Linear TV has changed and ‘editorial as advertising’ works, says Ticker’s Ahron Young

The way the industry thinks about linear TV and how it works with advertisers is changing, says Ticker’s founder Ahron Young.

Speaking with Mumbrella for this week’s Mumbrellacast, Young, whose business moved to a new office at the former  Melbourne GM Holden HQ this week, explains Ticker’s business model and why it went down a different path to traditional TV businesses.

Young established Ticker in 2019, bringing his experience as a reporter and bureau chief for Sky News to set up an entirely online news service. He says the challenges of building an audience for advertisers to get meaningful ROI, or pulling in enough subscribers to turn a profit, turned him off either of those ways of thinking.

“I had a phone call with a potential investor who said ‘we don’t like to invest in businesses that rely on advertising or on subscriptions’ which sounds crazy,” he says.

“So we decided that the best thing to do was to create partnerships and a business model which essentially turns the editorial into advertising. But in a really smart way that puts integrity on top of the roof.”

Ahron Young and COO Jed Bertalli at Ticker Park

From day one, the response in terms of pitches for Ticker Originals was massive, but even Young admits he was surprised about how successful the business model – built off the interviewees wanting to buy their interview clips after the fact – has been for the Ticker.

“On the first day we launched, we had over a thousand pitches. It was unbelievable. People wanted to be interviewed even if they had never heard of this channel before.

“If you’d said to me, ‘editorial as advertising’, I would have freaked out for a huge part of my career, but we have about 70 interviews a day and around half of those people buy their clips after they’ve done the interview.”

The key to remember is that the aforementioned interviews aren’t paid for in advance, but Ticker executes them in such a professional way that people generally frequently decide to buy them.

“After they’ve done the interview, they’re not forced to pay. We don’t charge them if they come on for an interview, but if they want the IP rights, if they want us to do their marketing, which we then do, that becomes a completely different story,” Young says.

Young points out that with linear television you need people in your sales team chasing and selling commercials which Ticker simply didn’t have the capacity for.

“One of the reasons I decided not to go down the path of advertising, and that isn’t to say that we won’t one day, but I can have a whole sales team trying to chase 30-second commercials.

“Or I can have journalists doing interviews and people buying their clips in the end. Well, the money looks the same colour to me.”

The Ticker Team with Ahron Young at the new ‘Ticker Park’ location

In a recent chat with a media agency boss, Young says he discovered that the agency was talking to clients about how television has changed, and they acknowledged the truth of the decline of overnight ratings, adding that the networks are trying to get rid of them.

But the commercial networks are in a bind, he explains, because the online and catch-up services aren’t as well-monetised, and until they are it will be hard to get rid of linear ratings.

“They acknowledged themselves that it has changed, that linear television networks are trying to get rid of overnight ratings. Once upon a time that would never happen.

“They rely more on 7Plus and 9Now and 10 Play. However, the problem is they aren’t able to get the same amount of revenue for advertising per eyeball on those streaming services TV compared to terrestrial original, free-to-air TV.

“And that is a huge challenge.”

Stay tuned to Mumbrella for our full chat with Ticker CEO Ahron Young, on this week’s Mumbrellacast.


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