Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh appears to be taking a pragmatic approach to the CBS takeover of TEN, saying it will be good for the industry, despite their own shares in the network to be effectively written off.
“The one thing I know having spoken to the CBS team is they don’t see this as short-term investment to flip the business,” he said yesterday.
“They see it as a long-term investment to build the business. That can only be good for the industry.”
On the question of Foxtel’s 14% stake -for which it paid $77 million for in 2015- he added: “We’re not happy about that, but there’s nothing we can do about that.” Ouch.
The arrival of CBS All Access will also elbow into the streaming space, but with most its its titles already sewn up here with various partners (Netflix, SBS, Stan etc.) it appears to be limited competition for now.
Talk of SKY News usurping TEN News now seems unlikely.
The question of MCN is a significant one, given it currently represents TEN and Foxtel in sales. With News Corp likely to view CBS as a competitor will it mean a new sales division back at TEN and if so, how quickly can that be mounted? MCN will begin its negotiations with advertisers next month, and the CBS deal is not expected to be finalised until October.
Meanwhile other questions hang over the merger of Foxtel, headed by Tonagh, with FOX Sports headed by Patrick Delany.
“The two current CEOs work side-by-side on everything and we’ll continue to work side-by-side on everything until a decision is made by shareholders,” Tonagh has told Fairfax.