As Foxtel’s Director of Marketing and Television, Brian Walsh has an enormous influence over the ever-growing industry of pay television in Australia. When it comes to TV, Walsh has a wealth of skills and experience. Back in the eighties he re-invented Network Ten by launching ‘Neighbours’, turning Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan, amongst others, into household names. He also re-launched the rugby league with a lavish advertising campaign that still lingers on in many memories, starring Tina Turner and players Wayne Pearce and Andrew Ettingshausen.
Often referred to as TV's "Mr Fixit", Walsh’s opinion is sought by many and he is ultimately responsible for Foxtel’s programming, on-air personality and communications. He’s been with the pay TV giant right from the beginning. In 2005 he told Sydney Morning Herald’s Michael Idato that his fondest memory was the day he rolled up his sleeves and carried boxes of one-inch broadcast video tapes of ‘Dallas’ (the first program to arrive from Foxtel's program suppliers) from the dock to the tape library. "It was extraordinary," said Walsh. "It was a wonderful, wonderful time."
Over a decade ago convincing Australians to pay for television seemed akin to selling ice to the Eskimos, however since its arrival in October 1995 Foxtel has flourished, pushing one time rivals Galaxy and Optus Vision well and truly out of the race. Now, twelve years on, Foxtel directly employs over 1,900 people and a further 1,400 are indirectly engaged by the company in sales and installation roles nationally.
And even though Walsh wears two very large hats – both Marketing and Television – hats that once resided on the heads of two individuals, he still manages to take the company from strength to strength. As Walsh once told B&T magazine, “I’m a guy who lives and breathes television, and I am a firm believer that content is king and that is what’s going to drive our business.”
His support of three seasons of the Logie award winning television drama ‘Love My Way’ is one example of how his influence has lifted the standard and perception of locally produced cable programming in this country. "Love My Way [was] truly a defining Australian drama, one of the finest series ever produced in this country, and we are delighted that it [was] exclusive subscription television property," Walsh told the Herald last year.
By Christian Taylor
The Same Same 25 is an annual celebration of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians. They are publicly nominated, and chosen by a panel of community leaders.
For the past two years, the announcement of the 25 Most Influential Gay and Lesbian Australians has attracted widespread national media attention and focused on the achievements and influence of a varied and inspirational group of people.