Chris Taylor to Head NBC Universal TV Operations in Australia

Chris Taylor

Taylor comes to NBC Universal as the company readies to launch Syfy and relaunch Universal Channel Down Under.

SYDNEY -- NBC Universal Television has appointed local media and telecom executive Chris Taylor to head its channels and distribution business in Australia, in the newly created role of vice president, international television.

Taylor comes to NBCU via local movie streaming service Quickflix, where he was CEO, and Telstra Media, where he led the introduction of IPTV in Australia. He also has been the CEO of free-to-air broadcaster Prime Television in New Zealand.

He will work across Universal Networks International (UNI) and International TV Distribution (TVD), with a remit to “align UNI and TVD strategies to maximize revenues and build a strong market presence,” NBCU said in a statement.

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In the role, Taylor will lead commercial negotiations, foster relationships with platforms and key customers, develop new platform relationships and drive new channel launches and rebrands. Based in Sydney, he will report to Christine Fellowes, managing director of Universal Networks International, Asia Pacific, and Justin Che, senior vice president and sales liaison of Asia Pacific. He joins the company on Nov. 25.

“Chris joins us at an exciting juncture for UNI in Australia and New Zealand. In Australia, we recently completed brand refreshes for E! and Style and renewed our distribution with Foxtel, securing basic carriage for our transformed Universal Channel -- our flagship channel brand -- and the launch of the global channel brand, Syfy,” Fellowes said.

“Our ambition is to develop our channels into multiplatform, entertainment and lifestyle brands that lead in their categories -- and Chris’ ability to manage high-performing teams to deliver innovative campaigns will be critical to this achievement,” she added.

Taylor’s appointment comes as the business readies to expand its suite of channels on offer Down Under, with the launch of Syfy in January and the relaunch of Universal Channel on the Foxtel pay TV platform.

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Those channels will replace SciFi and general entertainment channel TV1, which were operated by The TV1 Partnership that consisted of Sony Pictures Television, 21st Century Fox Television and NBC Universal.

UNI also operates Style, E! and 13th Street in this market. E! also airs in New Zealand.

At the same time, ITV Studios Global Entertainment announced that it has renewed its multiyear first-look output deal with Universal Networks International (UNI) in Australia, for pay television in the territory.

As part of the output agreement, UNI has acquired the Australian premiere rights to Vera series three; Case Histories series two; Murdoch Mysteries series seven; and Above Suspicion series four, for its 13th Street channel. It also has acquired all previous series of Vera, Murdoch Mysteries, Above Suspicion, Agatha Christie’s Poirot and Agatha Christie’s Marple.