Foxtel cuts 200 jobs, stands down 140 team members as it ‘accelerates transformation’

200 Foxtel workers have been made redundant and a further 140 stood down until the end of June as the subscription TV business struggles to survive the economic impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

An email sent to all staff by CEO Patrick Delany said the business was attempting to accelerate the transformation it has been embarking on for the past two years.

Foxtel’s relaunch hasn’t happened quickly enough, says Delany, and things will need to be accelerated to survive COVID-19

Calling the week the “toughest in Foxtel’s history”, Delany said serious changes were needed to keep the business strong for the future.

“Restructuring and changing the way the company works is not an easy thing to do at any time. But with the impact of COVID-19, the only option is to act now to ensure we ride out the current situation and remain strong to compete with local and global media companies,” read the email.

Delany went on to say all impacted staff had been told by video or phone, lamenting the restrictions which made it impossible to deliver the news in person.

“Australia has experienced tough times before. Most recently that was during the global financial crisis in 2009. We know that in tough times Foxtel becomes a great source of comfort to people at home who want to be informed and entertained. Right now, with Australians isolating themselves at home, our customers need us more than ever,” said Delany.

“The government COVID-19 restrictions are however seeing major challenges for us including the broadcast and streaming of live sport. And looking ahead, the economic outlook for Australia is deteriorating and our continued transformation will become even more important.”

A number of the redundancies have come from the Fox Sports and Kayo businesses. The NRL has been postponed as has the AFL. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics have been postponed until 2021 and Rugby Australia was forced to halt all its domestic competition plans.

“What the team at Fox Sports have all done to reinvent our programming so our customers stick with us, has been extraordinary. And the ratings tell us customers are engaged with our classic matches, documentaries, pop-up channels and live shows, and value what we are producing,” said Delany.

“However, we need to be prepared for a scenario in sport where season starts are delayed further. It is clear all codes are struggling with significant financial challenges and we should anticipate that the future shape of sport in Australia will be very different.”

All stood down workers will be able to use accrued leave, draw on leave in advance and be given two additional weeks of pay. Foxtel is not entitled to the Job Keeper scheme.

All workers taking redundancy will be given their full entitlements and a further group of workers has been asked to take on reduced hours. Non-essential expenditure has ceased, as has hiring, casuals have been let go and the business will shut down over Easter for non-essential staff.

Delany ended the email by asking staff to take Easter to refresh and focus on their health. He also advised all staffers that they were able to access an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) if they needed support.

“Foxtel remains a great Australian company and a part of life for millions of Australians. Our service has never been more important as people spend an extended period at home. To be there for them, as difficult as it is, we must continue to transform Foxtel and ensure we come out the other side even more important than we are now,” said Delany.


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