Media buyers remain pessimistic about Ten’s future despite cuts

Wake UpMedia buyers have described Ten’s move to axe morning breakfast show Wake Up as unsurprising but hold little hope for a turnaround in the beleaguered station’s fortunes anytime soon.

Ten announced the cuts to Wake Up, early, morning and late news bulletins yesterday, with up to 150 staff affected and a voluntary redundancy round already in progress. Eyewitness News at 5pm will continue.

From Monday early news and Wake Up will be replaced by repeats of Ready, Steady Cook, Entertainment Tonight, The Bold and the Beautiful and Jamie’s 30 Minute Meals, while morning news will be a repeat of Masterchef Australia, and late news with Blue Bloods.

One senior media buyer bluntly told Mumbrella they were not shocked by the news yesterday given Wake Up had limped along with dismal ratings of between 30-40,000 daily viewers since it launched in November 2013.

“Am I surprised? No. What will they do next? I am curious. Is there an instant fix? No,” he said.

“The signal [they are sending] is they are retreating from something that is not working – its really hard to turn something around, people have tried and there was a huge marketing effort, however the first few weeks were not ideal and the momentum never came.”

The depth of cuts to news, the third round in five years for the department, despite it providing the network with some of its more successful shows, with the 5pm Eyewitness News regularly its top-rating show in recent months.

Industry speculation had suggested news was an “easy target” with persistent rumours of a buy-out of the network by News Corp, which would potentially allow Ten to leverage the resources from one of Australia’s biggest news organisations.

Both Ten and News Corp have both consistently rejected there is any deal in the pipeline. Ten is expected to invest money saved into prime-time shows and could also take a tilt at bidding for more sports rights.

However, one buyer was quick to dismiss that speculation, saying no-one knew yet knew what would happen with changes to cross media ownership and who would buy what in the media landscape.

“The speculation around the relaxation of media ownership is a much bigger question on anything to do with cutting Wake Up – it’s got nothing to do with this,” they added.

Ten hired Adam Boland, the wunderkind behind Seven’s Sunrise, to launch the new breakfast offering, along with his other creation, Studio 10, almost a year to the day after the network axed the ill-fated Breakfast show co- hosted by New Zealander Paul Henry.

Another media buyer said the network was in the unenviable position of desperately needing ratings but was foundering without a strong platform from which to promote its best shows.

“I’m interested to see what they do next – it’s expensive to get traction on a new show without a lot of marketing dollars or a big existing audience to cross-promote to.”

He also suggested the news and current affairs space was already over catered to and that the network should be looking at something completely different in the early time slot.

“I’d go different we don’t need another news program”, he said.

“I’d counter program, I’d create a different need, there’s lots of unmet needs out there.”

Robert Burton-Bradley



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