Foxtel signs multi-year agreement with NBC Universal and revamps more channels

Foxtel is continuing its partnership with NBC Universal Global Distribution and International (NBCU) thanks to a new multi-year deal which includes Universal Pictures, Dreamworks Animation and a chunk of evergreen classic content.

The announcement comes as Foxtel launches more rebranded channels – Fox Sleuth and Fox Sci Fi – another step in its ongoing content overhaul.

NBCU’s Chris Taylor with Foxtel’s Amanda Laing

The NBCU agreement will strengthen the Foxtel Movies lineup with the addition of The Fast and the Furious, Jurassic, Bourne and Jaws franchises, alongside children’s titles.

Speaking to Mumbrella, Foxtel chief commercial officer Amanda Laing said content agreements, like the NBCU partnership, were incredibly important to Foxtel’s ongoing success for a number of reasons.

“It’s a really important announcement for us because NBC Universal are one of our longest partners and they are a local powerhouse. Their content offering is so broad and so rich, that to have them as one of our major partners is really important,” said Laing.

“People love Law and Order and they love Chicago – Chicago P.D., Chicago Med, Chicago Fire – people just love all of that content. That partners with Fox Crime. Then we’ve got E! which is red carpet like nobody else does.”

Laing said having this catalogue of content is supremely important for the subscription TV provider, because people need to have options with their viewing. Some nights they may feel like new, cutting-edge drama, or blockbuster movies, but other days consumers want to come home to favourites.

“The back catalogue is absolutely critical, without that you don’t have enough of an offering,” said Laing.

“All the global players are duking it out to try and get their hands on this because the data tells a story, this is the stuff that people love to watch. It’s not the only stuff they want to watch, but they absolutely love it and they have to have it there.

“We have to offer both for our customers.”

The partnership will mean the continuation of NBCU’s channels including Universal TV, E! and CNBC. NBCU will also provide content for Foxtel’s new entertainment channels including Fox Crime, Fox Funny and Fox Hits. Chicago P.D will premiere its on Fox One on November 15 with Foxtel’s first run rights.

“The channels that we curate, our own and operated channels, now under the new Fox banner, they are exclusive to us, they are absolutely our own. And while not every piece of content on every one of those channels is exclusive to Foxtel, our curation of that channel is something that is exclusive to us,” said Laing.

“We’ve put it together based on our insights and our knowledge of our customers, we’ve curated a channel that we think they need, and complemented by the on-demand offering. It’s about value, you can’t get those channels anywhere else.”

NBCU’s managing director for distribution and networks in ANZ, Chris Taylor, said the ongoing partnership with Foxtel is a highlight for NBCU.

“This broad, multi-year deal continues to deliver Foxtel subscribers NBCU’s amazing range of top-quality films and series, along with our compelling channel brands,” said Taylor.

“We look forward to an on-going collaboration with Foxtel as we continue our long-standing, successful partnership.”

Foxtel’s new channels Fox Sleuth and Fox Sci Fi will continue that curation of content that Laing says is important for the Foxtel consumer.

Fox Sleuth will celebrate the murder mystery genre with programs including Vera, Murder, She Wrote, Poirot and Magnum P.I.

Fox Sci Fi will bring Heroes, Charmed, and several Star Trek series to Foxtel.

Foxtel executive director television Brian Walsh said: “The launch of the Fox Sleuth and Fox Sci Fi channels in December completes a major refresh of our entertainment and movies line-up providing Foxtel viewers with the best of TV and on demand for summer.

“The all-new line-up creates a distinct group of channel propositions and personalities that make Foxtel more accessible for viewers and provide us with more supplier flexibility to bring the world’s best content to our customers. They also strengthen our long association with the Fox television brand and confirm Foxtel as the brand’s exclusive home in Australia.”

Foxtel also recently launched a tenure-based loyalty program and added Netflix to its interface.


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