Has Foxtel just delivered the kiss of life to Channel Ten?
“You only need one Alan Bond in your lifetime,” said Kerry Packer of the rise and fall of Channel Nine during the Eighties and Nineties. That was a time when free-to-air (FTA) television stations, along with the daily metropolitan newspapers, ruled the rivers of gold that flowed from advertisers desperate to engage consumers.
Fast forward to 2015 and the media landscape is remarkably different.
While channels Nine and Seven have been duking it out in a ratings war for the last three or four years, Ten has slumped from being the darling of the youth market to near junk status.
With a range of investors including Lachlan Murdoch and Gina Reinhardt, you could be forgiven for thinking all the required knowledge and advice might be on tap, however the company has fumbled through a number of CEOs and ratings disasters to remain even less attractive to viewers than the Government-funded ABC.
Curious then that Foxtel has decided to dip its toe into the FTA market – especially given the obvious conflict with their preferred business model. Mind you, it was done at an exceptionally low price of 15c per share (half the price of Friday’s close) to securing a 15% stake is the battling broadcaster. Shareholders, who might be alarmed at the basement price for their current shares, will be able to participate in the capital raising exercise, with another 15% available at the same price Foxtel paid.
The benefit for Channel 10? Well, $154 million dollars of desperately needed funds is the main thing, but having a nother blue-chip investor at the table will only help to secure it’s furture as a viable free-to-air broadcaster into the future.
However, as the media landscape continues to shift as a frenetic pace, the main question will be this: A broadcaster of what? Rumours continue to circulate that Sky news on Foxtel is no longer a viable concern, and that Ten might be primed to be the commercial alternative to ABC News 24.
According to the statistics, 3.7 million Australians 14+ (19%) watched Foxtel or Foxtel Go (but excluding Presto) in an average seven day period in the 12 months to March 2015.
Only just over half of these Foxtel viewers (1.9 million) were already also watching Network Ten, via TV, website or app. The remainder of Ten’s total audience (8.5 million people) is therefore a new addition to Foxtel’s reach—and the reach of its advertising arm the Multi Channel Network (MCN).
This gives Foxtel-Ten a combined audience of 12.2 million, or 63% of Australians 14+ each week.
Australians who watch Foxtel and/or Network Ten in an average week:
Only time will tell, but for the meantime, it looks like Family Feud and Masterchef are safe for the time being.
The full release from Channel Ten is available here