Media agencies on Foxtel’s ambitious strategy

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 27 October 2023
Mark Frain

Media agencies praised Foxtel's vision unveiled at the upfronts last night, with buyers responding positively to the “transformation” and “evolution” of the subscription-based broadcaster.

One of the biggest announcements was a partnership with US-based media measurement and optimisation software company VideoAmp to develop a measurement system to accurately capture viewing data from across Foxtel services.

Alongside a content slate led by locally-commissioned productions and domestic and international sport, as well as the production of Binge’s first original feature film, How to Make Gravy, Foxtel Media also unveiled a new audience measurement service and plans to offer carbon impact measurement of advertising campaigns to its agency and brand clients.

Daniel Cutrone, managing partner, Avenue C, says Foxtel took advertisers away from industry norms, and on a journey into the future of video streaming. 

“In a carefully crafted presentation, Foxtel unveiled pivotal highlights and strategies from their wider sales team, boasting 4.7 million subscribers across the Foxtel Group and nearly 50% growth in digital revenue,” he said.

“Foxtel Media announced some powerful moves that will be sure to send shockwaves through the advertising industry, as they announced their parting of ways with ThinkTV, firmly signalling the shift away from Linear TV as a primary focus for the company.

“Foxtel did not shy away from addressing pressing industry concerns, from measurement challenges and economic pressures to the declining linear TV audience. They fearlessly tackled the very issues plaguing the industry today.

“With Amplified Intelligence, Foxtel showcased how Binge could capture an impressive 83% stronger active attention compared to other BVOD platforms.

“The team unveiled their ambitious strategy to capitalise on audience data, harnessing insights from over 1 million set-top boxes and 3.1 million digital customers. Their partnership with Videamp promised a ground-breaking solution for a comprehensive audience product across screens, a pioneering effort previously unexplored in the Australian market.

“A significant emphasis was placed on Australian sports, with comprehensive coverage spanning Netball, PGA, F1, Supercars, MotoGP, UFC, NRL, and AFL, clearing up any misconceptions regarding Foxtel's national game coverage. The average viewer was revealed to consume a staggering nine different sports, investing a total of nine hours per week.

“In response to the overwhelming saturation of streaming services, with 66% of Australians feeling inundated and 92% yearning for a consolidated platform, Foxtel introduced HUBBL. This OTT product aims to be the central hub for home entertainment, integrating all free, pay TV, and streaming services into a single platform. This innovative approach not only ushers in a new era but also introduces a single impression-based digital currency, revolutionising measurement standards.

“Foxtel not only lived up to the generated hype but reinvented themselves to emerge as the dynamic, premium, and transformative streaming business of the future."

Nichola Kiely, Frontier’s head of client service, said it was a thoroughly enjoyable Upfront that demonstrated a continued strong sport offering, a cracking line up of content both old and new and a deeper focus on data.

“Foxtel continued to show what a transformative business they are - one that has embraced streaming from the get go and continues to go from strength to strength," she said.

“Foxtel have always had a strong sport offering – in particular with AFL, NRL and cricket - and this is set to continue with confirmation of locked down deals for both AFL and Cricket until 2031. 

“The content slate is strong with a good mix of local and international shows including old (personal) favourites like ‘Colin from Accounts’ returning for another season and newcomers ‘Strife’ and ‘True Detective: Night Country’ looking to be stand out among many, many others. 

“An increased focus on data with new partnerships with VideoAmp and Kantar brings better audience viewership measurement and optimisation which isn’t unexpected but is always good to see.

“The final announcement of the night was the launch of Hubbl which left us all wanting to know more – an intriguing offering of a one-stop shop for the viewer. Very little was shared at this stage but this is one we eagerly wait to hear more on.”

Sam Hey, group investment director at OMD Melbourne, said the overall feeling coming out of the Foxtel 2024 Upfronts was unwaveringly positive.

“Foxtel planted a stake in the ground, pioneering the way we measure cross platform audiences by embarking on a new partnership with VideoAmp rather than relying on traditional TV measurement through OzTam,” said Hey 

“This shift leverages actual data vs claimed behaviour providing a more rigorous and holistic view of audiences across the Foxtel Group. 

“In addition to data developments, Foxtel made announcements around their content and local productions across BINGE. Proving that they are dedicated to building their offering for consumers but also for brands, and whether this trajectory continues and potentially opens up opportunity for brand integration. They are clearly listening to what clients want in market, which is overwhelmingly access to new and emerging platforms to capture an engaged audience. 

“Foxtel is moving in the right direction, but have they set themselves up for success moving into the next 12 months?

“Cross platform audience measurement is at the centre of screens conversations and it would be remiss for Foxtel not to address this moving into 2024, which they most certainly did through the partnership with VideoAmp. Opening the door to more total screens approach for campaigns and putting data and audiences first. Proving time and again that they have listened to the market and understand what is important to both agencies and our clients.

“This appears to be a positive move in terms of measurement, with audiences consuming more cross platform content than ever before it is imperative that we find more ways to consolidate data use. Foxtel seeded the thought around their shift to a streaming business in last year’s upfront and have continued on this path. Even more so from a business who now holds more than 66% of viewership through their digital offering, the exciting partnership with VideoAmp is a favourable progression for Foxtel.

“In addition, Foxtel announced their carbon impact measurement. These announcements showcase Foxtel’s ability to act as a progressive and forward-thinking media business. With many agencies and clients pushing for a focus on sustainability across the board, this again proves Foxtel has listened to what brands are looking for in a media partner.”

Justin Arlt, Wavemaker’s national head of marketplace trading, says Foxtel delivered on its promise an evening packed with big announcements.

“The upfronts showcased not only what we can expect in 2024, but also the Group’s ambitions for their content, measurement capabilities and sustainability credentials beyond next year showing a truly long-term vision,” Arlt said.

“Audiences are in store for a robust content slate in 2024, as expected there will be a strong mix of both premium local and international content on offer, but in a first for Binge they’ll be bringing to market an original feature film, How to Make Gravy, hopefully the first of many Binge Originals.

“This packed content slate will be underpinned by arguably the crown jewel in the portfolio - live sport. With 175 contracts signed across 130 sporting bodies in the past 12 months, there will be no shortage of eyeballs for brands to tap into across Foxtel and Kayo. 

“With the continued drive towards delivering more sustainable solutions, Foxtel have partnered with carbon measurement business Scope3. Foxtel’s partnership will provide clients the ability to measure the carbon impact of their media, a unique offering right now in the Australian broadcaster space. 

“This partnership aligns with GroupM’s own efforts to measure and decarbonise media through our Alpha strategy and a partnership with Scope3. This is in addition to work Foxtel have already conducted on their own business to minimise the carbon impact of their display and instream video inventory.  

“Rounding out the evening was the announcement of two key partnerships focussed on leveraging the considerable scale of Foxtel to drive granular measurement outcomes. Kantar have been engaged to develop a new audience measurement service, powered via Foxtel’s 1m+ set-top boxes, that will provide agencies with rich audience data for both post analysis and future planning. 

“Arguably, the more ambitious undertaking will be delivered in conjunction with VideoAmp, a US based tech company. 

“This joint endeavour is setting out to redesign how media is valued and sold in the market with a measurement system capable of not only tracking viewing data across the Foxtel Group platforms but also linking audience exposures to outcomes.

“Buyers will have to be patient on this one but Foxtel have made the right move of going through a proof of concept stage first instead of rushing to market as agencies and clients will be given the opportunity to work with Foxtel on how to best activate the tech.”

Rebecca Ho, head of investment for Sydney at Starcom Australia, said the Foxtel Group have undergone a significant evolution to become a streaming company adapting for the future.

"They delivered a bold, confident, and progressive strategy that aimed to align and connect with evolving audiences and their changing viewer behaviours," she said.

"Foxtel's partnerships with Kantar and VideoAmp are both significant milestones, providing them with the ability to focus on authentic data and human insights. In capturing the viewing data of 4.7 million subscribers across Foxtel’s ecosystem and moving away from panel and claimed data, brands will be equipped with valuable customer insights, ensuring seamless performance across linear and streaming, and ultimately connecting to business outcomes. 

"With every user on Foxtel having a paid subscription, this forms a rich and unique dataset of first-party data with high value customers. The launch of Characters on Kayo will also expand across Binge and Foxtel IQ, providing advertisers a solution to target beyond demographics and embrace behavioural targeting.

"Foxtel continues to invest in sport and entertainment to provide quality content that retains and attracts subscribers. The launch of Hubbl is the evolution of what Foxtel have been doing for some time, serving as a content aggregator and aiming to consolidate all platforms in the one place for viewers. This approach, with high quality content in an aggregated hub, will drive longer viewing times, more engaged viewers, and create greater scale.

"Foxtel’s proactive stance and dedication to embracing the future, coupled with their focus on seamless streaming experiences, content, enhanced targeting and a new measurement system, solidifies them as a media and streaming business that is anticipating our ever-evolving viewer."

Tess Linkins, strategy director at Half Dome, said it might have been bad luck about the weather, but Foxtel really did turn it on for its Upfronts 2024.

"Providing a unique experience (as always) catching ferries to Cockatoo Island for the night to be held in the Turbine Shop," said Linkins.

"Foxtel were very clear on what they wanted the audience to take out of the night; ‘premium, quality, and attention’. Referencing that the industry has now moved “past the tipping point” for digital as only the extra padding around linear TV, and if we don’t start moving towards a video first approach then we’ll be left behind.

"Addressing that we need to move away from traditional buying methods with smarter trade solutions and targeting capabilities developed with Experian, doubling down in data and progressive measurement.

"Foxtel are investing in partnerships they believe will make them the powerhouse in streaming, with the inclusions of Videoamp and Kantar, these are in addition to Analytic Partners and Amplified Intelligence, noting that “there’s a balance between getting it right, and getting there quickly” in a dynamic and evolving environment.

"It seems like Foxtel are setting some great foundations for 2024 and beyond."

Anna Magliano, head of client services at Kaimera, said despite the gloomy weather, Foxtel managed to deliver a confident and impressive presentation that was truly 'watchable'.

"They spared no expense in showcasing their latest offerings and completely redefined their approach, coming across as big and bold. Their presentation included clients, media buyers, and the entire Foxtel team," she said.

"One of the standout moments was their partnership with VideoAmp, a game-changer in the world of broadcasting. With the decline in broadcast audiences and the ever-increasing fragmentation of viewership, this collaboration promises a new measurement system that accurately captures viewing data across Foxtel Group services.

"Another exciting development was Foxtel's partnership with Scope 3, enabling advertisers to measure the carbon emissions generated by their digital campaigns - a positive step in the right direction. It demonstrates Foxtel's commitment to sustainability and corporate responsibility.

"The real star of the show, however, was the content lineup. Foxtel unveiled an impressive array of premium entertainment and sports content, featuring both new and returning Australian Originals like "How to Make Gravy" and a slew of local and international sporting events, including AFL, Cricket, and UFC. This promises a year filled with exciting and engaging content for Foxtel subscribers.

"What truly stood out during this presentation was Foxtel's strategic focus on the consumer and advertiser experience. They seem to have their priorities in the right place, ensuring that their viewers and advertising partners are at the heart of their strategy. Foxtel is poised for a very successful year."

Have something to say on this? Share your views in the comments section below. Or if you have a news story or tip-off, drop us a line at

Sign up to the AdNews newsletter, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for breaking stories and campaigns throughout the day.

comments powered by Disqus