Peter Tonagh: “There’s Been More Change In The Past 12 Months Than In The Last Five Years”

Peter Tonagh: “There’s Been More Change In The Past 12 Months Than In The Last Five Years”
SHARE
THIS



It’s part two of B&T’s one-on-one with Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh (check out part one here). Media ownership laws, free-to-air’s future, who won’t survive the great disruption, and who wins RuPaul’s Drag Race all discussed here…

You’ve been the boss of a newspaper business and now a TV business, giving you a unique view on media. With all the change going on, how do you see the cards falling over, say, the next five years?
Yes, there’ll be more change for sure. There’s been more change in the past 12 months than there has been in the last five years and that will continue. The interesting thing is that the players that are really prominent – the Googles, the Facebooks – are all companies who don’t produce content and I think at some point there will be a rebalancing of the value of content, but I have no idea how that will play out. Ultimately it’s important as an Australian society that there’s Australian content being produced.

If you were offered a CEO job at any media company, which is the one you wouldn’t take?
I wouldn’t want to be the CEO of Fairfax and I wouldn’t want to be the CEO of Pacific Magazines. Foxtel, I think, is the most exciting CEO role in Australia. But that’s a biased view.

Media ownership laws are back on the agenda. If they ever get passed, how do you see that playing out?
The two media laws that are the in front of Parliament at the moment are the reach laws and the ‘two out of three’ law. The reach rule says that the metro free-to-air networks can buy a regional free-to-air network and I’m not sure that changes much, to be honest. Seven and Prime have a pretty good relationship. Does Seven want to buy Prime? I don’t know. But I don’t think it will change things much. Ten is unlikely to buy WIN. Then you’ve got Nine and Southern Cross Austereo and something may happen there, but I don’t see it being a transformation. The ‘two out of three rule’, we believe that should get through. That would enable more consolidation and that can only be good if there continues to be Australian voices. The risk is if you don’t allow consolidation then local players will disappear and overseas players will dominate and you will lose the Australian voice.

Optus just pinched your English Premier League (EPL) rights. Is that the real threat, big spending competitors taking content? Particularly sports content?
We have every game of the NRL and the AFL live until 2022. So they’re not going anywhere. When they come up for renewal, the issue for us is scale; have we built enough customers where we are able to win those rights again? The Optus experience? I don’t know how good that’s been for Optus but it hasn’t been very good for the customer and you only need to look at people going to the ACCC about the rights not being live and its clear customers aren’t happy.

My understanding is they wanted to do a deal with you guys re: broadcasting games, but Foxtel were the ones who put the kibosh on it?
That’s not true at all. We did try and come to an agreement with those guys, that we would distribute the EPL, they didn’t want to because they only wanted it to be available to Optus customers, and that’s their prerogative. They know a lot about broadcasting sports, they do it at (Optus’ parent) Singtel and they’re experts at broadcasting on broadband. The reality is that live sport is best delivered on broadcast television because broadcast TV is a ‘one-to-many’ proposition. You know you’ll get fantastic presentation to the customer, uninterrupted, and there’s going to be no pixilation and no delays and broadband’s not particularly suited to delivering mass market live sport.

The competition from the SVOD players (Netflix etc) forced you to lower your subs rate to retain and attract subscribers. Surely that’s reduced bottom lines and ultimately content?
In November 2014 we did reduce the entry price and that has had a minor impact on our average revenue per subscriber, but not a lot. We’re not seeing a massive change in what the average customer is paying.

You’ve been ramping up the local drama content. Do viewers watch Foxtel for drama?
Fore sure. Games of Thrones is the single biggest audience that we’ve had on Foxtel ever – a 1.2 million audience. I think there’s a real thirst for drama. You can tell more of a story in a straight movie and that’s happening globally. What we’re not seeing enough of is Australian drama, and we’re putting considerable resources into that. We don’t think people need a huge amount of drama, rather the right drama. Australian stories are really important and you won’t see that on Netflix or any other SVOD services.

Where’s the next great big disruptor coming from? Who, in media, should be nervous?
As Bill Gates’ said, we always overestimate the change that will happen in the next two years and underestimate the change that will happen in the next 10. I think people have overestimated the depth of broadcast television too much. People think broadcast television is going to die, but the reality is 77 per cent of Australians watch broadcast, linear TV in the lounge room on the main screen.

Are the Millennials watching Foxtel?
I don’t think young people watch a lot TV.

Really? That’s all anybody under 30 in the B&T office ever appears to talk about, ha, ha!
If you look at the actual viewing numbers it increases as people get older and have families and it increases again as people retire. The Ys have never been a big chunk of our viewership.

You’re not worried about that?
I’m not saying there’s no need to worry, what I am saying is that there’s no need to overplay the shift in behaviour. They (the Ys) have always behaved that way. If you look at the 18-34 category then they’re the only group that’s moved to watching more (TV on) tablets and smartphones in a significant way, and they still watch more TV on a big screen as they do on a small screen than another television.

How much is it about the actual tech? What’s the next big thing in that space?
More and more people will consume ‘on demand’ content. That ability to start watching a show when you’re on the bus then walk into your home and have it appear on your big screen and start where you finished off and then go into the bedroom and watch the rest on your tablet. That behaviour is going to become really prominent.

We talk about watching everything on our smartphones. But have you done that? I might be showing my age here, but it’s a terrible viewing experience.
Nothing beats watching sport on the big screen. Everyone’s TV is getting bigger and bigger, it’s become a status symbol. But equally we’re watching content on our phones our tablets. That’s the real irony.

It’s been a lean time for the free-to-air players recently – eyeballs and ad dollars are both down. But they’re hardly going to sit by and do nothing. What will their next play be?
Yes, it’s hard for them. I’m on the board of Ten so I know first-hand the challenges. But Ten has done a great job. They’ve got strong franchises and obviously their ad sales go through MCN and they now have more of a consolidated set. And that’s important. Today you need a reason for people to buy your advertising and TV is still a really powerful medium for advertisers and it will be for some time to come. Equally they (the FTAs) need to find ways to get onto multiple screens and that’s a challenge for all of us.

Is the free-to-air business model stuffed? The overheads are massive when compared to something like a SVOD?
Yes, they need to transform their cost structures. From a cost perspective their cost structures are too high. And that’s because they’ve always done things a certain way and, yes, they need to take costs out of the way they do things. They need to get viewers onto the tablet and find better ways to monetise the content. Programmatic trading will ensure they move every single spot on the dial.

Lastly, someone in the B&T office asked me to ask you who wins (the Foxtel programme) RuPaul’s Drag Race? It’s really a trick question to see if you actually watch shows on Foxtel…
Ha, ha! I’d have absolutely no idea.

Latest News

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Aimee Buchanan

No Women in Media series would be complete without the irrepressible Aimee Buchanan. Read all her pressibles here.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
SBS To Broadcast All Of The World Cup Group Stage, As Optus Agrees To Reimburse Customers
  • Media

SBS To Broadcast All Of The World Cup Group Stage, As Optus Agrees To Reimburse Customers

SBS and Optus have “mutually agreed” that SBS will  broadcast the remainder of the World Cup group stage up until Friday 29 June. Optus had paid subscriber rights to many of the group stage games, yet technical faults have plagued its streaming service, infuriating viewers and forcing even the prime minister himself to intervene. SBS CEO, Michael Ebeid, said: “The FIFA World Cup is the absolute […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Watching tv and using remote control
  • Advertising
  • Media

GroupM Investment Forecast For Australia: TV On The Rise As Digital Slips

GroupM has updated its 2018 ad investment forecasts and released its initial 2019 outlook. GroupM predicts $24B in net new advertising investment this year, the best annual increment since the bounce back from the global recession in 2010 when $26B was added to investment. GroupM estimates total advertising investment will grow by 4.5 per cent this year […]

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run
  • Advertising
  • Campaigns

Indigenous Campaign Deemed Too Controversial By APN Media To Run

Aboriginal Victoria’s campaign in support of Australia’s first-ever treaty legislation, Deadly Questions, has been deemed too controversial to run by one of Australia’s leading outdoor media providers, APN Media. Online platform Deadly Questions provides a safe space for people to ask questions and have them answered by Aboriginal Victorians, to learn more about their cultures, […]

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia
  • Technology

Introducing: YouTube Music Australia

The wait is over! Starting today, YouTube Music is available to everyone in Australia, New Zealand, the U.S, Mexico and South Korea in addition to 12 new countries including Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Russia, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. Now fans around the world can find more of the music […]

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?
  • Opinion

Will PR Finally Earn Its Stripes At Cannes This Year?

In this guest post, Haystac’s national general manager, Jason Carnew (pictured below), says with all this talk of Cannes at this time of year, it’s a kindly reminder that the PR business needs to get its act together in terms of awards, work and judging… All eyes on are Cannes as some of the best […]

Opinion

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors
  • Campaigns

Ex-DDBer Unveils Designer Headscarves For Cancer Survivors

Two-times cancer survivor, Frankie Good Stuff Award Winner, ex-DDBer and founder of Bravery Co. Emily Somers has collaborated with a range of top-notch illustrators to produce Australia’s first range of designer headscarves for young cancer warriors. She is now crowdfunding $40,000 to produce the scarves and donate one to all the young women in their 20’s […]

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under
  • Advertising

New Advertising Platform Launches Down Under

Following its massive success in Europe, Asia and the UAE, the Polishoe concept, which brings a high-demand shoe polish service and HD digital advertising platform together, has landed in Australia.

Set for blue sky, different clouds icons, cloud shapes, labels, symbols, icons. Flat graphic vector elements
  • Technology

PubMatic Unveils Cloud for Publishers And Tech Companies

PubMatic has launched PubMatic Cloud for publishers and tech companies looking to implement and control their own programmatic technology. By accessing PubMatic’s technology, global infrastructure and demand connections on a platform-as-a-service (PaaS) basis, clients are able to achieve full transparency and achieve greater control over their programmatic monetization. As programmatic trading becomes mainstream, innovations such as […]

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Claudine Hall

The Women in Media Awards are back for 2018! To celebrate this wonderful fact, and to recognise some of the killer women in our industry, we’ve created a women in media series – and have profiled some pretty inspiring women so far. This week, we chat with Bauer Media head of trade marketing Claudine Hall. […]

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks
  • Campaigns

Cancer Council and Target Tradies Tackle On-The-Job Skin Cancer Risks

Workers on construction sites receive five to 10 times more UV exposure every year compared to indoor workers. Target Tradies and Cancer Council have announced the launch of a partnership to help educate Australian construction workers about the importance of being SunSmart at work. With evidence showing that outdoor workers receive five to 10 times […]

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  
  • Media

Arq Group Activates New Branding By Hulsbosch  

Arq Group has launched a new identity created by award-winning agency Hulsbosch, with the business rebranding from Melbourne IT to Arq. Previously known as Melbourne IT, the company was founded in 1996 as one of Melbourne University’s commercial ventures with the sole rights to manage .au domains in the early days of the Internet. Melbourne IT […]

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD
  • Campaigns
  • Media

Adshel Unveils ANZ Takeover Via PHD

ANZ, in partnership with PHD and Adshel, have taken to the streets with a total take-over of the entire Adshel Live network. For one hour, between 8am and 9am on Tuesday 19 June, ANZ is inviting commuters to download the new ANZ app by showing six different ways the app can help them manage their […]

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business
  • Media

Carat & Initiative Share The Spoils In WA Government’s $65 Million Media Business

IPG’s Initiative and Dentsu’s Carat have both been awarded a slice of the West Australian government’s $65 million spend. The government account is broken into two entities – campaign and non-campaign – each with its own agency roster. Carat has retained its long-standing position on the agency panel for all campaign work, which accounts for […]

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!
  • Marketing

A Golden Opportunity! Lucky Numbers For Sale!

In case you missed it last week, a very lucky phone number – 1800 80 80 80 – is up for sale. And it could be yours!

Partner Content

by Customer Connect

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views
  • Technology

The AppNexus Marketplace Launches Guaranteed Views

AppNexus, the world’s leading independent advertising technology company, today announced the launch of Guaranteed Views, a marketplace product that changes the way advertising is bought and sold on the open internet. Guaranteed Views enables marketers and agencies to pay only for ads that are measured as viewable and is the first programmatic product that enables 100% viewable buying at scale outside of Facebook and Google.

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore
  • Media

Women In Media Profile: Kirsty Bloore

Bereft of any Monday motivation? Let today's Women in Media profile be like low-current electric waves to the brain.

by B&T Magazine

B&T Magazine
Dentsu Aegis Network Predicts Australian Ad Spend Growth Of 2.8%
  • Marketing

Dentsu Aegis Network Predicts Australian Ad Spend Growth Of 2.8%

• Ad spend in Australia forecast to grow by 2.8% in 2018 , with main drivers of growth in Government, Retail, Finance and Gambling sectors. • Global advertising spend to grow by 3.9%, revised up from 3.6% in January 2018. • Digital to overtake TV for the first time, to reach 38.4% of global share (TV 35.5%). In 21 out of the 59 markets tracked, digital will be the leading advertising channel in 2018. • One quarter (25.2%) of global ad spend will be delivered through mobile devices for the first time.

Pac Mags Appoints New Client Strategy Director For Victoria
  • Media

Pac Mags Appoints New Client Strategy Director For Victoria

Seven West Media’s Pacific Magazines has announced the appointment of Emma Baston as client strategy director for Victoria. Baston has worked in senior digital media buying and planning roles at various agencies including UM Australia, Cummins&Partners and MindShare, with exposure across the strategy, communications and creative process. She has also worked at Facebook in a […]

Seamless pattern of a crowd of many different people profile heads. Vector background.
  • Media

SBS Launches Diverse Communities Content Initiative

SBS has launched the Short-Form Content Initiative, a commitment to providing increased opportunities for Australian creatives from diverse communities through the commissioning and production of content for SBS On Demand. SBS has partnered with five of Australia’s screen agencies, including Film Victoria, Create NSW, Screen Queensland, Screenwest and South Australian Film Corporation. The initiative aims […]

BIG W Unveils Toy Mania Via M&C Saatchi
  • Campaigns

BIG W Unveils Toy Mania Via M&C Saatchi

BIG W, the home for families, fun and entertainment, has today launched its annual toy sale campaign – Toy Mania. Running until 11 July, the campaign showcases the frenzy and hysteria that comes with the BIG W toy sale. It also highlights that buying toys can be just as fun as playing with them and […]

Datorama Launches AI-Supported Data Visualisation Tool ‘Data Canvas’
  • Technology

Datorama Launches AI-Supported Data Visualisation Tool ‘Data Canvas’

Datorama, a global technology company, today announced the launch of Data Canvas, a suite of new data visualisation capabilities within its Marketing Intelligence platform. Datorama Data Canvas leverages the power of artificial intelligence (AI) in a brand new way — to help marketers create expert-designed dashboards to tell compelling, data-driven stories. Datorama’s previous AI releases have […]