SMI: Ten's agency bookings slide 26%

By By David Blight | 16 October 2012

Network Ten saw media agency bookings drop 26.1% year-on-year in September to just $48 million, amid lacklustre ratings and concerns surrounding its sale of Eye.

The struggling network has been beleaguered with low ratings and declining revenue for some time. In August, Standard Media Index (SMI) figures showed the broadcaster's ad bookings through media agencies dropped $30 million or 42% year-on-year.

While September's figures are not quite as bad, a 26% drop to just 20.3% market share is cause for concern nonetheless.

Meanwhile, Ten Network Holdings saw its share price drop 5.4% yesterday amid reports that the company's sale of its outdoor operation Eye to Champ Private Equity – which owns Ooh!Media – was in trouble.

Ten released a statement to the ASX yesterday saying its talks with Champ were “ongoing”, but sources in the industry have been speculating that Champ might not be impressed with Eye's forward bookings.

Ten has been struggling in the ratings department for some time. Yesterday, a number of fast-tracked US shows failed to gain the traction Ten had hoped for, while other shows such as Everybody Dance Now, The Shire and I Will Survive failed to hit ratings targets.

In comparison, Seven's agency bookings increased 12.9% to $103 million in September, taking the company to 43.92% market share, according to SMI figures. Nine jumped 6.1% to $84.5 million, bringing it up to 35.78% share.

One source suggested that the AFL and NRL finals series on Seven and Nine respectively would have been a boon for the networks, while Ten would have suffered for not having them.

One source said: “Ten is in a really tough spot. The network will have to do some substantial reinvention. The upfronts next week will be absolutely vital.”

Ten will reveal is financial results on Thursday this week, while next week it will show the market its programming strategy for 2013.

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