10 Upfronts - The sparkling magic ruby slippers of Australian content

Chris Pash
By Chris Pash | 16 October 2020
Amanda Keller as Dorothy at the 10 Upfronts.

ViacomCBS’s 10 used a beautifully put together Wizard of OZ skit at its 2021 Upfronts to position its content magic and remind audiences that there’s no place like home.

The Living Room crew played a compelling introduction to the 10 Upfronts. Amanda Keller, an Australian version of Dorothy, drifted off to a new land: “I've a feeling we're not in Pyrmont anymore.”

And so the content journey started, a local Australian vision leveraging 10’s strong under 50s audience.

There’s an argument that these presentations are too good, says Ben Willee, general manager and media director, Spinach.

“It’s virtually impossible to watch one and think anything but ‘Wow they are going to have a great year’,” he says.

“Emotive, colourful, entertaining and more celebrity cameos than a birdcage marquee on Cup Day.

“However, people watch shows, not networks. A good upfront is about building trust so media people are prepared to make a commitment to the collection of shows that is the network.

“Looks like 10/ViacomCBS will build on their successes in 2019 and bring plenty of good quality content to our screens in 2020, taking a few risks with new shows along the way. A sound strategy.”

Kim Raicevich, group business director at PHD, says it was a very entertaining and engaging presentation, well produced and right on brand for the network’s younger positioning.

Claire Butterworth, chief investment officer, MediaCom: “The choice of theme The Wizard of Oz allowed Ten to creatively introduce local talent and produce a whimsical Australian feel to their presentation.

"I believe it was a very solid presentation ... I’m looking forward to understanding the data enhancements within BVOD and SVOD in more detail at a later date.”

Nick Durrant, general manager of investment at Mediabrands’ Magna Global, says the 10 Upfronts was a strong performance.

“The event itself was fun and even dare I say ‘vital’,” he says.

Craig Cooper, chief investment officer, Carat Australia: “The Network 10 upfronts is always the big show stopper event and they didn’t disappoint this year; they packed it with their well-known talent, who harmoniously intertwined optimistic messages about the future and showcased the network’s premium content.”

Glenda Wynyard, managing director, The Media Precinct, and a big supporter of 10: “The level of engagement that 10 enjoys with its viewers is why they enjoy a high share of revenue from our agency.”

However, Wynyard noted the “incredibly long” opening sequence using the team from The Living Room was beautifully produced but it could have been at least a minute shorter.

Paul Wilkinson, head of investment at The Media Store: “Overall I think the standout for me was the focus on home grown content – given the US ownership of Ten it would be easy to adopt an ‘American twang’, but this would be unlikely to resonate in Australia. Whilst this is potentially by default rather than design, I think this was a smart move and great positioning.

“The bulk of the presentation was focused on content. This is not a criticism as such (they are after all a TV network), but I would have liked to have seen more time dedicated to other areas of the network offering such as their data capabilities, targeting and how they are continuing to evolve the BVOD and streaming space."

Nicholas Chin, head of digital for OMD Sydney: “Aussie Aussie Aussie ...  Despite their international ownership, Ten have made clear that they can continue untethered from any international dependencies and remain flexible, by adapting to produce their content locally in Australia."

Daniel Cutrone, media director, Avenue C: “Ten have positioned themselves as a safer and more predictable investment for 2021, with its focus on COVID-proof general entertainment properties.”

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