“It’s a real honour to lead such a fabulous company,” said new Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany to Mediaweek on Sky News Business this week, as he spoke on TV for the first time about his new job and the challenges that come with it.
“I worked there for 10 years and I know the basics of the subscription TV business. I also know that the world has changed. We have a job ahead of us and we need to make sure we stay trim and efficient.”
Delany didn’t have much light to shed on the merger between Foxtel and Fox Sports, but he said he has told the owners, “I am here to run the business and we are all looking forward to some news soon, I hope.”
As to future strategy he reminded Sky News Business he was only in the job two weeks. However…
“I am getting to know the team and understanding the shape the business is in. We do have some pretty exciting streaming plans that the company is in a unique position to do, given we have a base of 2.6m household customers. We have some very strong cashflows and some unbelievable content.”
As to re-familiarising himself with Foxtel, Delany said the value equation in the eyes of the public has changed. “Those changes means there is a lot of opportunity for us.
“Foxtel still has penetration close to 30% and the digital age presents us with a great opportunity to attack the other 70%. A lot of people ask if we can hold the 30% we now have. I see it as the opposite – we can maintain that and then use digital technologies and content rights we have to grow.
“The public is more prepared to pay for content these days. For many years we were the only one in that market and now it is great to have competition and we intend to heat it up.”
Speaking to Mediaweek at the Fox League launch, Delany noted sports of course remains a key pillar for the business. “We have our major rights locked down for the next five years. We have clear dominant, exciting brands in Fox Footy and Fox League. Fox Sports sits over the top of that as clearly the sports leader.”
With Picnic At Hanging Rock already creating a lot of buzz ahead of its broadcast later in 2018, Delany noted there is a lot more to the Foxtel offer than just sport.
He pointed out he is very comfortable working across other content offerings including drama as he ran XYZ Entertainment for two years from 2000. He then joined Foxtel to help with the transition from the analog days to digital.
“I watch a lot of TV, including a lot of drama.
“I also watch movies. And in this era of bingeing on drama, movies have been a little bit forgotten. Movies are about to make a big comeback – they will be the new black.”
As readers of the OzTAM subscription TV ratings at mediaweek.com.au would know, movies are hot right now and often go close to topping the list of most popular programs.
Delany also had praise for Sky News and its management, adding news to the list of crucial content.
“Sky News CEO Angelos Frangopoulos is leading a great organisation and the way Sky News has moved into entertaining opinion is very exciting.”
When asked how Foxtel under Patrick Delany could look in 12 months, he replied: “My reputation is that I shake things up pretty hard. I am a change agent. I love change, but it has to reflect what the public wants.
“When the merger goes through, the suite of products that the merged entity will offer in 12 months’ time will be very different. In terms of what might change for Foxtel, give me a bit more time.”
Photo [L-R]: Foxtel’s Patrick Delany at the Fox League launch with News Corp Australia executive chairman Michael Miller, Sony Music Australia CEO and chairman Denis Handlin, Fox Sports head of television Steve Crawley and Fox Sports COO Peter Campbell