Foxtel CMO insists network is ‘well set-up’ for video on demand battleground

Foxtel sales and marketing director Ed Smith has insisted the subscription network is “well set-up” to compete in the rapidly evolving video on demand market as he spoke of the “great renaissance” of television.

He said 2015 was set to be an “interesting” year with competition intensifying in the SVOD market, which includes the arrival of Netflix.

Speaking on AANA’s Marketing Dividends, Smith said a “big shift” was taking place as viewers increasingly demand to watch programs where and when they want.

“There’s quite a big shift in strategy of the free to air networks. They are trying to take on piracy by shifting to live and local programming and people are increasingly interested in watching what they want, when they want and on the devise they want,” he said. “We were promised this 10 years ago but it’s only now coming true.

“Next year is going to be interesting. We’ve got Presto from our stable, Stan from Nine and Fairfax, Netflix is coming. These are library catch up video on demand services and then we have Fetch and Foxtel which focuses more on live TV.

“I am really confident that with the quality of the content we have, and with the rights that we have and our technology to delivery the content, that we are hitting the sweetspot of what a lot of consumers want.”

By “adjusting the price and delivering better value” Foxtel is well set up to cope with the widespread changes, he said.

“Television is going through a great renaissance,” Smith added. “A lot of the wonderful creative talent that was perhaps tied up in the movie industry seems globally to be shifting to TV.”

Smith said Foxtel has adopted a whole-of-company repositioning in a move to increase the value to existing customers and lowering the entry price to entice new customers. The company has “significantly under performed for a number of years” in driving such value for money, he admitted.

The business is working collaboratively to improve that, he said.

“We are really focusing on increasing the value we are delivering to our existing customers and lowering the price point at which people can enter into Foxtel,” he said. “That will be the big focus of our growth over the short to medium term.”

Meanwhile, Smith said sales and marketing now forms part of a collaborative approach what has put the customer at the heart of the organisation.

“Nobody owns the customer at Foxtel,” he said. “Marketing is often the place where you get customer service, sales, engineering, product development and television all coming together to work out what’s the next story we want to tell, and the next perception that we want to shift. It is more a collaboration, a facilitation, then external storytelling, through the marcomms.

‘At Foxtel the customer really is at the heart of what every part of the business does. Maybe that makes our job easier but we’re not having to be the only voice of the customer. Everyone’s voice is that of the customer.”

He added: ‘The role in our company that contemporary marketing can play is we don’t have all the answers, life’s too complicated now. But we can facilitate a process of collaboration that brings together all the other parts of the business. That will create something that the customers will value.”

The interview with Smith, conducted by MEC global chief strategy officer James Hier, was filmed on November 13, before issues around TV audience reporting irregularities emerged at Foxtel’s former media agency Mediacom.

Steve Jones


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