole new set of customer expectations.

“In this game …. viewers rule. They have loads of options. And they won’t accept an unwatchable experience. That means something different for all of us here tonight.

“Now, customer-centricity is not new. But in a market where expectations are shifting quickly, not passing the customer test is fatal.

“We’ve all read the play. In 2018, we began a program of substantial change. We completely renovated our business.

“Then …. we were a traditional pay-TV company. Today we are a technology-led streaming business …. with new financial strength.


‘Just six years ago, 8% of our customers were streaming. Today that number is 62%.’


“Our streaming products – Kayo, BiNGE and Flash – were designed around the passions of Australians. They now boast a total of 2.5 million subscribers.

“And including our premium Foxtel customers …. the Foxtel Group is fast closing in on 5 million subscribers.

“And Foxtel Group revenues are up. Why? It’s simple. The future rewards businesses that know what Australians want.

“We’ve grown rapidly in streaming with services they love. And our advertising business is right for today.  We are growing based on intelligent video and ad loads that deliver watchability. And with watchability … comes appeal … increased awareness …. greater recall and ultimately more impact for brands.

“The game has changed. This is the era where legacy players get left behind. And disruptors take the reins.

“The simple choice you have to make is …. ARE YOU IN …. OR ARE YOU OUT?”

Foxtel Upfront

Mark Frain

Mark Frain followed and reminded his guests about the myriad reasons they should stay or join the Foxtel Group platforms.

On the second of two appearances onstage Frain promised the audience Foxtel Media “had unified the sales team’s KPIs to ensure a solutions-focused team who don’t try to keep money in certain channels.

“We remain tenacious about delivering on your campaigns – 94% YTD, 97% this financial year. A record that many would envy.”

In front of a slide of some of the Foxtel Media staff, Frain added: “You can’t be useable unless you have great people. We know how important it is to keep and motivate talent and that’s why we invest so much in them. Over 2000 hours of training so we are better informed to give our customers great advice.

Amanda Laing with Asher Keddie and Sarah Scheller

“With average tenure of almost four years, comes relationship stability. Trust built over years of hustles, haggles, lunches and laughs.

The game has changed and at the heart of that change is people. If you are not centred around the customer you cannot win. We read the play early and we evolved. The numbers tell a confident story about our progress.

“As we head into 2023 it is time to switch out the play, retire the linear thinking and embrace streaming first plans to play by the new rules of this changed game.

“To win today you need the multiplying power of watchability, connectivity and useability.”

Binge’s Alison Hurbert-Burns


Mark Frain and Team Foxtel Media

Frain ended with a thank you to each and every one of the Foxtel Media team. Then addressing the guests, he said “I’d be surprised if you’re not 100% in. Game on.”

The rest of the evening featured a cavalcade of Foxtel talent and sales executives.

Daniella Serhan


Upright’s Tim Minchin

This is roughly in order of appearance:

Fox Sports’ Isa Guha, Bake Off’s Cal Wilson, Kayo’s Kate Hefele, Foxtel content chief Amanda Laing (by herself and then with two from the one major content announcement – star Asher Keddie and writer Sarah Scheller), Binge’s Alison Hurbert-Burns, Foxtel Media’s Daniella Serhan, Upright star Tim Minchin who performed a song from the second season, Foxtel Media’s Nev Hasan (who at one stage had his phone number on the screens around the stadium so people could book a campaign) and Toby Dewar. Cal Wilson then interviewed two marketers in the stadium seating (Westpac’s Annabel Fribence and IPG’s Hannah Rook).

Toby Dewar reports on FoxTest

The evening came to an end with a stunning light and fire show utilising SFX and stadium screens and then a nice cynical farewell from Succession’s Brian Cox.

He suggested we might have been hearing a little “marketing bullshit”, but said he was a supporter of the Foxtel Upfront. “But right now the Foxtel Upfront is over so you can just fuck off.”

Moving farewell message from Succession’s Brian Cox

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