Rod Prosser on the return of Gladiators, opportunities for advertisers and the TV market

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 3 October 2023

Channel 10 will kick off 2024 with the re-launch of Gladiators, a new revival of the sports entertainment show that first debuted in Australia in 1995 for eighteen months and was subsequently brought back in 2008 for a year.

The premise of the show involves permanent competitors called 'Gladiators' being put up against one-time-only contenders in several different events which tests both physical and mental capabilities. 

Now, returning to the screens for the first time in over 15 years – and for the first time on 10 after both previous iterations of the show were aired on Seven - Rod Prosser, chief sales officer at Paramount Australia and New Zealand, parent company of Network 10, said the network knows over the summer period, there's a strong appetite for an alternative to the traditional sport that plays over that period.  

“We know that brands and advertisers are looking for that alternative, not just the viewers,” he said. 

“With all that in mind, we wanted something that we could integrate into to really give advertisers and brands a platform to have a meaningful, integrated experience that is seamless and works for our viewers as well, but importantly, and part of the reason that we bought that particular format back, is we're really capitalising on the 90s nostalgia, which is a bit of a TV trend at the moment, particularly with the launch of our FAST offering.”

Prosser said Paramount is seeing a whole new wave of generations coming back into TV to watch some of these legacy formats - particularly around the 90s - with Gen Z especially leaning into that content. 

“It’s a format that really brings a lot of the TV genres together - this is an entertainment format, it's a sports format, it will have a comedy element to it,” he told AdNews


“We’ve coupled that with some really big names - not just Beau Ryan and Liz Ellis as the hosts (pictured right), but underpinned with these gladiators that just have such high credentials in anything and everything around athletics.

“Really importantly, it's going to bring the family back together into the lounge room to really engage in what will be a really great piece of content.”

Prosser said Gladiators will kick off 10’s year and the network knows ‘noisy’ content over that period really gives it a “great launchpad” into the first quarter.  

“Over that period of time, there is a lot of advertising categories that are quite active - not just retail, but you can imagine retail back to school have shown a lot of interest,” he said. 

“There’s autos, there’s QSR and a whole raft of other categories that are interested, not only because they're quite active over that period, but often they're blocked out on the other networks because they can't get meaningful access into their inventory because of the sponsorships that they're running across the various sporting assets.

“Because of the way that the show is structured, we've got a whole heap of sponsored assets that brands can engage with. We've also got this innovation around our ad product that's linking the message from linear to our digital platforms. 

“You're going to see a whole heap of innovation like how we're going to serve up the ads and integration to the viewers, so there's been a lot of interest from advertisers.”

Looking more broadly at the current ad market and the positioning of TV, Prosser was emphatic in his defense of the medium and the opportunities that exist for advertisers.

“From my point of view, there's all this ridiculous commentary coming out around TV and revenue leakage which is quite simply naïve, opportunistic strategy from some of our industry competitors,” he told AdNews.

“It almost smells a little bit desperate, because the truth is the TV industry is in the most exciting position it's been for decades.

Rod Prosser

“We've launched VOZ, it's soon to become currency; VOZ streaming will redefine how total TV is planned and ultimately bought; the expansion of our content into FAST channels; the way that we're innovating with ad products in a connected environment – all of this just amplifies the positivity around television, so this notion that keeps surfacing that this reveue is going to leak out of TV is just such nonsense. 

“In terms of the ad market, and then what we're looking at next year, we're having really great dialogue with advertisers.”

Prosser (pictured above right) said that marketers are feeling more confident around next year and from Paramount’s point of view, the network is “really pleased” with not just its platforms and innovation, but also the slate of content it’s bringing to the market next year. 

“The reality is the audiences are still strong,” he said. 

“There's no other medium that can reach the volume of Australians in a week or overnight, so that's still really strong. I think advertisers and marketers are smart enough to know that television and total television is in a really healthy spot as we move into 2024.”

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