McLennan: Ten will be the home of event TV

HamishCEO of the Ten Network, Hamish McLennan has declared he will change the station’s programming mix as the station chases an older demographic through a combination of sport and event TV.

McLennan told Mumbrella editor-in-chief Tim Burrowes about the station’s new focus on the 25-54 demographic and how it would lead to the network’s revival.

“We see the 25-54 demographic as the most important in the market, about 50 per cent of the population falls within that demo, we would have gone out of business if we had stayed with our traditional 16-39 year old demographic,” said McLennan.

“We were getting caught in a narrow band because of a lot of the viewers in that younger demographic are using PVR devices or are regular downloaders,” he said.

“The reality is that viewer in that (25-54) demographic are more stable and for us we want to be known as the home of great event TV.”

McLennan also criticised the former Ten regimes of Grant Blackley and James Warburton telling the audience “I wouldn’t have done the Negus project”, referring to Ten’s ill fated news program hosted by journalist George Negus.

“It cost a lot money and it was competing with Seven and Nine and we already have an audience for News at Five, which is very committed.”

He also told the audience the move to an older demographic should have happened earlier and that the network . “That younger demographic is just not watching TV the way they used to,” he said.

“We should have moved sooner and we should have launched (digital channel) Eleven before we launched One.”

The Ten network CEO also spoke about the process that went into the recent sports rights negotiations which saw them pick up the Big Bash league. 

We are delighted with the Big Bash and believe it is a format with a hell of a lot of potential and it is a foot in the door of more live sport that is incredibly important for a free to air network,” said McLennan.

“We always knew that Nine would do whatever it took to match the bid but we still had a red hot go at the internationals series and saw that the Big Bash wanted to be put on free to air TV.”

“So we felt confident in our bidding, Lachlan and I had a meeting with Cricket Australia people and saw how serious they were in timbering all the cricket together.”

“And so we picked a number that we thought was fair and reasonable and then added $20 million to it,” he joked.

He also spoke about the decision to pick up the rights for the Winter Olympics. 

“With the Winter Olympics we secured that at a really good price and we think we’ll be able to make some good money off the back of that.” he said.

“We are changing the whole programming mix of the business. We still think Australian drama is importance and we are maintain our commitment to that, but the past shows that what made Ten famous over the years was shows like Australian Idol and Big Brother.”

“The big format reality based shows are important from a client and product integration point of view. They are reliable, they are more immediate.”

Nic Christensen 


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