Media buyers: 'Ten delivers consistent 2017 slate in confident upfronts'

By AdNews | 7 November 2016
US drama This Is Up is being tipped for success. Photo courtesy of Ten.

Ten's Upfronts breakfast event on Friday has been described as 'a class act' with a consistent content slate for 2017.

Ten held its annual programming sneak peek for advertisers and media buyers at the SCG last week. AdNews approached a handful of media buyers to gather their thoughts with one show a clear winner and another a 'wait and see'.

Overall impressions

“I thought it was a class act. They did a really nice job of it and they did what I believe TV stations should do, which is bring a bit of drama and excitement with celebrity and make it big,” says Mindshare CEO Katie Rigg-Smith.

“This was a solid performance from the Ten business showing where they have come from and where they are now. With a lot of local content, we see opportunities for brands to forge deeper content partnerships across the coming year, across platform,” Carat Australia chief investment officer Ashley Earnshaw adds. "They have brought consistency to the forefront and now lead the peloton." 

“Very slick, they definitely know how to put on a show. It's good to see the confidence from Fitzy, Paul and Rod talking about the dominance of TV in delivering clients goals,” Maxus national head of investment Ricky Chanana.

“This is the most confident I’ve seen Ten with their Upfronts presentations. It’s underpinned by a lot of great content and several years of continued ratings success against Under 55 yr audiences,” says Victor Corones, managing director of Magna Australia.

“Ten are not afraid of risk. They’ve developed a more consistent slate of programming and are still prepared to take risks around content. They’re prepared to wait for success and not pull things too quickly if they don’t fire immediately...not jerking [the audience] around if things don’t perform."

What about the new shows?

“I'm excited about the line-up, they're working on formats they know work and building upon this, like building out Gogglebox with Common Sense,” Rigg-Smith adds. “When I sawy This is Us I thought 'oh my gosh, sign me up for that one'. We need quality dramas like that so I'm very much looking forward to that one.”

Earnshaw says Ten’s tentpole properties, like Gogglebox, The Bachelor, Offspring, Family Feud and the Project, have become consistent performers.

“Ten certainly now have a collection of premium shows to take market and the technology platforms to take out audience volatility. 'This is Us' looks interesting and has the potential to do very well,” he adds.

“This is Us is an interesting one and could go either way in terms of ratings. I’ve no doubt it will find an audience but I’m not sure if the audience will big enough to allow it sit on the Ten primary channel,” Corones adds. “Wake in Fright should do well; but it’s a two part series which should be a good tactical additional within Ten’s line-up.”

“I like mix of local content and shows that work for them, such as Australian Survivor, Gogglebox, Offspring, which has delivered for the past seven years,” Chanana says. I think the timing will be important and where the schedule these shows against tent pole shows form Nine and Seven.”

Ten Upfronts shows

And what about The Biggest Loser reboot?

“I'm interested to see how they can make it more applicable to everyone's general life rather than watching really obese people lose a lot of weight,” Rigg-Smith points out. “It will be interesting to see if that resonates and people find it motivating or do people want to see the old format...the extreme version.”

“It's a show people are familiar with and they know how it works. It will be interesting to see how they turn it around to make it a bit more of a lifestyle show. It is hard to say, the proof will be in the pudding,” Chanana says.

Corones believes the reboot of The Biggest Loser Transformed focusing less on weight loss and more on mental wellbeing “feels more positive and constructive”.

“I would expect the new storylines, beyond weight loss, should get consumers emotionally hooked; but like any reality based show it comes down to casting, which can make or break a show’s performance,” he adds.

Earnshaw believes a clever move for The Biggest Loser is launching an self-help app to coincide with the show. “It has a challenge to get back to its historical audience levels, but the migration into a more social platform makes sense and will engage the audience,” he adds.

Dynamic trading

Media buyers all lauded Ten's move towards dynamic trading in early 2017, with Ten claiming it will be the first free-to-air network to launch the development under MCN.

“From a trading point of view it is superb to see the evolution of dynamic and programmatic offerings across Ten assets through their partnership with MCN,” Earnshaw adds. “Advertisers want to have better data targeting and automation across their communications. They have certainly taken calculated risks and this continues to create advantage in market.

Chanana says it will be interesting to see how MCN's dynamic trading can smooth over some 'airtime issues' on how Ten delivers its linear inventory.

Digital offering

Media buyers cautiously welcomed Ten's move into launching a mobile-first platform 10 Daily, but admitted they need more details.

“I'm interested to see how they close the loop on that so people are talking about something outside the television shows; I couldn't quite get my head around, not in a negative way, but was it like a daily news or was it about their TV shows?,” Rigg-Smith says. “I think they realise if they want to hold a relationship with an audience and they want to firm it up as hard as they can, they've got to extend beyond just being the second screen while a TV show is on.”

Corones adds: “The launch of Ten Daily in 2017 is an important development will help expand their viewing audience potential across the day. Having a “mobile-first” content pipeline that delivers exclusive, bespoke snackable media is really encouraging.”

“It will be interesting to see how all of these networks are following consumers rather than consumption,” Chanana adds.

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