Foxtel’s 2023 commercial offerings: BINGE launches advertising tier; Media arm ups FoxTest initiative to $5m

Foxtel Media today announced at its 2023 Upfront, Game Changed, that an advertising tier will be introduced on the BINGE streaming service in 2023, giving brands the ability to connect to a new, high value and highly engaged audience segment.

Slated to launch in the first quarter of 2023, BINGE advertising will be modelled on the success of the Kayo Sports and Foxtel Go services, which ensure minimum disruption to the viewer experience, and maximum impact for brands. The tier will launch with an in-built audience scale, meaning there will be immediate access to a buyable audience and advertisers will not have to wait for viewers to accumulate.

Advertisers will be able to book pre and mid-roll ads on BINGE. Select solus breaks will also be available, with FoxTest research revealing that spontaneous ad recall rises 34% in this format. However, ads will be capped to four minutes per hour, with strict ad-serving controls and a frequency cap of one per hour per user to prioritise the watchability and bingeability of the platform.

Executive Director of BINGE, Alison Hurbert-Burns said: “In two short years we have built BINGE into a household name. We know that quality and variety are the drivers when it comes to choosing a streaming service, and at BINGE we connect the critically acclaimed and the popular.

“Introducing advertising on the platform represents a truly valuable opportunity for marketers who are looking to connect with a passionate, engaged and loyal audience. This is the next level of watchability on BINGE.”

The 2023 Foxtel Media Upfront, also provided further insight into BINGE’s audience which includes a 60-40 split in favour of females, with the largest audience being females aged 18 to 34. Half of BINGE’s subscribers are high-income earners, 60% have families and 80% are below the age of 54.

BINGE launched in mid-2020 and has amassed almost 1.3 million subscribers in that time. It has brought critically acclaimed shows such as The Undoing, The Walking Dead, House of the Dragon and local originals such as Love Me to Australian viewers, with House of the Dragon debuting to a total of 1.235 million views when it was released.

Speaking at Game Changed, held at the newly completed Allianz Stadium today, Foxtel Media CEO, Mark Frain said BINGE would change the game for entertainment advertising in the same way that Kayo changed the game for sports.

“Opening up advertising on BINGE is going to allow brands to appear alongside some truly world-class content and add immense scale to our network. We are emphasising the power of the weighty one-two punch of advertising on Kayo and BINGE simultaneously.

“At the same time, we are being extremely careful about our offerings to ensure that we safeguard the watchability of BINGE that our subscribers treasure, which will ultimately have great benefits for brands as well.

“The Foxtel network is not a newcomer to the arena of ad-supported subscription TV. We have years of experience under our belts and have successfully transitioned several services to avenues that allow brands and agencies to connect with audiences in unique formats and on different levels. We’re old hands at this and we’re very confident in the experience we will be able to deliver for subscribers and brands alike.”

During the upfront, Foxtel Media also announced it will increase investment in its FoxTest ad experimentation initiative to $5 million, following exceptional results since FoxTest was rolled out last year.  The additional investment will allow Foxtel Media and its advertising partners to harness existing attention data and incorporate it into planning and buying tools across the agency landscape and refine the number of tests being conducted while speeding up experimentation.

Originally announced at the 2021 Foxtel Media Showcase, FoxTest helps brands explore the frontiers of advertising, and run experiments across advertising content, experience, and data. In the first stage of the Foxtel rollout, Foxtel Media partnered with clients such as Westpac, Suncorp, NAB, Uber, KFC, IPG, OMD, Spark and GroupM to test ad formats, duration, delivery and more to find the best way to retain audience attention for each brand.

In total, Foxtel Media has worked with 25 clients since the launch of FoxTest and conducted tests across ten projects, covering the power of women in sports, trading to high-value audiences, and testing new ad formats.

One FoxTest conducted with Amplified Intelligence helped to prove higher levels of attention of ads across Foxtel audiences, based on higher consumption and considerably less advertising per hour than other broadcasters. In particular, the strength of Kayo was again highlighted in this test, delivering 30% greater engagement when compared to free-to-air channels. The output of this test with Amplified Intelligence will see the Foxtel audience and program data ingested into Amplified Intelligence’s Attention Plan tool, enabling agencies to further optimise their media investment across Foxtel’s highly engaged audiences.

Another test for Spark Foundry saw a brand optimise creative executions for a campaign that ran across linear TV, BVOD and social video. This FoxTest leveraged audio content recognition technology provided by Beatgrid to identify cross-media campaign exposure, alongside survey data and modelling from Nature to determine the impact on brand and ROI. This test allowed Foxtel Media to better understand its role in future media planning across elements such as channel, frequency and ad length, ultimately contributing to a better experience for viewers, and a better outcome for advertisers.

Foxtel Media CEO, Mark Frain, said that the decision to increase investment in the initiative came after the increasing appetite from clients and agencies to test and learn.

“We have been blown away by the demand and feedback for FoxTest. This initiative was the first of its kind and while it has certainly been a challenge, the support from our agency partners and the revealing insights we have been able to uncover has spurred us on. The additional capital we are investing solidifies our commitment to this path of collaboration and evolution as we venture into new frontiers of advertising.

“The results have been disruptive at times, but necessary for us to continue to lead video advertising as the media industry evolves. The learnings from FoxTest are changing our way of working. For example, a test run with a popular auto brand earlier this year prompted us to modify our workflows and adopt an agnostic screens approach.”

Toby Dewar, director of customer engagement at Foxtel Media, said, “ FoxTest has proven itself beyond any doubt as something the market can leverage and use to evolve media planning. The experiments we are running are having tangible outcomes, driving industry rhetoric and further proving the distinct advantages clients have in advertising across our platforms. The results are contributing towards Foxtel’s journey to be the most watchable TV and streaming partner in the market and the most impactful and effective platform for advertisers.”


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