In a style akin to preceding years, the destination itself in which MCN referred to as “their new digs” set the scene of the journey we embarked on at the MCN Home-fronts. Keeping up with what is “on trend”, we were greeted with an Aperol Spritz, whilst awakening our taste buds with a more sumptuous macaroni and cheese than the norm.
In true MCN fashion the crowd were engaged from the offset with somewhat of a gag reel featuring Martin Medcraf, whose exploitation was for the greater good of amusing the crowd, to which it triumphed. The skit depicted the offender Medcraf streaking at both the AFL and NRL Grand Finals, to which MCN dubbed as being the year of the “Double Dangle”. Pundits were interviewed advocating he should get the boot, to which MCN granted him reprieve and agreed to have him back Monday “as long as he kept his kit on”.
The reel in all its glory was a seamless lead in to get the audience to take note of the ways that MCN can organically integrate across their properties, and used it as a basis to ask the crowd to “now imagine what they could do with your client’s brand.”
Leadership and Innovation were the two key principles they prided themselves on representing in 2016, and noted the desire to continue in 2017. They did profess that the year had its challenges, with the merger requiring the transition onto landmark across both channels. However, given the numerous undertakings across the business, it would be fair to say these were excused by the media world. The aim for MCN was to show OMD that they have the capability to be our #1 partner by being committed to innovation and working better together with their high performance team, as they now hold 44% market share across their channels. They understand OMD’s business challenges and know that they need to operate at speed to keep up with the ever-changing media landscape.
In the upcoming year MCN’s desire is to “shake up the TV sector” and indicated that only talking “CPM and Cost per Reach Curves” is a strategy of the past and needs to change. They are committed to inventing new advertising models in partnership with OMD, whilst continuing to move away from blunt demo and CPM trading. Network Ten is currently testing dynamic and programmatic buying which we are looking forward to seeing more of in 2017. MCN’s intention is to continue to break new ground with content and innovation and referred to Gogglebox as being the ‘Posterchild’ of what can happen as a result of Foxtel/Lifestyle Group and Ten’s partnership.
Next up, in the words of Paul McIntyre, the panel host himself, “We have heard from the big shots, so now let’s welcome the talented people to the stage”. This panel style approach enabled us to hear from experts in a vast array of disciplines, whilst keeping the audience engaged. The “legends” at the other end of Paul’s questioning were Mark Brandon (Chief Data Officer), Suzie Cardwell (Head of Digital Partnerships), Tania Jones (Content and Brand Partnership Director) and Nick Young (National Sales Director).
We received a view of the Australian Marketplace through Paul, who has just arrived from the UK and can intelligently compare the markets. He deemed our development of Multiview and Programmatic impressive when looked through a global lens, and noted nothing close to Multiview would be seen in either the US or UK. He noted Australia should be proud of the extent of its incredible integrations, and noted a Bertolli integration that resulted in a 63% incremental sales uplift. Next step is attribution, which the industry needs going forward, to which MCN will focus on adding further granularity to the attribution model.
Also touched on was MCN being the “Home of Catch up TV” in which they can use their scale,; 42% of catchup tv viewing across 10 Play and Foxtel Go and content; a wide variety of premium programming across popular genres such as Lifestyle, News and Sport and overlay ability to integrate brands. They have a huge roadmap for 2017, with video being the main focus. AVOD is “fertile territory” with 2017’s roadmap includes programmatic expansion, video viewability, video completion and scale in premium inventory.
We were given a cinematic experience and shown a “drop in the ocean” of the content we are expecting to see in 2017. The usual dependable genres were noted including Drama, Food Porn, along with Reality and Dating, to which the later influx being blamed on Tinder. As always, sport underpins the schedule, which will be no change in 2017 with Big Bash league, NRL, Rugby Union, ALF, Supercars and A-League. From the success of the Fox Footy AFL dedicated channel, there will be a new station of similar vein across NRL launching next year. Although it was made clear from the offset, that this year’s focus for the afternoon would not have programming as its core, we still left the hour-long presentation with more questions than answers around upcoming formats.
Aside from upcoming content on the reel, as a point of difference and to showcase their aforementioned drive for increased partnerships and integration next year, we saw a library of brand integrations from the Multiply arm, including examples across an array of clients within the networks tent-pole programs.
To complete the afternoons experience we were invited to step into the world of virtual reality in a dedicated room to the cause. Once inside, the world was one’s oyster, with options to go to Mars, swim with sharks or even immerse yourself in a State of Origin game experience.
Will this VR experience make headway, or will it be another Pokemon flash in the pan? Without having experienced the VR State of Origin headset, we may have been inclined to say the latter. It is no secret that sport and emotion go hand in hand but this experience took it to a whole new level. Feeling the players passion, living their nerves, and being part of the experience is indescribable. There is no doubt that this will resonate with the masses, the question will just be how long before it will take off and transform the living room.
Upon leaving the event, (aside from envisaging ourselves residing in such an abode!), we were left with several key outtakes. Emphasis was put on brand integration being a key focus for 2017, whilst data will also be at the forefront with Network Ten’s programmatic offering coming to life in Q1. Other key highlights include the upcoming NRL dedicated channel, the thirst to leverage the free to air and subscription TV partnership to create more content, along with magnitude being put on AVOD in the coming year. With the above in mind, MCN have set the framework for a unique year ahead.