Australian commissions key to Foxtel’s LifeStyle brand refresh

Wendy Moore

• GM Wendy Moore on streaming, broadcast and digital plans

Earlier this year Foxtel appointed former Home Beautiful editor and Pacific general manager of Homes & Food, Wendy Moore, as the new general manager of Foxtel’s Lifestyle group.

Moore replaced Hannah Barnes who steered the popular brands for five years.

See also:
Pacific to Foxtel: Wendy Moore takes the helm of Lifestyle brands

In the role Moore is responsible for overseeing all aspects of Foxtel’s Lifestyle brand including LifeStyle, LifeStyle HOME and LifeStyle FOOD and will guide the current and future direction and commercialisation of the brands across streaming, broadcast and digital.

In her five months in the role, Moore and her team have been examining what audiences want from the brand.

Listen to:
LifeStyle group general manager Wendy Moore on the Mediaweek podcast

In a new Mediaweek podcast after her presentation at the recent Foxtel Media showcase, Moore said this includes getting a better understanding of what shows audiences want to see and when and what LifeStyle should be acquiring from international producers.

“We buy a lot from the UK, which really resonates with our audience,” Moore told Mediaweek.

“We are also looking at LifeStyle’s website. The production team are also looking at commissioning new shows and we are examining the existing brands together with marketing and promotion.

“The channels are definitely the flagship product,” said Moore. “What we are focusing on more is that LifeStyle is a brand and the channels are a product of that brand.

Foxtel has shifted Arena to be part of Moore’s group, sitting alongside, LifeStyle and the multichannels that sit beside the heritage brand, Food and Home.

Moore’s remit from Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany is to remind people how import and popular the LifeStyle content is. “Females are the major part of our audience, about 65%, and we want to ensure we are still serving the content they want.

“As far as I am concerned though I don’t want to be marketed to because I am female, but rather for what I am interested in. Invariably much of our content on LifeStyle is family oriented.”

Moore said LifeStyle would also be more vocal to advertisers to remind them the brand has a really strong contingent of females who are the main grocery buyers and the big decision makers in a household.

Foxtel had a brief discussion about whether Arena should be rebranded. According to Moore that didn’t last long. “Arena remains a strong name and it is such a well-recognised brand. It does Hollywood and glamour very well. I know the value of brands and the strength of affinity audiences have with Arena so I wouldn’t play with that.”

Foxtel has commissioned a new season of The Real Housewives of Melbourne. “It is time for a bit of a shakeup of the cast and we will look at who has interesting stories to tell and see who will come back and what sort of new cast members we could get.”

Arena will retain its Bravo content partnership. “But we will add some layers to what we offer. There won’t be any big changes. By the time Real Housewives launches next year it will be a different channel with a more robust drama candy offering.

As to further commissions for Arena, Moore said: “Yes. We know Australian content works better than anything else on our channels, and not just first run, but in repeats too.”

Moore indicated the existing Australian commissions in the LifeStyle group would be continuing. Those programs include Selling House Australia (13 seasons), Grand Designs Australia (8 seasons), Love It Or List It and Great Australian Bake Off. “We also have Gogglebox too of course which is a great performer.”

Moore admitted there had been talk in the past if LifeStyle was the best home for Gogglebox. Moving to Arena has been mentioned, but Moore said it feels at home more on LifeStyle. “It reminds us that LifeStyle is more than just renovation and home, it is also about how people live.”

The brand has started a research project called The Great Australian Lifestyle. “We also have great viewing data we pull from the Foxtel iQ boxes. As part of the research project we are doing focus groups which will be ongoing and continually updating how our audience feels we are performing.”

Listen to:
LifeStyle group general manager Wendy Moore on the Mediaweek podcast

Foxtel is looking to expand LifeStyle beyond the channels. “That is something we did successfully with the Home Beautiful brand,” said Moore. “For such a strong brand, branching out beyond the screen is the plan. We are looking at events and other categories in the lifestyle space we could expand.”

When asked about a LifeStyle magazine, Moore pointed out that News Corp did sell its homemaker magazine to Bauer several years ago.

“News still has delicious, Taste and Vogue Living and we have started working with delicious on a few projects.”

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