Linear audience drop ‘doesn’t keep me up at night’, says Foxtel Media’s Frain

Foxtel Media’s CEO, Mark Frain, has told advertisers that a drop in linear audience “doesn’t keep me up at night”, and taken aim at competitor broadcast video on demand (BVOD) platforms airing “over 40 ads an hour”.

“Am I worried that our linear audience is down? Slightly,” he said. “But it doesn’t keep me up at night. Because we are facing into our future. Our strategy is working, and it is deliberate. Don’t get me wrong, we are intent on maximising our linear performance, and we will continue to meet advertiser needs, while consumer needs continue to change.

Frain speaking at the showcase

“We have our feet on the ground and our eyes on the horizon. How many of our competitors can say the same? How many have a genuine clear view of the role of advertising in a viewer-controlled, on-demand world, and are building products that carve out a space for brands to thrive? We have that vision.”

Frain was speaking at a showcase event this morning, at which Foxtel Media unveiled four new offerings: Foxtel Xplore’s audience targeting on Kayo, Addressable Go’s addressable audience targeting on Foxtel Go, Fox Venues across pubs and clubs, which will target and measure venue viewers, and a new trading platform. He stressed that the entire industry is responsible for ensuring the advertising experience is right for audiences.

“There are many other shows on other BVOD platforms that run over 40 ads an hour,” Frain remarked.

“Over 40 ads per hour. Nearly 16 minutes. Often ad breaks with many repetitions of the same ad, your ad, in a row. It is down to the entire industry … to get this right: broadcasters, agencies, and tech vendors. Otherwise, we run the risk of damaging the future before we get there, because the advertising experience does matter.”

Foxtel’s CEO, Patrick Delany, was adamant that the group is “back being a growth engine, with 3.3 million subscribers and double digit growth. We have maintained Foxtel as premium … but we’re also growing really rapidly in streaming with our brands Kayo and Binge.”


From today, media agencies will now be able to target segments of Kayo’s 624,000 subscribers through Foxtel Xplore using Foxtel data and the agency’s own data. Addressable Go means digital ads can be placed on Foxtel Go, which accounts for 60% of the total live commercial BVOD minutes viewed across Foxtel. And Fox Venues will see advertisers able to feed separate ads into AFL and NRL matches across 3,850 Australian pubs and clubs.

The final new product is a dynamic trading platform, which runs using artificial intelligence, and, according to Foxtel, gives media buyers more certainty and control through more accurate forecasts.

Frain said the announcements show that “the Foxtel Media team are charging towards our future”.

“The advances we are announcing today reflect both Foxtel’s transformational business strategy over the past few years, and significant investment across our technology stack to bring better experiences to audiences and advertisers,” he added.

“It will be digital, addressable, high-quality BVOD that drives our growth coupled with greater data connection to the linear channel offering. We will continue to maximise our linear performance, and meet advertiser needs, whilst also recognising that our consumer needs continue to change.”

Foxtel’s chief commercial and content officer Amanda Laing

At the same time Foxtel Media announced its new products, Foxtel’s group general manager of lifestyle, Wendy Moore, revealed the group’s biggest-ever slate of local lifestyle content. The new formats include Selling in the City (a Selling Houses spin-off), The Repair Shop, Find My Dream Home – the Deborah Hutton-hosted format which begins production this month – and the return of the company’s most-watched local production, Selling Houses Australia.

Also returning are Grand Designs Australia – which will kick off the new slate on 31 March – Love It or List It Australia, and Gogglebox Australia. The Barefoot Investor’s three-part documentary series, Scott Pape’s Money Movement, is also part of the line up, premiering on 28 April.

“We know just how important our returning shows are to our audience, and understand they want more of what they already love, not less,” Moore said.

“So, over the next year, we will see the return of so many LifeStyle favourites.

“However, the time is right to increase our investment in the lifestyle space and I am excited to announce we are currently in pre-production on a number of new Foxtel Originals, including a brand new addition to the Selling Houses franchise, Selling In The City, as well as The Repair Shop, a heart-warming format that has been a runaway success in the UK.”


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