Foxtel prepares for ‘wholesale repositioning’ with new channel and programming

Foxtel has released details about its newest channel as part of a series of announcements which aim to realign the focus of the business.

BBC Earth will launch on October 10 and bring a host of popular streaming titles to the Foxtel network, including Planet Earth II and Blue Planet II which will be available to stream on-demand. Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany said the new addition is part of a much larger plan for the subscription TV business, which will see it transform its positioning and entertainment and lifestyle offerings.

“The October debut of BBC Earth on Foxtel will form part of a larger announcement at the launch event of Foxtel Media, the media sales company formerly known as Multi-Channel Network (MCN), in Sydney, where we will unveil a wholesale repositioning and renewal of Foxtel’s entertainment and Lifestyle channels,” said Delany.

Foxtel’s sales arm MCN rebranded today to become Foxtel Media. The name change will match further integration between the sales house and the subscription TV business.

Foxtel also recently announced a ‘revolutionary’ update to its platform which would see it revamp its electronic program guide and integrate with Netflix. 

BBC Earth brings the factual programming and documentaries the BBC is known for, including its work with Sir David Attenborough from BBC Studios’ Natural History Unit, together with science programming, adventure series and human stories featuring Louis Theroux, Michael Mosley, Kate Humble and Professor Brian Cox.

“With BBC Earth, Foxtel viewers will have access to the best of the BBC’s world-class documentaries made using the latest technology to record and share the extraordinary world around us. The dedicated BBC Earth channel and the dramatically expanded on-demand catalogue of BBC natural history shows are a great proof point that Foxtel provides the best of TV and on-demand all in one place,” said Delany.

Delany speaking at the recent new Foxtel experience launch

“BBC Earth is one element of Foxtel’s long-term relationship with BBC Studios, which cements our position as the go-to destination for premium British drama, entertainment, documentaries, natural history, children’s programming and news.”

The channel will launch with Attenborough’s series Blue Planet II, Frozen Planet, Planet Earth II, The Hunt, and Attenborough: The Sea Dragon, in addition to Tribes, Animals and Me, Rituals, Expedition Volcano, and Wild Mexico. Each series will screen in its entirety across one of the first four days of the channel launch.

Many series from BBC Knowledge will be migrating across to the new BBC Earth channel including Africa with Ade Adepitan, Building Giants, Dangerous Earth, Tribal Bootcamp, Where the Wild Men Are, Weird Wonders of the World, World’s Busiest Cities, as well as documentaries from Ben Fogle, Brian Cox, Levison Wood, Louis Theroux, Michael Mosley, Simon Reeve, and Steve Backshall. BBC Earth will replace BBC Knowledge on Foxtel channel 614 and will also be available on Fetch. All programs will also be available for Foxtel and Foxtel Docos subscribers on demand.

Tim Christlieb, director of branded services, BBC Studio ANZ said: “BBC Earth is for everyone who is interested in the world they live in and will offer best-in-class premium factual programming fronted by the BBC’s renowned presenters. Many of the best-shows and much-loved faces from BBC Knowledge will find a new home on BBC Earth.

“If you want to view nature in all its magnificence, be amazed by animals that you never knew existed and marvel at their behaviours, connect with your fellow humans through touching stories, explore other cultures, experience hair-raising adventures from the comfort of your armchair or ponder on the big scientific questions of the universe, then BBC Earth is for you. BBC Earth is a well-established global brand, with channels in over 160 countries and we’re looking forward to bringing this channel to Australian audiences.”

Titles to air on the channel in the first week of launch include:

Blue Planet II (7:30pm tbc,10th October, 7 x 60’)

Filmed over four years this series takes viewers on a magical adventure across the greatest, yet least known part of our planet – our oceans. Since Blue Planet aired in 2001, our understanding of life beneath the waves has been transformed.

Frozen Planet (5:00pm, 11th October, 6 x 60’)

Embark on the trip of a lifetime, as the BBC’s acclaimed Natural History Unit takes you on a spectacular polar expedition into a breathtaking landscape most humans will never experience. Ambitious and epic in scale, this landmark series is the ultimate portrait of the great wildernesses of the Arctic and Antarctic before they change forever.

Planet Earth II (5:00pm, 12th October, 6 x 60’)

When Planet Earth was released it transformed how viewers saw their planet. The first natural history series to be filmed in high definition, it captivated a global audience of over half a billion people by giving them an unprecedented view of life on Earth. Ten years on, Planet Earth II revists this rich subject but with a new perspective, immersing audiences in the most spectacular landscapes and habitats on Earth and bringing them eye to eye with the animals that live there.

The Hunt (5:00pm, 13th October, 7 x 60’)

Predators face many challenges in their lives but the most defining is also the most difficult: catching their prey. Statistics support this claim – most hunts fail. Predators must not only overcome the significant defences of their prey but also the unique challenges of their habitats.

Attenborough and the Sea Dragon (8:30pm, 14th October, 1 x 60’)

On the Jurassic coast of Britain a remarkable 200 million year-old fossil is discovered – the bones of an Ichthyosaur – a giant sea dragon that ruled the oceans when the dinosaurs ruled the land.

In this one-hour special, Sir David Attenborough brings a passion project to the screen as he joins the hunt to bring this ancient creature’s story to life.

Tribes, Animals and Me (8:30pm, 15th October, 6 x 60’)

From the lion-hunting San Bushmen of the Kalahari, to the Huorani Indians of Ecuador who search for giant green anacondas, from the Sepik River people of Papua New Guinea who hunt crocodiles with their bare hands to the shark people of the Solomon Islands, Gordon Buchanan meets the tribes who live alongside the world’s most feared animals. This series reveals the remarkable relationships between humans and nature’s most dangerous creatures which are based on respect, bravery and an understanding of wildlife never seen before.

Expedition Volcano (8:30pm, 16th October, 2 x 60’)

Towering above one of the world’s most environmentally and politically hostile regions are the Virunga mountains, home to some of the least explored volcanoes in the world. Join a team of scientists and mountaineers as they take on an extraordinarily dangerous expedition into the heart of these volcanoes, uncovering some of Earth’s deepest secrets.

Rituals (8:30pm, 17th October, 4 x 60’)

In every culture, our rituals reveal what it means to be human. They allow us to express our identity, join us together and help us navigate through life. This visually stunning series uses cinematic filming techniques to immerse viewers in incredible rituals practised by cultures across the globe, from the cities of Japan to the jungles of New Guinea.

Wild Mexico (7:30pm, 19th October, 3 x 60’)

With its lush tropical jungles, sunburnt orange deserts and deep blue lakes, Mexico is a country bursting with colour and life. Wild Mexico explores this unique country from the scorched north to the tropical south. Journey along the Sierra Madre mountains, meet a diverse cast of creatures – including black howler monkeys, quetzals, monarch butterflies and Caribbean flamingos – and discover the explosive force of one of the most volcanic places on Earth. 


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