An inaugural “strategy day” has presented the hopes and aspirations of Australia’s former pay-TV company Foxtel as it bids for a future from streaming as an independent quoted company.
Foxtel is currently majority-owned by News Corp (65 per cent) with the balance held by Telstra, with an IPO a matter for Foxtel's shareholders, according to chief executive Patrick Delaney.
Central to yesterday’s presentations was Delaney’s belief that the group can boost its customer base to five million from the present four, within three years, with annual revenue of $3 billion targeted. He says more than half (53 per cent) of Foxtel's customers now subscribe to one of its streaming services, compared with eight per cent in 2016.
Foxtel currently operates streaming services Kayo Sports and Binge, with plans announced for a live news aggregation service called Flash. Retail aspirations through Foxtel Retail following the recent launch of the internet-linked iQ5 set top box were also revealed at the briefing. A software update later this year will allow the iQ4 set top box to be IP-only, without requiring satellite.
Delaney introduced the concept of “a very different company to the one-product Foxtel of three or four years ago”, with multiple sources of revenue growth.
According to former Mumbrella owner Tim Burrowes, an IPO may be “the last remaining route” for News Corp and Telstra to see “one more payday” from Foxtel and it responds to the pressure of $854 million of external debt as well as loans from its two shareholders.
And he points out that, “after years of News Corp’s editorial hostility to the NBN, the company’s TV fortunes now, ironically, depend on it”.
Pictured: Patrick Delaney (photo The Australian)