‘Big, bold, risk-taking’: Media buyers react to Paramount/Ten upfront

This is part of Mumbrella’s coverage of the 2024 upfront season. Click here to see other articles in the series. 

Paramount revealed at its 2024 upfront that Channel Ten’s programming will be leaning heavily into old favourites, with a number of classic Australian television shows to be revived for the new year.

The network has also enhanced its advertising offerings, with more granular data and wider advertising audiences, as Paramount+ also introduces an advertising tier.

But what do the media buyers think of Paramount’s 2024 offerings?


Sasko Bsilkovski, investment director, Carat 

“The Paramount upfront was an intimate session, providing opportunity for Q&A with smaller groups.

The focus was on ‘Global Footprint’, which was about global strategy with local execution that gives access to premium local produced content, a multi-platform eco system that allows audiences to be in charge of viewership, via Ten and Paramount.

It was great to get an in-depth feel of returning fan favourites, brand-new lineups, and some cherished classics waiting to be discovered by a new generation of fans hitting the various screens and platforms in 2024. In Q1 2024 we see the return of Gladiators ’90s nostalgia and it will be interesting to see how it delivers for them, as it takes on the summer of sport. Gladiators is then followed by Survivor Australia into I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here, then into the Australian Formula One Grand Prix – which will hopefully gain some momentum for Paramount.

In the two-way conversation [towards the end of the upfront], the lack of sport on the network was brought up and how they will compete with the other networks. Paramount is happy with the sporting on the network, with the Formula One, A-League, Melbourne Cup, A-League, and live streaming coverage of the Matildas and Socceroos games.

A first for Paramount globally, and the Australian market, is that Australian Survivor is going to be the test for Shoppable TV. Australia will serve as the test market for an initiative that will enable consumers to easily buy items from their favourite show from their connected TV screen.

In the end, Paramount is confidently stepping into 2024 with a more solid and consistent lineup than ever before, the opportunity to engage younger viewers and hard-to-reach audiences with premium content, and a variety of fresh, intriguing new ad tech prospects.

Sue-Ellen Osborn, Sydney head of investment, Spark Foundry

Paramount’s intimate upfront was jam-packed with lots of big announcements.

The highlight for me was the news about their programming. The core shows that form the backbone of Paramount’s content strategy will be back with a clear theme focusing on fun, dynamic and family friendly. Meanwhile, the big surprises with their existing content were the shakeup of the judging line up on Masterchef and the huge announcement of Robert Irwin as the new host of I’m a Celebrity. His young, exuberant personality alongside the wackiness of Julia Morris is going to take the show to a different level in 2024.

The announcements of new programming in their line up could be described as a trip ‘back to the future’. There is a raft of old formats which Paramount will be breathing new life into and reshaping for a new audience, including Gladiators, Top Gear Australia, Wheel of Fortune hosted by Graham Norton and Deal No Deal with Grant Denyer. Ready, Steady, Cook infused with the zany energy of Miguel will be great Friday night viewing.

Paramount will need to bring their own unique essence to these shows for them to all be a success.

The early evening re-invigoration of programming is interesting for me. It is absolutely necessary, as it is where Paramount is losing the nightly ratings battle. I don’t think Deal or No Deal will make a huge dent in the 6pm ratings of their competitors, but it would be nice to see it shift the share a little and even out the playing field before viewers settle into the 7:30pm programming each night.

One of Paramount’s strengths is the depth of international programming that global ownership affords them. They have a pipeline of international content that comes with greater certainty than any of the other networks, as they own it instead of relying on content deals. The value of this content is most apparent on Paramount+, which is has seen strong growth in the SVOD category over the last two years. It is exciting to see that an ad-funded tier will launch in 2024, giving advertisers access to a valuable new audience.

Like the other networks, Paramount is elevating the importance of campaign measurement and attribution. They announced four new measurement products to help measure brand impact, brand lift and attribution within a CTV environment or across a broader media mix. The challenge for advertisers will be to piece all the different networks’ measurement products together in a way to get meaningful results.

Paramount’s new Shoppable TV product is also interesting, although it is not something for every client or category. Whilst it is being trailed in Survivor early next year, I can see it having a place in programs like The Bachelor for the fashion category, or potentially Masterchef for some food categories.

The missing link in the Paramount offering for me remains sport. Whilst they are building a solid partnership with soccer (football) in Australia, there is still work to do to build a solid proposition the delivers consistent weekly ratings.


Daniel Cutrone, managing partner, Avenue C

Paramount/Ten are rolling out some big, bold and risk-taking moves, which we hope will deliver more hits than misses in 2024.

Coming out of the gates, the return of the ’90s smash Gladiators will see a family fun alternative to the tennis and cricket premiums in January. We’ve seen the strategic success with I’m A Celebrity… in the past, and we believe this will hold similar outcomes.

In contrast to the other two networks, Paramount/Ten are re-energising the majority of their programming slate with fresh formats and hosts. Whilst this will generate early interest in the properties, the true test will be in how they maintain audiences throughout the series.

Whilst Paramount clearly attempts to cover all possible entertainment options, it definitely lacks the dominant sporting accolades of its competitors, however, Ten will be the home of Formula One and digital network Bold will telecast A-League and NBL matches through the 2024 seasons.

2024 has also been marked as the year of the SVOD-turned-AVOD, with Paramount+ also opening its doors to advertising, introducing an ad-tier subscription in Australia.

Paramount+ will also launch the exclusive Top Gear Australia with Beau Ryan, Jonathan LaPaglia & Blair “Moog” Joscelyne.

We are beginning to see the benefits of the multinational Paramount/CBS with its new host, award-winning UK funny-man Graham Norton, hosting Wheel of Fortune Australia, but there is significantly more potential here with its global talent base.

Janice Morgan, head of Investment, Magna

Energetic, emotive & home-grown – Paramount will come out of the blocks fast in 2024, with a refreshed content slate that remains focussed on appealing to Gen Z and Millennials.

The upfront presentation was flawless and the differentiator from all the other presentations was the intimate, consortium- based format which was a refreshing way to promote its 2024 slate of programming and key announcements. Plus a splattering of celebrity banter made for a light-hearted atmosphere in what was otherwise a content-rich performance.

The importance of the local Australian market was highlighted with a solid line up of Australian shows, marking the importance that the global player, recognises the importance of local content– the global premiere of NCIS Sydney, Top Gear Australia, Aussie Shore, Gladiators, Survivor (Titans v Rebels), MasterChef, Dessert Masters, HYBPA & more. And you can’t get much more Aussie than the new I’m A Celebrity Co-Host Robert Irwin!

Whilst the Socceroos and Matildas continue home-grown theme, the lack of consistent, big rating sporting events will hurt their linear performance.

The other area of linear ratings concern is the reliance on Paramount+ to launch key content. Paramount+ is a key area of innovation & focus with its new premium offering later this year and ad-funded tier in 2024. How they launch the ad funded tier to consumers however will be critical to their success.

You couldn’t come away from Paramounts Upfront without a revived awareness of the breadth of their eco-system – FTA, BVOD, SVOD and AVOD with FAST.

Although ad-funded tier remains light on detail, Paramount certainly have the content scale to increase overall subscriber numbers (and revenue) if they get the model right.

Total TV measurement through VOZ streaming is naturally key to leveraging all assets in the Paramount playground, and while VOZ was not a major area of focus, a number of other innovations took centre stage – Shoppable TV in partnership with KERV, dynamic video capabilities for BrandBOOST and Connected TV impact measurement tools, all underpinned the focus on outcome driven marketing strategies for advertisers.

It will be a tough market in 2024, but Paramount’s offering is bold, energetic, and offers agencies and clients an unapologetically youthful alternative in the Total TV eco-system.

Matt Papasavva, managing director – This is Flow

The event was absolutely a refreshing change to what I’ve come to expect from a traditional market upfront. The strategic shift to smaller, more intimate group as opposed to one mass audience was definitely the right one, and ultimately allowed the Paramount team to capture attention – in my opinion, at a much higher level than the same content would have received in a mass group.

The offering at its core is simple and underpinned by the idea of best local content / talent, any time, any place. Leaning into their access to SVOD is a differentiator and will be one to closely monitor, particularly once ad-supported and premium tiers are rolled out to Australian market.

The most interesting selling points was absolutely the focus on attribution and measurement. The launch of their shoppable TV pilot has the potential to be a game-changer, although there are questions whether users will choose to engage with the format during their lean-back viewing time. BrandBOOST and independent brand lift studies will excitingly offer clients an opportunity to have a more personalised message and then understand the real impact of that investment, which for us at This is Flow absolutely resonates.

There was an opportunity for more time to be spent discussing their focus on measurement, however in a relatively shorter Upfronts session, it’s also clear why more time would be spent highlighting their more flashy announcements of new shows, returning shows and the talent slate for 2024.

For me, it’s going to be interesting to see the real impact of their new innovations, coupled with their programming slate for 2024…particularly in what will be a challenging year, made even more competitive in having to compete with the Olympic Games.

Marianne Lane, Head of Investment, Kaimera

I thoroughly enjoyed Paramount’s more intimate upfront sessions this year. The close-knit setting added a personal touch that made the entire event more engaging.

Paramount has some great core programs, such as Thank God You’re Here, Survivor, Gogglebox, The Hunted and Masterchef, and the session served as a reminder of the quality of these programs. One highlight that particularly caught my attention was the announcement of the return of Gladiators. I firmly believe it will contribute significantly to Paramount’s strong start to the year. The nostalgia associated with Gladiators, coupled with the network’s commitment to maintaining its excellence, promises an exciting viewing experience.

Additionally, the announcement that Robert Irwin is taking over as the new co-host for I’m a Celebrity injected a fresh burst of energy. Irwin’s charismatic presence and genuine enthusiasm are bound to breathe new life into the program. It’s a strategic move which introduces a captivating personality that aligns seamlessly with the show’s adventurous spirit.

I am optimistic about Paramount’s trajectory in the upcoming year. The blend of established favourites and innovative additions positions Paramount as a network committed to delivering compelling and dynamic content.


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