Last Thursday night Network Ten welcomed the media industry into their jungle themed upfront thanks to the new reality format “I’m a celebrity get me out of here” and promised the audience growth and consistency for 2015 driven by a six point plan; Event TV, premium live sport, focus on P25-54, a consistent program schedule, new formats and a digital media future. CEO Hamish McLennan explained the proof points of the plan in a humble manner and urged the market to give their network a revenue share which was reflective of their audience share, 23%. This message was also echoed by Chief Sales officer Louise Barrett.
The plans laid out for 2015 by Hamish McLennan, Louise Barrett and Chief programming officer Beverley McGarvey were more detailed than ever confirming a level of understanding that they need to instil confidence in the market by proving they are a competitive third network who can deliver on the promise of growth and consistency.
Louise Barrett addressed the evolution of the TV landscape cementing that they are not just a linear TV business but a leader in social TV, digital and innovation. Barrett heralded new format “The Baby Circle” as the prime example of how TEN is progressing their branded content offering across a range of touch points including events, online, social, sampling and a loyalty program. Baby Circle is created for parents of newborns and tweens offering support, information and entertainment. Given the gap in the market for such a program and with the right off peak timeslot e.g. following studio 10 where encores are currently scheduled and where their lowest off peak viewing is currently for grocery buyers with young kids. Baby Circle should help TEN increase not only their daytime audience but also revenue.
Event TV for 2015 presented included Shark Tank, The Bachelor, Gogglebox, The Bachelorette and Masterchef. The program which got the most attention however was I’m a celebrity get me out of here. The hype was extensive; from the announcement of the of the hosts comedian Julia Morris and Australia’s beloved Chris Brown to the high levels of viewer engagement promised through unprecedented levels of viewer interactivity. Audiences will be the master of the games as they vote to decide what challenges the celebrities will face , who will take part in eating the weird and the wacky and who will be pushed out. Beverley described it “a cross between Survivor and Big Brother”. Although the hype was there it was great not to hear TEN place unrealistic audience expectations on the program. The only promise made was that combined with Shark Tank it would increase TEN’s quarter one audience year-on-year. While both programs are a risk, the reality is, any new program launches on TV come with a certain level of risk for any network. Beverley McGarvey injected confidence in these programs spouting not only the success of these programs in other markets but the rigorous research undertaken to ensure success.