It’s the end of an era.
Already facing debts of $2.5 billion, and with customers cancelling subscriptions following the shuttering of live sporting events across the globe, pay-TV provider Foxtel has axed its home-grown music channels and cut 70 jobs this month.
Music channels MAX, CMC (Country Music Channel) and [V] will cease on June 30, putting an end to the company’s long history in supporting and championing Australian music.
In place of the axed music channels, Foxtel has revealed a new partnership with ViacomCBS, revealing the new agreement will provide subscribers with a “broader variety of music genres”, including a new kid-friendly music channel, all of which will be locally programmed.
From July 1, the new-look music line-up will cover rock and pop, contemporary and country, charts and dance, urban R&B, easy listening and the all-time classics.
The music channel collection will by spearheaded by MTV Hits, together with MTV Classic, Club MTV, CMT (Country Music Television) and the brand-new Nick Music – kid-safe and family-friendly music video channel for four-15 year olds featuring chart-topping hits by the world’s most popular artists. The new agreement also includes the renewal of channels Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and MTV.
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It is with a heavy heart that I learned Foxtel is closing their Australian based music channels in a few weeks. 70 jobs are gone, and 25 years of supporting the music industry in this country – not to mention incubating and launching a massive wave of TV talent both on camera and off camera, people who have taken their careers far and wide since the early days at Wharf 8. Not long ago I found this letter, dated 28/3/99 – from Tim “Dangerman” Daley the exec producer of By Demand to a 24 year old Andrew G nervously waiting to leave SAFM and start a new career in TV. Read it. This is what intention setting is. This is what enrolling new staff in a greater vision is. This is what bold vision with a drive for execution is. This is manifesting in essence. Everything Tim wanted to happen happened, and so so much more. By a Demand became What U Want and that was a powerhouse of a show that did extraordinary things. Tim went on to start MAX and CMC – it’s fair to say he’s done his part in championing music in this country – as well as championing the people who worked for him. Sometimes the right combination of people come together under the right leaders and magical things happen. I’m honoured to be a small part of the legacy that those leaders built. Thanks Barry, thanks Jacquie, thanks Ben and thank you Tim. I hope one day to be the kind of leaders you were for us for someone else. We worked our balls off. We partied hard and then we worked some more. It was incredible fun. Thanks Channel [v]. For everything.
In a statement, Foxtel chief commercial officer Amanda Laing said: “We are delighted to forge this new partnership with ViacomCBS which reaffirms Foxtel’s commitment to music television designed for Australian audiences.
“The agreement continues the refresh of Foxtel’s channel line-up and provides our customers with an even greater choice of music genres. ViacomCBS are global leaders in music television with a long-standing commitment to Australian music and we are pleased to continue building on our relationship with them with this historic new arrangement.”
Alongside the removal of these music channels, Foxtel is also making a further 70 staff redundant as part of a restructuring.
These redundancies affect Foxtel and Fox Sports’ marketing and creative divisions and are the third major round of job cuts to take place at the business this year, following their most recent cuts last month.
“These are changes we had to make to face up to the impacts of COVID-19 on our business and a very different future for everyone involved in the media, entertainment and sporting industries,” a Foxtel spokesman revealed to the Sydney Morning Herald last week.
“The changes in marketing and creative reflect a new way of working following the merger of the Fox Sports and Foxtel teams last year that is now seeing us reduce our internal creative spend and centralise, outsource or consolidate some marketing functions.”
This article originally appeared on Forte.
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