Network Ten presented their 2017 upfront schedule Friday morning from the Noble Dining Room at the Sydney Cricket Ground; an appropriate venue for the network that is home to the Big Bash League. The room was full of celebrities and media partners alike, all eager to hear about Ten’s strategy for the upcoming year.
The presentation kicked off with some comedic relief from Julia Morris opening the show. Morris introduced the speakers for the morning; Ten CEO Paul Anderson, MCN CEO Anthony Fitzgerald, Director of Revenue and Client Partnerships Rod Prosser and Chief Programming Officer Beverley McGarvey and touched on the points that Ten representatives were going to speak to; consistency, growth, momentum and innovation. Morris spoke about the cross-promotion initiatives and mentioned the success of the programming from the past year before finally introducing to the stage ‘someone who has something intelligent to say’, Paul Anderson.
Paul spoke more about what TV means to Australians, and specifically how Network Ten fits into the everyday lives of those Aussies. Television is a ‘reliable and trusted medium’ that ‘provokes arguments and starts discussions’ on both a local and global scale. TV has become personal, with consumers being able to watch a library of their choice from their laptops, phones and tablets. As a network, Ten is an underdog and they have pushed boundaries in their history, introducing the first gay character to small screens in 1996, bringing the Big Brother franchise into the country, diversifying programs such as The Project with Muslim host Waleed Aly and starting off Australia’s food reality genre with juggernaut Masterchef. At the close of his speech was a reel explaining that without advertising, TV wouldn’t be the same. The hosts from Masterchef revealed a mystery box that was just a plate; Osher Gunsberg had a bucket full of roses just outside of a shop, not having any luck giving them away and Dr Chris Brown explained that a TV vet would just be a vet.
Next up was Anthony Fitzgerald, who spoke more to the data and technology products that Ten now has access to, with its 14 month partnership with MCN that has driven commercial results for their business and the industry. Fitzgerald explained how TV is ‘an engine room of commerce in Australia’ and how the 16 million people that watch TV every week are exposed to the brands, thus making them famous. Their business is ‘ready for the future’, as dynamic trading will be rolled out across Ten in Q1 2017.
Rod Prosser’s speech was around the success of Ten over the past few years as well as news on existing and new digital offerings. Ten is very proud of the past 3 years, as they have managed to increase their primetime audiences each year. The keys to their success have been content and consistency. Prosser touched on Ten Play and how it currently has 12 distribution platforms, with 5 more being added next year, where there was a record 33 million video segment views last month, showcasing its success. Ten are also expanding their digital offering with the addition of Ten Daily, which is a standalone mobile proposition that will air bespoke quality content from breakfast to bedtime focusing around News, Entertainment, Lifestyle, Parenting and Sports. Finally, there was a reel showing how they can integrate brands into their programming. Examples shown included The Bachelorette and Maybelline makeup, The Bachelor and Menulog and I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here and KFC.
Last to speak was Beverley McGarvey who, like the network itself, is passionate about content. Audience growth can be attributed to the premium content and the talkability that it possesses, and she went on to present the 2017 calendar of programming, highlighting the new format of The Biggest Loser as well as newcomers Common Sense and All Aussie Adventures. Beverley expressed that the network ‘believes in potential and is prepared to take risks’ with their programming. Ten allows shows to ‘find their feet’, as is proof with the still-on-air Studio Ten, which just celebrated its 3rd birthday.
Morris closed out the morning citing the theme that was weaved throughout the morning, which is to work together for mutual success. By providing consumers with a platform for conversation, utilising data and technology to further deliver unduplicated reach and drive efficiencies, continuing to increase ways to consume media and creating and investing in the most premium programming, it allows stronger partnerships that can result in real business outcomes for all parties involved.
Details on new programming:
“The Biggest Loser Transformed” – TBL has been around for 10 seasons now, and a fresh format is exactly what the franchise needs to keep audiences engaged, which Ten have delivered. In 2017, the focus is not on people who are overweight, rather it wants to help the every-day people who want to shed the last 5kgs of baby weight or who are trying to tone up for their wedding. The finale will be live with the viewers choosing the winner as opposed to a weigh-in. This format has the potential to appeal to a wider audience as the issues contestants face will be more applicable to the viewers watching and can help them get motivated.
“This is Us” – An American series that is in the dramedy category. The trailer was shown and the program looks very promising and will appeal to women and GBs with kids, however as Aussies are hungry for local content, it won’t share the same success as it does in the US.
“Common Sense” – From the creators of Gogglebox comes this reality program that revolves around the workplace, with a comedic insight into the real world from professions such as cab drivers, nurses and teachers. With any luck, media buyers will feature on an episode! If the structure and content is anything like Gogglebox, the program will be a success.
“Sisters” – The creators of Offspring are bringing a new drama to the schedule that will appeal to female audiences as it revolves around 3 sisters who are exploring just what it means to be family. As Offspring will most likely run its course soon, Sisters has the potential to take its audience if the content is consistent.
“Wake in Fright” – Based on the 1971 movie of the same name, a two-part mini-series has been commissioned to air next year. These types of events traditionally attract large mass audiences and Ten will grab the attention of viewers who remember the movie as well as intrigue younger generations with the updated themes.
“All Aussie Adventures” – It’s been 15 years since Russell Coight was on television, and the mockumentary is coming back in 2017, chock-full of the same goofy antics and ‘Aussie survival skills’. The program will no doubt be welcomed by the fans who have been watching old episodes to get their fill of the lovable character, and will appeal to a base who are looking for something light and easy to watch.