Foxtel takes Arena

By David Knox on September 21, 2007 / Filed Under News 1

A curious announcement today will see Foxtel take over the Arena Channel, currently managed by XYZnetworks in Sydney.

Foxtel operates several channels including FOX8, Bio, Comedy Channel, Crime & Investigation, W and History Channel. It will add Arena to its domain from October 1.

XYZ channels include Lifestyle, [V], MAX and The Weather Channel.

The strategy behind the move is less obvious in today’s announcement. Is it part of a move to shift Arena to higher packages? Was the Channel under-performing under current management? Foxtel has claimed Arena as a booming entertainment channel with programmes such as Project Runway and Entourage, it views the acquisition of Arena as adding to its entertainment-driven channels.

UPDATE: Foxtel’s Brian Walsh has since been quoted as wanting a new, locally commissioned series for Arena 07/08.

Press Release:

XYZnetworks has signed an agreement to transfer management of the ARENA subscription television channel to the FOXTEL Owned & Operated Group, from October 1, 2007.

XYZnetworks is a joint venture between FOXTEL and AUSTAR and owns, operates and/or distributes 11 subscription television channels.

The ARENA agreement was announced today by XYZnetworks’ Chief Executive Bruce Mann and FOXTEL’s Executive Director of Television & Marketing Brian Walsh.

ARENA is a general entertainment channel which has been distributed by FOXTEL and AUSTAR since 1995. Under XYZ’s management ARENA has enjoyed considerable growth, securing robust advertising revenues and exclusive, award-winning programming such as Entourage and Project Runway.

FOXTEL currently owns and operates a variety of STV channels including FOX8, FOX Classics, Bio., W., THE COMEDY CHANNEL, The History Channel, Crime & Investigation Network, FOXTEL Box Office and Main Event Television.

With extensive concentration in general entertainment and wide ranging relationships with the major studios, FOXTEL is primed to maximise ARENA’s potential.

“ARENA will evolve and develop with programming tailor made for its core audience of 25-39 females. It is a channel with great heritage and room to grow and I feel confident, that as a part of our team, ARENA will achieve outstanding results for its shareholders,” Mr Walsh said.

“The general entertainment sector is one of the most intensely competitive in the business. FOXTEL is well placed to manage an expanded portfolio of GE channels, securing quality content and offering viewers a broader variety of programs across the platform.”

XYZnetworks will continue to specialise and dominate the other channel genres in which it operates.

Mr Mann said: “XYZ will keep producing and delivering exceptional quality lifestyle, food, weather and music channels for our passionate, highly involved audiences.”

Of the 10 remaining channel brands in its portfolio, XYZ owns and operates seven: The LifeStyle Channel, LifeStyle FOOD, Channel [V], [V]2, MAX. Country Music Channel and The Weather Channel. XYZnetworks also distributes the global powerhouse Discovery Channel and partners with kids mega brands Nickelodeon and Nick Jr.

One Comment »

  1. Neil September 21, 2007 at 10:39 pm -

    god bloody hope Foxtel dosnt go and again rip off it’s customer by making Arena a extra channel….who in their right mind would pay extra for it anyway? Arena is more or less just re-runs of Will & Grace,Friends & The OC
    if Foxtel wants to go lose customers, its going the right way about it

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