More redundancies are expected at News Corp after it announced Fox Sports News will be merged into the company that produces Sky News, a 24-hour subscription station featuring commentators such as Andrew Bolt, Peter Van Onselen and Alan Jones.
News Corp will consolidate production and Fox Sports video content will be broadcast across more channels, including Australia Channel. Its news content will still be syndicated throughout News Corp’s online news sites and newspapers.
Fox Sports CEO Patrick Delany (left) and Foxtel chief executive Peter Tonagh. Photo: Getty Images
Fox Sports staff will be given the opportunity to move to Australia News Channel, which produces Sky News, although an unknown number of redundancies are expected.
News Corp owns both companies after taking over 100 per cent of Australia News Channel in December 2016 by buying out 33 per cent shares held by Seven Network and Shertip Pty Ltd, a wholly owned by Nine Network subsidiary.
News Corp is merging production of Sky News and Fox Sports News. The move will see more sports news on Sky and will likely lead to redundancies. Photo: Sky News
In Sydney Fox Sports will move production from its offices in Artarmon, to the nearby Australia News Channel offices in Macquarie Park. In Melbourne staff will soon share the facilities at the Fox Sports headquarters in South Melbourne and the Sky News premises in Southbank.
ANC already produces Sky News and Australia’s Public Affairs Channel, A-PAC. The merger is expected to be completed within three months.
Fox Sports chief executive Patrick Delaney said the sports team will benefit from ANC’s “state of the art facilities”.
“The strengthened Fox Sports News Channel will continue to provide video content for Fox Sports’ website, the Fox Sports App and social channels with both teams working closely together.”
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Australia News Channel chief executive Angelos Frangopoulos said Sky produces “more news and public affairs programming” than five free-to-air networks combined.
“The addition of Fox Sports News to our operations will create a groundbreaking centralised national video hub which will service a range of 24-hour news channels across all platforms,” he said on Monday.
“Today’s announcement will see a further investment by ANC in live Australian content. We are a business built on quality journalism and we welcome Fox Sports News into the fold.”
Meanwhile, neither Mr Frangopoulos or a Network Ten spokesman would comment about ongoing industry speculation that ANC has submitted a proposal to provide news production for channel Ten. Outsourcing news could potentially save Ten money, which last week posted a $2.4 million earnings loss for the first half of its financial year.
Ten investor Lazard Asset Management revealed it has sold down its 10 per cent stake in the network to 8.75 per cent. Lazard was buying shares up until Christmas, but started selling shares in late March, when the share price has been under intense negative pressure. Its last sale was 1.6 million shares at an average price of 37.3 cents on April 27, the day Ten’s board revealed concerns about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.
Ten shares closed at 23 cents, giving it a market value of $85 million.