Waiting and watching - all eyes on MCN

Pippa Chambers
By Pippa Chambers | 2 July 2015
Anthony Fitzgerald

While remaining tight-lipped on the finer ad sales details following news of the Foxtel, MCN and Ten triple threat, MCN says its new sales proposition will be an over-arching approach which is likely to “redefine the way TV is bought and sold”, rather than being limited to simply cross-network bundles or packages.

Thanks to Foxtel taking a 15% stake in Ten Network earlier this month, combined with Ten Network taking a 24.9% stake in MCN, Foxtel's advertising business MCN has firmly sured up its spot as a trailblazer in the TV ad selling space, particularly when it comes to automated trading.

Speaking to AdNews after the deal, MCN’s CEO Anthony Fitzgerald said while there will be no immediate changes and it’s too early to say how future arrangements will look, the new combined MCN-Ten sales operation will employ around 450 staff.

“People remain our priority at this time and rather than focusing on cost efficiencies, we are focused on providing the optimum sales representation to the market,” Fitzgerald said.

He said the vast majority of the current positions are expected to move to MCN and that a “number of sales positions will remain at Ten”,  – suggesting that while it’s too early to firm up exact individual roles or employment arrangements, that cuts will be made to Ten’s sales team. 

“We should be in a position to announce what those changes and the new sales structure looks like in a few weeks time,” Fitzgerald said.

MD group investment and partnerships at Dentsu Aegis’ Amplifi ANZ, Paul Brooks, said for media agencies it means that there are four strong TV companies which is a good thing for clients and agencies.

“The more interesting space is how quickly MCN can migrate the platform, technology and capability across to the FTA platform. Their investment ahead of the curve could well put them in a very interesting position and seriously challenge the big two FTA networks with what is now a unique offering.”

Fitzgerald said it’s too early to speculate on how the combined MCN-Ten sales proposition will look exactly, but the new sales proposition will be an over-arching approach which is likely to “redefine the way TV is bought and sold”, rather than be limited to a bundles or packages approach per se.

He also confirmed that MCN is looking to integrate Ten into Multiview “as soon as possible” as part of its service offering under the sales representation agreement.

Ten will have access to the benefits of the MCN Quantium partnership and in what Fitzgerald said is likely to be another “industry first”, MCN will also look to integrate Ten in to the MCN Programmatic TV and Landmark platform over time.

Omnicom Media Group CEO ANZ, Leigh Terry, agreed the go to market strategy will be key and that where clients/agencies take a two- partner deal approach to create a tension in negotiation - if Ten/MCN is the first deal done, then it makes it an interesting dynamic that channels Seven and Nine are then fighting each other for the remaining spot.

ZenithOptimedia CEO Ian Perrin said the deal is likely be the first in a number of consolidations in the media sector.

“Where there will be a major shift is in regards to the consolidation under the MCN sales organisation, which obviously becomes a scale player,” Perrin said.

“Their history has been in selling premium, niche audiences, whether that be across subscription TV, digital and mobile, so having FTA TV will materially change their approach to market.”

“Overnight they have created first mover advantage in this space, and will certainly ensure there is a greater momentum towards a programmatic TV marketplace.

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