Foxtel CMO says it's about re-education not customer acquisition

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 3 September 2018

Foxtel CMO Andy Lark has revealed the biggest challenge in his role is the re-education of existing customers as opposed to rampant customer acquisition.

Speaking to AdNews, Lark, who joined the subscription TV business earlier this year said the business is going through a “transformative period” and now has a different market proposition.

“A lot of what we've got to do is really expose customers to the product that exists today and the full potential of that product, which is a shift from previous attitudes,” he says.

“It's an interesting job for me because it's not just about acquiring new customers, it's now an education piece for those who are already with Foxtel but may not be making the most of the service.”

Lark says the role hasn't been without its challenges and acknowledged there was a lot of work to do with both the Foxtel brand and its partners, including newly appointed creative agency DDB.

The Omnicom-owned agency, which was appointed to the Foxtel roster in July this year, is responsible for leading its brand and retail work in the “next wave” marketing for the business.

“We've had some big priorities in re-establishing our relationship with DDB as a partner which has been a big focal point for us, as well as further hires and new team members in my department, so it's been flat out,” Lark says.

“My approach is you've got to balance the need to deliver in the short term with the more fundamental issues of rebuilding the brand and recreating a category, and this is what we are ultimately working towards.”

The threat of streaming has also been top of mind for Lark and his team, however, he says “the future of Foxtel is not just streaming”, but is also about creating a premium content proposition that applies to all areas of TV viewer, at home, mobile and digital.

He says the challenge is to ensure customer longevity and loyalty, adding that these are areas where streaming services can “fall over”, while Foxtel has multiple content categories that ensure subscriber renewal.

“There are different streaming services that I subscribe to for a short period of time to get a particular show and then I just cancel because I don't want anything else they've got, that's not uncommon,” Lark says.

“That is radically different than being a premium entertainment service that people want and desire because they want the full spectrum of what you've got to offer.”

Lark says the changes going on within Foxtel, which have included the launch of a new movie streaming service, FoxFlicks  and the announcement of Australia's first dedicated 4K resolution channel are all “by-products of a very conscious strategy”.

The company believes that it already has strong penetration when it comes to Australian consumers and is therefore focused on improving and enhancing its services to retain subscribers, rather than targeting new ones. Foxtel is currently in 30% of Australian households.

“For us, you can only modestly grow or hold your economic subscriber base given the penetration and the total available market we can reach,” Lark says.

“It's really about engaging more viewers that we already have, while also capturing an acceptable amount of those new households.”

He says the business will continue to generate and retain business by focusing on “the hard moments”, which include important sporting events such as sporting grand finals, as well as providing access to “premium entertainment events”.

“Our challenge is making sure we are there to meet you when those hard moments occur and that we are asserting and driving your awareness into consideration for when we have to compete for attention on the softer moments.”

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