More Changes with Foxtels Music Channels

Staff Writer

Foxtel’s General Manager Music Channels and Head of Digital, Rebecca Batties, has tendered her resignation.

The news of the recent departure – which was buried at the bottom of a press release about Foxtel’s consolidated Arts & Music division – was confirmed to TMN this Thursday morning as the first time Foxtel had publicly made the announcement.

The release stated Batties had resigned to “pursue other business interests”.

“I would like to acknowledge Rebecca’s terrific contribution to the company and wish her well with her next endeavour,” said Brian Walsh, Foxtel Executive Director of Television.

Batties’ exit earlier this month makes way for incoming Group Channel Manager, Fraser Stark. Stark previously held the role of Channel Manager for Foxtel Arts.

The news follows the closure of Channel [V] in February, as well as a long-standing feud with Universal Music Australia.

Foxtel has undergone a major shake-up since its decision to axe Channel [V] from their lineup of music channels. The media company also faced programming issues as a result of a stoush with Universal Music Australia. No Universal artists were being played on the media company’s five music channels between the months of November 2015 and August 2016 before an agreement was finally reached earlier this month.

Speaking to TMN in February in regards to Foxtel’s closure of Channel [V], past presenter and current Triple M presenter Jane Gazzo said, “It was shocking but not surprising. I kind of heard that the leadership at Channel [V] hadn’t been great over the last 18 months and the direction was going all over the place as far as the brand was concerned.”

With Stark’s new administration set to commence on Monday August 29, the overhaul of Foxtel’s music channel group will feature a new broadcast Arts and Music division for its owned and operated brands within the Foxtel Networks Australia portfolio.

The company’s consolidation efforts will see the Foxtel Arts channel and Foxtel’s lineup of music channels – [V] HITS, MAX, Foxtel Smooth and CMC – managed under the newly created Foxtel Arts & Music banner, headed by Stark.

Brian Walsh, Foxtel Executive Director of Television, spoke of the network’s revamp:

“To further strengthen and consolidate our position, it made sense to combine our brands under one group. Foxtel’s music and arts channels are a key strategic content strand and we’re the only ones doing it in the television space in this country.

“Fraser Stark has done an exceptional job building and refining Foxtel Arts since its launch last year,” he said. “His energy, imagination and commercial approach will build on the exceptional talents of the Arts and Music team to provide a complete music and live performance offering.”

A Foxtel spokesperson played down the concerns over the company’s audience retention following the closure of Channel [V], citing the recent restructure as a suitable move to maintain their audience and continue delivering a high standard of content.

“The recent re-fresh of [V] Hits is delivering very strong ratings and customer engagement with the younger demographic, who love the non-stop music format,” the spokesperson told TMN.

“Foxtel is Australia’s only television provider providing the local music and arts industries with curated locally produced channels and we will continue to do so with the same passion, enthusiasm and excitement which we’ve been doing since 1995”

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