Kayo recovers from COVID-19 hit, reporting new high of 600,000 subscribers

Foxtel’s sports streaming service Kayo has recovered from the mass exodus it saw at the beginning of the pandemic, reporting over 600,000 subscribers.

In May, amid a number of sports being cancelled or paused, the platform reported its subscribers had fell to 331,000. In August, it reported 542,000.

The over 600,000 figure is a record high for Kayo which launched at the end of 2018.

Foxtel boss Patrick Delany said, at a virtual sports showcase event, that Foxtel had hit a sports subscriber high across its group, including Kayo and Foxtel Now, with just under 2m subscribers.

Delany said sport was part of Foxtel’s ‘DNA’ and that despite a challenging year, the vertical was ‘growing’ at the subscription TV business.

“For us at Foxtel it was an existential moment because sport is so much a part of our DNA,” Delany said.

“Huge unemployment like we had never seen in our working lives led to quite large churn of our subscribers. No live sport meant that people weren’t watching our sports channels like they were before. Pubs and clubs were shut and that’s a very big and important part of our revenue.”

Foxtel itself made a round of redundancies and stand downs during the early days of COVID-19. Its Fox Sports business was hit hard with AFL, NRL and Supercars, Foxtel’s core sports during that time, all paused. In response, Foxtel offered premium packages for sports subscribers in an attempt to slow the churn it experienced.

Delany called it a ‘terrible time’, but thanked Foxtel’s movie and drama partners for helping the business rally.

“With no sport, we had to cope in some way and I want to thank all of our movie partners, the studios, they immediately came to our rescue and said give movie product to our sport subscribers, which kept them engaged,” he said.

“That also meant that we got video on-demand moving like we had never seen before.”

Five months on, Delany said Foxtel is ‘feeling fabulous’. He said advertisers have begun to return to the platform and that the future looks bright for the business, which is well into its efficiency and digital ‘transformation’.


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