Features

Buyers commend Ten for ‘fresh’ rebrand and clear sales proposition

Ten unveiled a major brand refresh, an all new content lineup, and pivoted back to focusing on the under 50s at this year's upfronts. But what did the media buyers make of the all new Network 10, and how did it compare to Nine and Seven's performance?

It has almost been one year since US giant CBS acquired the ‘cheeky’, ‘irreverent’ Network Ten. This week it became clear just how much has changed: a brand refresh, an in-house sales team, a new subscription video service and all new content.

The buyers who attended this year’s upfronts were, for the most part, optimistic about the rebrand, but felt there was more to be done around automation and data partnerships.

Louise Romeo, general manager, NSW and Qld, Amplifi

What do you think of the rebrand? Was it needed? Do you think it pulls together all the sub-brands of Ten?

After waiting 27 years for a rebrand this signals Ten are committed to a new direction, a more consistent look and feel across their brands and the start of their journey with CBS. A rebrand is nothing without a significant investment into premium content and Ten demonstrated a good balance of returning brands such as Masterchef, Googlebox and The Project (all with a loyal audience base) complemented with new content. However, new content comes with its own challenges to attract audiences when we have such a vast range of viewing options.

Ten’s demonstration of its move away from a legacy TV network to a platform agnostic brand focusing on digital and data promises a new era. At Amplifi, we embrace this strategy as over the last few years we have adopted a fluid approach to video planning.

For us, this is a positive step to allow us to work with our clients to connect further with their audiences across all platforms.

What about its sales proposition? Is targeting the under 50s a smart move?

Ten had an air of confidence and optimism about 2019 – promising to be bigger and better thanks to their investment into premium content, technology, a brand refresh as well as their backing from one of the most successful broadcasters in the US – CBS. It is clear they have a consistent whilst distinctive strategy for all of their assets whilst not forgetting their heritage and tone of voice as the network with attitude and an irreverent personality.

Ten’s strategy has always been to deliver to a younger audience and young at heart viewers, the difference is now they have a suite of channels, platforms and streaming services to cater to a consumers’ viewing preference. Ten know who they are, and they are not trying to be all things to all people.

What are your thoughts on 10 All Access?

10 All Access launching in December is another streaming service in an already cluttered catalogue however, the true indication of its success will be how Ten uses the CBS technology, expertise and original content to draw audiences to the platform. Complemented with Ten’s fresh and invigorated sales team and their platform agnostic structure means we should expect the network to deliver client centric solutions through how they think, behave and insights they share around audiences and platforms.

Is lack of sport a big issue for you?

The absence of cricket within their sporting line up leaves a gap and given Australians’ passion for sport, this puts Ten in a challenging position to preserve YOY audiences especially across Q1. In saying that, Ten offered a number of other viewing options to appeal to broader audiences interested in both entertainment and lifestyle. Ten had a good balance of showcasing returning and new programming which will feature in their 2019 schedule to attract both audiences and advertisers. Their focus to revamp a number of existing shows may help reinvigorate these franchises for a new audience.

Will you support formats like Sunday Night Takeaway and Dancing with the Stars?

Every format has a specific audience in mind and both Sunday Night Takeaway and Dancing with the Stars will attract a family friendly audience and provide moments that brings everyone together. These shows are fun, provide an element of surprise, have the celebrity-factor and demonstrates Ten’s commitment into bringing local content to Australians.

Are you happy with the Pilot Week selection?

Pilot Week is definitely a unique strategy in market and an ambitious undertaking where there is such as focus on delivering a consistent audience for advertisers. Ten’s investment into creating content featuring well-known personalities including Kyle and Rove may not deliver mass-audiences but what they do is create hype, drive rich social conversation and have the potential to attract new viewers to their platforms. To improve advertiser engagement, like any content it needs to be compelling, have the ability to integrate as well as have a footprint which goes beyond just the broadcast.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have seen?

It is clear they have a consistent whilst distinctive strategy for all of their assets whilst not forgetting their heritage and tone of voice as the network with attitude and an irreverent personality. It was a refreshing change and their content gave us just enough to tease us around their strategy but left us wanting more around their roadmap. Specifically, for Amplifi, we would have liked to have seen more information around automation and more detail around their digital and data partnerships. An exciting showcase which definitely set the tone going into 2019.

If you’ve seen all three, which upfronts were you most pleased with?

All three of the network upfronts had a distinctive style and clear vision for 2019. Seven delivered tried and tested formats including a strong sport slate, Nine demonstrated they have proven performers and are future focused with their technology acceleration whilst Ten brought the sparkle, they also clarified how their CBS partnership will influence performance in 2019.

Chris Walton, managing director, Nunn Media

Chris-Walton CEO Nunn Media

What do you think of the rebrand? Was it needed? Do you think it pulls together all the sub-brands of Ten?

Personally I didn’t think there was a major need for a re-brand. Clearly Ten felt doing one was important with their viewers in mind. They will therefore need to communicate clearly to them why they have re-branded and what it means to the viewer, otherwise it will be just seen as an expensive change of font.

What about its sales proposition? Is targeting the under 50s a smart move?

This approach has worked very well for them in the past and drove their fantastic success in the early noughties. This time around their competition isn’t so much the other networks but other platforms. It is the younger audiences that have turned away from TV in the largest numbers. Stopping further leakage and also tempting those back that have left will be a very big ask.

What are your thoughts on All Access?

It’s another streaming service. As it leverages on what CBS has developed in the States I imagine the user experience is good, which of course is vital. The challenge goes beyond providing great content – it is yet another platform that viewers need to establish a habit of going to and using. Establishing this as a habit rather than something tried once and forgotten about will be very hard to do. Best of luck to them. From an advertising point of view it needs to be priced sensibly – easier said than done based on how some others approach this space.

Is lack of sport a big issue for you?

Yes. There is no getting away from the rising importance of live sport along with news and current affairs to deliver consistently robust audiences for advertisers. Weakness in sport is likely to be a factor behind the bigger push Ten signalled behind promoting The Project as well as re-branding their news.

Will you support Sunday Night Takeaway and Dancing with the Stars?

It depends upon a few factors, the main one being if we can agree with the network on what a sensible price for our support is.

Are you happy with the Pilot Week selection?

I wasn’t blown away by any of those picked but equally I appreciate Ten need to take a view based on their expertise on what they feel will deliver for them. On a slight tangent I have been disappointed with the audience numbers Game of Games has achieved, yet this is back for a second year. Perhaps the commercial case for these programs is different to what I have assumed?

Is there anything else you would have liked to have seen?

Would definitely liked to have seen Julia Morris try to snog Paul Anderson. She is all talk and no action.

Now you’ve seen all three, which upfronts were you most pleased with?

Ten is the outlier as Nine and Seven have got a far more known spine of content that delivers large audiences across established platforms. Ten need to take a punt or two and said as such in the absence of properties like the cricket, so good luck to them. This need to try different things manifested itself into much more positive energy at Ten’s event. However as a media buyer you ultimately want consistency and no surprises. This is Ten’s big challenge.

All three networks have their data plays, each with a slightly different emphasis. This is a growing challenge as each network is turning into a walled garden (to add to those walled gardens that exists at News, Facebook etc). My view is the networks need to be very open with their data. In fact the data that drives the transaction needs to sit with the buyer, not the seller. Good quality of content/engagement will rise to the top regardless and the media need to have the confidence that their content is as good as they say it is. This is emerging into a big challenge to overcome as in effect we are dealing with multiple different currencies and metrics. I realise this is a big ask so it further underlines the importance of first party data as otherwise advertisers and their agencies will largely be buying in the dark regardless of all the ‘insights’ a networks data claims to deliver.

Nickie Scriven, CEO Zenith Australia

What do you think of the rebrand? Was it needed? Do you think it pulls together all the sub-brands of Ten?

The rebrand looks great and signals a fresh start for Ten. I love the way they animate the brand and bring it to life and yes, I do think it really pulls together the sub-brands of Ten well. It’s eye-catching, memorable and a really strong brand identity. I think the rebrand signals a fresh, updated and relevant statement to the market.

What about its sales proposition? Is targeting the under 50s a smart move?

I thought their sales proposition was smart and clear. They don’t claim to be number one, but were very clear in their approach to target the under 50s and the young at heart. Ten have always skewed younger so it isn’t a departure from where they have been.

What are your thoughts on All Access?

I think All Access is a really strong proposition. Ultimately it will support Ten’s data play by capturing unique IDs and this will facilitate stronger audience insights and better targeting of across their formats.

Is lack of sport a big issue for you?

There is quite a gap in Ten’s sport content and we know this is a really important pillar for the Australian TV networks to attract audiences. There is enough in the schedule to attract advertiser interest but they will need to pull the audiences to sustain strong advertiser support.

Will you support Sunday Night Takeaway and Dancing with the Stars?

Sunday Night Takeaway looks great. It’s fresh and entertaining and I think it will attract audience and advertiser interest, providing alternative family viewing to the other networks. Ultimately we will support programs that are the right fit for our clients and those that attract strong audiences.

Are you happy with the Pilot Week selection?

Pilot Week is an interesting concept and the program slate looks pretty entertaining. I think the greatest challenge is only showing a program on one night. Often it takes a couple of episodes for new programs to establish themselves. I’d like to see Ten expand this to two or three weeks and also really market it to make an “event” out of it in the minds of viewers so they really tune in at this time of year, as I think that will give them a better opportunity to see which shows really have viewer appeal.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have seen?

I would have like to have seen more detail around All Access and Ten’s full data and programmatic play. Specifically, when this will be available to the market and the benefits to clients.

Of the three, which upfronts were you most pleased with?

Nine’s was super tight, confident yet humble, and impressive. Ten’s was the most entertaining, fresh and honest. Unfortunately I was unable to make it to Seven’s due to a prior commitment.

Lucie Jansen chief investment officer, Blue 449

What do you think of the rebrand? Was it needed? Do you think it pulls together all the sub-brands of Ten?

Yes, I think the rebrand was very much needed and it is obviously the perfect time for a refresh with a new holding company and team. It exudes energy and is in line with their proposition to target a younger audience compared to its competitors. The channels and associated sub-brands being pulled together under the “10” banner reinforces their multi-facet offering.

What about its sales proposition? Is targeting the under 50s a smart move?

A clear differentiated position in market is important. Ten has always skewed younger than Seven and Nine so while this isn’t a major shift for them, its good to see their commitment to a clear strategy, owning the under 50s and ‘young at heart’.

Is lack of sport a big issue for you?

I liked that they tackled the elephant in the room (limited sport) head on as this has clearly been a talking point recently. Whilst major sport is a huge asset for Ten’s competitors, this coincides with a huge cost for them. Hopefully Ten will be able to build out a wealth of non-sport content to stimulate growth. It is also worth remembering that Ten’s business model has run relatively successfully in the past without sport.

Will you support Sunday Night Takeaway and Dancing with the Stars?

The level of success of Sunday Night Takeaway will be very much down to the hosts Chris Brown and Julia Morris, in the same way that Saturday Night Takeaway in UK was such a success primarily due to Ant and Dec. Hopefully it delivers what Ten are hoping for. A strong performance here should have a positive knock on effect on Dancing with the Stars, which I believe will follow in the schedule.

Victor Corones, managing director, Magna

What do you think of the rebrand? Was it needed? Do you think it pulls together all the sub-brands of Ten?

The rebranding will tie all of Ten’s assets together well and helps to create clearer differentiation across their linear TV eco-system. The rebranding brings a lot of fun back to this network with its cheekiness and irreverence; something that will resonate with consumers.

What about its sales proposition? Is targeting the under 50s a smart move?

Ten want to give a reason for a viewer to play in their eco-system, keep them there and explore other parts of their content opportunities. Ten understand linear TV can’t be their only way to attract consumers. Developing a “cord-cutters” strategy recognises the broadcast game is moving on and requires a broader, more holistic approach beyond a linear TV content strategy.

What are your thoughts on All Access?

There is a massive back catalogue of programming that will be available in the Australian version of All Access. Success will be driven by the exclusive content that CBS is creating for this portal. This is a growth opportunity for CBS globally so I would expect a strong pipeline of new content being developed over time to drive their subscriber base globally and here in Australia. Initially I do see it being a slow burn for the network as they need to build this brand from zero consumer awareness. The content promoted will help drive that uptake. Ten’s pricing strategy around subscription still needs to be determined so I would expect this will be another factor to consider when they launch in the market.

Is lack of sport a big issue for you?

Not all advertisers are chasing sports audiences so I don’t see this as an issue. The tent poles of sport are designed to drive linear audiences but I see 10 is looking to maximise audiences across their entire media eco-system. But it does mean Ten have to put greater effort into their marketing budget to drive awareness of their content.

Will you support Sunday Night Takeaway and Dancing with the Stars?

I can see real potential for Sunday Night Takeaway as it offers something different for viewers and has potential to be an appointment to view. And there will be lots of opportunities for advertisers to integrate into this format each week. The chemistry for the show’s presenters needs to be authentic, where Julia Morris and Chris Brown have a proven track record.

Dancing with the Stars when last on air in Australia skewed older so Ten’s challenge is to take this format and find ways to make it appeal to younger audiences. The judges, dancers and dance genres selected will be key in achieving this.

Are you happy with the Pilot Week selection?

The viewers were the ultimate deciders so it’s irrelevant on whether I’m happy or not.

Sam Russell, head of marketplace, Mediacom

Ten’s upfronts were an incredible multi-coloured spectacle, that brought to life their talent and diverse content line up for next year. The tongue in cheek tone went down well and offered a refreshing approach built on a CBS backed confidence. With my digital hat on, there was a lack of insight into their addressable play beyond their three million known audience, but I’d say 2019 is going to be as bright as their Broadway-esque dancers!

Toby Barbour, CEO, Starcom Sydney

What do you think of the rebrand? Was it needed? Do you think it pulls together all the sub-brands of Ten?

I like the brand refresh, it’s bold, energetic and cheeky, relevant to the young at heart target audience. It’s also a smart move to simplify the brand architecture to lead with Ten across all multi channels and assets, Ten Boss, Ten Peach, Ten HD… appreciate conjecture on Boss or Peach however it’s right to lead with Ten.

It’s a new era, new ownership and team, the brand refresh with clear sustainable differentiated positioning is important and yes does symbolise change at Ten, but more importantly commitment to the market and audience.

What about its sales proposition? Is targeting the under 50s a smart move?

This has always been Ten’s core demo, their strength for years now. A refocus and a reminder is timely as they combine new, fresh thinking with exciting new opportunities to work with a team that is hungry to innovate and grow. It simply means opportunities to engage the under 50 young at heart audience across all platforms.

What are your thoughts on All Access?

I view this as an evolving strategy and leveraging existing assets to create value now whilst not limiting the opportunity in future to integrate and scale.

Is lack of sport a big issue for you?

The obvious gap in the content slate is of course sport, and whilst the strategy is clear the ability to build out depth of content to stimulate growth will take some time.
It’s a bold approach to replacing the success of BBL launch platform with I’m Celebrity get me Out of Here moving forward to January and setting up Sunday Night Takeaway.

Will you support Sunday Night Takeaway and Dancing with the Stars?

We will assess all tent pole programming on potential audiences, brand fit and of course timing, and recommend to relevant clients.

Are you happy with the Pilot Week selection?

Ten was confident to reflect on Pilot Week and the fact they own the ‘virtual water cooler’ with 67% more social activity.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have seen?

It’s hard to create anything long form, dramatic or shiny floor for Pilot Week! The outputs were in line with the idea.

Now you’ve seen all three, which upfronts were you most pleased with?

I think we have seen three quite different upfronts from three network brands at different stages of their business cycle and strategy for future growth.

Nine has been building momentum over the last three years and it’s the culmination of a strategy to produce great local content across all platforms with scale and personalisation. It has a strong performance and future assets.

Seven is fine tuning a proven winning success formula over the last 12 years whilst also adapting to the new challenges of engaging consumers with content and brands today. You can never underestimate the team at Seven.

Ten, launching a new era, brand and team with CBS’s global scale and back end investment to support it. Ten has a clear strategy and entertaining proposition, and it may take some time to deliver growth but the market support is there.

Bill Luu, group trading director, PHD

What do you think of the rebrand? Was it needed? Do you think it pulls together all the sub-brands of Ten?

I don’t think it’s a question of whether its needed or not, but what does this do for the Ten brand and its audience. Of what I saw last night, the rebrand of Channel One and Eleven to Boss and Peach respectively was explained and had a clear positioning for the network. As a media buyer this makes sense but what would this mean to your average viewer. Look, the reaction in the room was positive and applauds all round. The rebrand also provides Ten with consistency across its sub-brands and freshens the look and feel as they look to focus on the under 50s.

What are your thoughts on All Access?

So CBS are bringing across their All Access service to Australia. Another on demand service to a relatively small market. The difference here is CBS’s backing with a huge slate of content and technology, although, will need more than a few pieces of exclusive content to compete in what is already a very cluttered space. Personally, Im not convinced we need another on demand service in this market, but only time will tell.

Is lack of sport a big issue for you?

It’s a fact, Australians have a huge passion for sports but I don’t believe it’s a big issue. Ten will focus on the bigger and better content with all the millions they’re not investing into sport. However, I do question without a tier 1 sporting code, will this limit their ability to market their content and cross promote programs to new audiences. As they have successfully done with the BBL, other networks throughout summer with both cricket and tennis, have used sport as a launch pad.

Will you support Sunday Night Takeaway and Dancing with the Stars?

I’m excited for Sunday Night Takeaway. The content looked really fun and cheeky, albeit with Ant and Deck. If Julia and Dr Brown can bring the high energy and excitement to the show, I believe this will be really entertaining and I feel there will be a lot of flexibility for clients and their brands.

Are you happy with the Pilot Week selection?

The program reels were entertaining but I will reserve my thoughts on the selection. I look forward to seeing how each of these perform, especially by shock jock Kyle in Trial by Kyle.

Is there anything else you would have liked to have seen?

I would have liked to hear more about their data strategy. They touched on 3 million people in their data set, however didn’t share much more, other than they are ready to trade on addressable TV. It would also have been good to hear about the technology that they will bring over from CBS, especially on automation and the dynamic ad insertion tech.

Now you’ve seen all three, which upfronts were you most pleased with?

All very polished and what I had expected of an upfront/ all front.

ADVERTISEMENT

SUBSCRIBE

Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing