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Foxtel loss prompts job cuts

Australia’s dominant pay TV platform Foxtel is laying off dozens of staffers after making a financial loss in the quarter ending September 30, which it blamed primarily on the decision to close SVoD service Presto.

Peter Tonagh

Peter Tonagh

Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh flagged up a number of structural changes including removing areas of duplication and overlap, clarifying reporting lines and ceasing non-core activities.

As a result, Tonagh said, some employees were notified this week they are being made redundant.

“It is always difficult when friends and colleagues leave a business in this way,” he told C21. “We are talking to all affected employees and where there are redeployment possibilities we will explore them, otherwise we will provide career transition advice and support.”

Upwards of 100 staff are affected, including senior executives in programing and marketing, C21 understands. That’s in addition to the redundancies at Presto, which followed Foxtel’s announcement it is ending its joint venture with Seven West Media and shutting the service in January.

News Corp, which owns 50% of Foxtel, revealed this week that Presto had just 130,000 paying subscribers at the end of September. Foxtel had 2.9 million, up just 1% on the previous year, despite cable and satellite churn jumping from 10.1% to 15.5% due to the rise in customers taking no-contract offers.

Foxtel incurred a loss of US$11m in the quarter although revenues rose by 5% to US$618m.

Foxtel’s earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation rose by just US$3m to US$143m.

Meanwhile, News Corp Australia said it would seek to make A$40m (US$30.6m) in cuts this financial year, including a “modest redundancy programme.”

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