According to The Australian, FOX Sports Australia will start charging for access to its website as part of an overhaul of the business that will also see new shows added to its pay-TV channel line-up and greater integration with the other digital and print assets of owner News Corp Australia.
The website will be added to the News+ digital subscription package, joining the sites belonging to News’s metropolitan tabloids, Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, Melbourne’s Herald Sun, Adelaide Advertiser, Brisbane’s Courier-Mail and Perth’s Sunday Times. Subscription costs AUD$1 for the first 28 days of access and then AUD$4 a week.
News gained full ownership of FOX Sports in 2012 as part of a deal that saw it acquire 50 percent of pay-TV provider Foxtel by buying James Packer’s 25 percent stake.
“Now that FOX Sports is fully owned by News Corp there’s the opportunity to spread all of the journalistic resources of the whole of the company from the mastheads, right across to the television sports reportage, through all our websites,” Fox Sports head Patrick Delany said.
“What is clearly an opportunity now is to join forces with the other masthead sites and create a sports lovers’ site that has rich video and journalism.
“In order for us to do that we have to go subscription. It can’t be supported by an ad model and it doesn’t work if all of us are not under a subscription model.”
Content on the site and on the FOX Sports News channel will be beefed up to include more breaking news, analyses and opinions from reporters employed by News’s mastheads around the country.
It has been reported that originally the newspaper reporters were to have been relocated from the newsroom to FOX Sports headquarters, but that plan was later shelved. Instead, TV cameras are being installed in the metropolitan newsrooms to allow reporters to broadcast from their existing locations. FOX Sports laid the groundwork for the integration last month when it laid off 22 people.
“There will be far more crossing over to all of the masthead newsrooms, far more inclusion of all of the sports journalists that News Corp has around the country, as well as our own news-making and breaking capabilities.
“The Fox Sports website will be getting access to all of the News Corp journalism as the News Corp sites get access to all of the Fox Sports video.”
Under the control of sports news head Gary Burchett, plans for on-air changes at the FOX Sports News channel were “advanced” and included new sets, new personalities, new graphics and “new attitude”, Delany said. To increase its lure to subscribers, the website will also add premium video content such as live streaming of FOX Sports News and Wallabies matches, extended match highlights from the Ashes Test cricket series, A-League football and English Premier League football and on-demand weekly entertainment programmes.