Arts & Leisure

Cable channel Star World to increase local content as it rebrands as Fox Life

Posted on October 18, 2016

BID GOODBYE to Star World and say hello to Fox Life as Fox Networks Group in the Philippines is reintroducing the general entertainment channel with a new name and new local programs.

“For us, Fox has become such a huge brand internationally -- globally -- while Star [World] is a huge brand in Asia. So we felt like we needed to align with our global direction of using the halo of the Fox brand to be able to... push ourselves even further,” Jude Turcuato, SVP and general manager of Fox Networks Group for the Philippines, said during the launch night on Oct. 11 at Valkyrie in Bonifacio Global City.

“It’s like our next step: from just Asia we wanted to be associated with our global brand,” he added.

But despite the name change, Mr. Turcuato said that much -- including programming -- will stay the same.

“As far as changes is concerned, the whole idea of the channel being aspirational, being geared towards females and wanting the best big-time programming as possible will not change. I think the association with Fox will probably bring more value into desire of the people to watch the shows,” he explained before adding that the move “will make it more clear to everybody that... it is even more of a global brand now” and that it won’t affect the existing agreements they have with cable providers.

Fox Life, as a channel, has been in existence since 2004 in Italy, while select European and Latin American countries followed suit starting 2005 including Bulgaria and Turkey. In Asia, the channel has been available in South Korea since 2008 and in India starting 2014.

“It’s just that a long time ago the Fox brand in the Philippines wasn’t big yet so Star [World] was so much bigger than FOX [as] Fox only launched the channel six years ago.” Mr. Turcuato said of the decision.

Fox Channel Asia entered the Philippines in January 2010 and established a local office in the same year, but Fox channels (which spans more than 30 channels) have been in the country since the 1990s.

“We didn’t want to get rid of the Star brand because of the strength of the brand but now I feel like it might be time because of the growth of the Fox brand globally,” he added.

Together with the new name, Mr. Turcuato said that they are hoping that “there will be more ‘same-day as the US’ (releases),” but he assured that there “will be even more high-end local productions as well.” He said that while he isn’t sure how many local productions other channels under the Fox umbrella will have, he said that there will be “three or four” for Fox Life.

Included in the local production lineup is a wedding show, She Said Yes, “which reveals the magic behind some of the Philippines’ most beautiful ceremonies,” said a company press release.

Other local shows include “on-air capsules” hosted by the “country’s top social media influencers” such as Ingrid Chua of the Bag Hag Diaries and Erwan Heussaff of The Fat Kid Inside which will be shown alongside a show titled Taste Travels by Cheryl Tiu, a multimedia personality.

“We’re in a good position to go deeper into the culture of the Philippines with a global brand,” Mr. Turcuato said.

Aside from documentary-style series and reality shows, Mr. Turcuato said that the group is also looking at producing a scripted series.

“We’re looking at producing a scripted series, that’s our next step. Much of the local productions were documentary-style and scripted really [is something] we haven’t touched because it’s impossible to produce really well... it’s expensive and really only Hollywood and some European countries do it well. So we’re going to give it a shot with Fox Filipino,” he said, before adding that while they have the script and that the series will be taking a stab at the horror-suspense genre, they haven’t started shooting but that he thinks they can roll it out 10 months from now. -- Zsarlene B. Chua