Ten up front in its intentions

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 14 November 2014

Network Ten has drawn the battlelines, with its chief executive and sales director well and truly up front about not just asking for market share – but demanding it.

At the Network Ten upfront event in Sydney’s Crown Casino last night, Network Ten CEO Hamish McLennan told the room that Ten wasn’t being greedy by asking for a little bit more love.

“The only commitment we want from you for next year is that you match our audience share with the revenue share,” McLennan said.

“I think that’s really important for us. I don’t think we’re asking too much, we’re not being greedy. What we want from you is to support us in that regard.

“If you do that, then you’ve got a vibrant and robust free-to-air TV market in this country.”

McLennan was repeatedly quizzed about his plan to bring Ten’s ad revenue share in line with its rating share during its latest reporting, with its rating share of 23% outstripping its ad revenue share of 18%.

Sales director Lousie Barrett was even more strident with her remarks, telling buyers that they should stop “compensating” the competition.

“There’s no need for you to be excessively compensating the competition.” she said.

“I know you all, and I know what you want, and what you need.

“You keep telling us that you need three viable free-to-air networks and that means, respectfully, giving Network Ten the revenue share it deserves.”

Challenge accepted?

Ten's bold declaration of intent drew a generally positive reaction from buyers, with those in the room telling AdNews that it was a bold on-the-front-foot move to declare its intent publicly.

CEO of ZenithOptimedia Ian Perrin told AdNews this morning that he had no issue with the move to call out buyers publicly.
“They're obviously a sales company and they obviously believe they have the line-up in place to lift that revenue share, and I have no particular problem with them saying that,” he said.

“I think Ten did a great job of demonstrating consistency in scheduling which had been something we buyers had been pushing for, but we don't buy on what the future holds we buy on performance.

“We'll have to wait and see how the new shows perform to see whether it can lift its revenue share.”

Meanwhile Mindshare's chief investment officer Nicola Lewis told AdNews that the declaration from Ten was "bold".

"I think it's really good that they've gone out there and they've put it on the line," she said.

"You can see that there was a focus on Q1 particularly on I'm a Celebrity, which being from the UK I know can be absolutely huge.

"However, I'll be interested to see how that Q1 focus pans out accross the rest of the year."

Building the schedule

Network Ten pitched on the fact that it could now build a consistent schedule throughout the year, a key sore point in the past.

It said the addition of shows such as I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!, Shark Tank, and Gogglebox would help fill out the schedule and offer buyers choice throughout the year.

“I'm the first to admit our schedule was a little bit patchy at times and we've worked very hard on that,” McLennan said.

“You want to know that when you place money with us that we've got franchises that will go from year-in, year-out and you'll see that we have a very, very solid schedule.”

The new stuff

Network Ten was keen to show off its version of I'm a Celebrity, Get me Out of Here with Barrett keen to promote the show as not only the next big thing, but a show which offered advertisers integration opportunities.

“We know I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here is going to be our new Masterchef, Bachelor, Big Brother, or even Australian Idol,” Barrett said.

“One of the reasons we commissioned I’m a Celebrity Get me Out of Here is because of the deep integration it offers our advertisers.”

It will offer several multi-screen opportunities, including a vital sign tracker, which track the vital health stats of the contestants on the show in real-time.

The show, featuring Aussie celebrities and a possible international guest, will be presented live from Africa five nights a week.

It will be hosted by comedian Julia Morris and popular Ten celebrity Dr Chris Brown, with the contestants on the show to be kept under-wraps until launch.

Meanwhile, it revealed the judges on a Dragon's Den-style show, Shark Tank.

Janine Allis (Boost Juice Bars), Andrew Banks (Talent2), Steve Baxter (entrepreneur and investor), John McGrath (McGrath Estate Agents) and Naomi Simson (RedBalloon) will be the sharks who decide which inventions to invest in.

Previously announced, Gogglebox, the show about people watching shows, will air on Network Ten alongside Foxtel. With the show a hit in the UK, Ten will be hoping lightning can strike in two markets.

Elsewhere, it unveiled CSI: Cyber and a remake of The Odd Couple out of the US, but by far the loudest cheer was reserved for The Bachelorette.

After this year's Bachelor courted controversy beyond the bounds of the show, Ten has decided to “give a bachelorette a chance to turn the tables” with 20-odd bachelors chasing her.

While speculation is rife this year's runner-up Sam Frost could be The Bachelorette, the identity of the lucky woman was kept under wraps.

Interestingly, Ten also revealed that the contestant's constantly referring to Bachelor Blake Garvey as “the one”, may have been triggered by a branding opportunity with Ford Australia rather than a limited vocabulary on part of the contestants.

Ten also revealed that it was working on a way to bring back Offspring, but said nothing was locked down.

Meanwhile, it also unveiled a mini-series about legendary racing figure Peter Brock and a love story featuring the tale of how Princess Mary of Denmark met her prince in a Sydney pub, and how the relationship almost fell apart.

Social and branded content

Meanwhile it was keen to tell buyers in the room about its innovation in the branded content and social space.

It highlighted its strong presence in social media, telling the audience it was committed to measuring and understanding its social media audiences and offering second-screen engagement opportunities.

Meawhile it was also keen to show off its HbbTV offering, with Barrett telling the audience that it would have several developments in the e-commerce space ready to roll out in the near future.

“There are many integration opportunities for advertisers with HbbTV, and we'll be bringing those to market very soon,” Barrett said.

However one thing Ten was ready to talk about was the launch of The Baby Circle, a branded content show aimed at the mums of Australia.

“It’s a market segment that hasn’t got a lot of attention in a lot of media sectors, particularly TV,” Barrett said.

While there was no mention of the brands which would be part of the offering, but it said that events, loyalty programs, digital, and social opportunities would all be part of the show, with a presence in Pintrest also confirmed.

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