Ross Crowley departs Foxtel amid 200 lay-offs and 140 stand-downs
Foxtel director of content Ross Crowley is among the 200 Foxtel employees who have been made redundant as the company copes with the pandemic, in particular the loss of live Australian sports.
Crowley, who spent a total of 25 years with the pay TV platform and oversaw Foxtel Originals and Foxtel Movies, bears no ill will.
“Foxtel has made a rational commercial decision for the future strength of their business,” he tells IF. “They have to transform to meet the new world.”
Most of the 200 lay-offs out of a total staff of 2,800 were at Fox Sports and other production-related areas. In addition 140 employees, mostly at Fox Sports, have been stood down until June 30, while others have been asked to reduce hours.
Majority-owned by News Corp., Foxtel had already stopped hiring, released all casuals, contractors and freelancers in non-critical roles and announced a shut down over Easter for everyone who is not essential to maintaining services.
In an email to staff CEO Patrick Delany said: “The actions we have had to take this week make it one of the toughest in Foxtel’s history
“Restructuring and changing the way the company works is not an easy thing to do at any time. But with the impact of COVID-19, the only option is to act now to ensure we ride out the current situation and remain strong to compete with local and global media companies.
“These changes are even more difficult when we are not in the building together to speak to people face to face. I apologise to those impacted that the restrictions have meant your leaders have had to talk to you by video or by phone.
“The government’s COVID-19 restrictions are seeing major challenges for us, including the broadcast and streaming of live sport. And looking ahead, the economic outlook for Australia is deteriorating and our continued transformation will become even more important.”
On a positive note, Delany added: “On the entertainment side, the work we have done to give our customers more content and ensure our programming captures their imagination has been extraordinary. The strong ratings highlight how valuable our customers are finding this as they spend more time at home.”
As for Crowley, he will take time for a “reset” and may look outside the broadcast industry where he has spent most of his career.
But he is confident of one thing: “When the pandemic is over there will be a huge appetite for new and original content. Australian creators and storytellers are well placed to satisfy the need for English-language programming.”