MCN ditches TV upfront model in favour of 'year-long' concept

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 6 May 2019

MCN, pay TV network Foxtel's sales house, has revealed it will be scrapping the traditional TV industry upfront model, in favour of a new "interactive, year-long" program.

Upfronts, which are held by all of Australia's major TV networks, act as large scale events to showcase developments, initiatives and programs from Nine, Seven, Ten and SBS over the following 12 months.

Electing to move away from this concept, MCN's new strategy will see it and Foxtel create “Foxtel on Oxford”, an entertainment venue which has been custom built to "better connect" advertisers, agencies and subscribers with the pay TV platform.

Situated at the former Academy Twin cinema site at 1-11 Oxford Street, Paddington in Sydney, Foxtel on Oxford will host a full program of content previews, technology demonstrations, and interactive workshops for advertisers, plus regular business and programming updates from MCN over the next 12-18 months.

Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany says the "unique and exciting" new concept will act as a physical representation of the Foxtel brand and will "unite" both customers and advertisers.

"Foxtel constantly strives to bring home Australia’s valued entertainment, and this new space will feature a program of events that brings to life our vast portfolio of sports, lifestyle and entertainment content for our community in new and exciting ways," he says.

To create Foxtel on Oxford, Foxtel and MCN have partnered with independent creative production company Alfred for the design, restoration and production of the space, Innovative Production Services for the technical services and hospitality business Merivale as the exclusive food and beverage provider.

Previously dormant for 10 years, the space has been revamped into a "contemporary, connected entertainment hub" that showcases the Foxtel iQ4 set-top box experience. Complete with a 250 seat state of the art cinema, the 1,800m2 venue will house meetings, presentations, screenings and performances.

“Our constantly changing media landscape has shown us that we need to provide a deeper, richer ongoing conversation with both our agency and advertiser partners," MCN CEO Mark Frain says.

"As a result, we began looking at how we could adjust our approach to be more agile and reflect our clients’ day-to-day needs. We believe the answer is an 'always-on' and personalised strategy, and so we are delighted to be launching Foxtel on Oxford as the new home of Australian advertising innovation."

Late last year, Frain took shots at the upfront model, slamming it for being "outdated", adding it no longer fit into the modern marketing strategy advertisers had.

The project will be handled by MCN head of marketing and communications Sarah Tucker, while the partnership with Merivale will see the business promoting Made by Merivale – its new catering arm.

Foxtel on Oxford is due to open its doors this July.

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