Ten targets small businesses with discounted ad packages, share price falls to record low

Ten intensify brochureNetwork Ten has started a major push centred on small and medium businesses offering heavily discounted advertising packages which include the creation of a TV commercial, starting from $1,185 per month.

The initiative by Ten’s chief sales officer Louise Barrett sees the network writing to potential SME advertisers offering the network’s “Intensify” marketing seminars as a way for “business owners, managers and marketing executives” to better understand the “power of television” and “secure special seminar-only advertising packages” at “airtime discounts of at least 65 per cent”.

The move comes as today Ten’s share price hit a record low of 23.2 cents at 11.30am, but Barrett told Mumbrella that the program was nothing new: “We used to do this at Channel Nine and ACP as well.”

The letter to small business owners (click to expand)

The letter to small business owners (click to expand)

“Our program however, is much better,” Barrett quipped.  “This is a direct acquisition program and it generates direct business for the station, introducing new clients to the station who wouldn’t normally consider television because they think it is out of their price realm.”

The marketing material included in the letter tells small business owners that “finally you can afford to see yourself on TV” with the Intensify seminar RSVP website detailing how “TV advertising is now truly affordable with these fully inclusive packages starting from just $4,300 per month in Sydney, $3,495 in Melbourne, $2,430 in Brisbane, $1,185 in Adelaide and $1,725 in Perth.”

It also notes the packages “are normally reserved for big companies with big marketing budgets.”

Barrett said that despite the smaller budgets and acquisition costs of these smaller business clients the initiative was proving a boost for the network, particularly with unsold inventory.

“A lot of it is selling inventory that is not your prime time inventory. It is more about your multi-channels and off peak inventory,” she said.

“But it gives people an opportunity – they get a commercial produced free of charge, they get the same schedule every month and they can choose whether they buy it over six months, 12 months whatever. It is one simple easy regular payment for them and actually works.”

As part of the sales initiative Ten has been holding seminars over September and October in Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Sydney’s CBD and also in Sydney’s west in Parramatta.

Ten’s letter to potential advertisers also states that even at the discounted package prices agencies will still receive their agency commissions, discounts which are given to an agency based on their client’s spending power.

“Bring your clients, or come on their behalf – normal agency commissions apply to all INTENSIFY packages,” the letter states.

The TV network also notes that the packages include the production and creative costs of producing a 15 second television commercial. “Our creative team will be onsite to discuss how we can produce an advertising campaign for your business. All packages include a professionally produced TV commercial,” the website says.

CarAs part of the sales initiative Ten is also giving away a new Mercedes Benz C-Class, valued at $60,900, to one seminar attendee.

“We have had a great retention rate with this program as people see they get results and they come back,” said Barrett. “We have had an amazing response in Perth and Adelaide so far and we start in Melbourne next week, Brisbane the week after that and Sydney the week after again.

“What we tend to get with these is a lot of radio clients who have advertised on radio and think they can’t afford television and this gives us an opportunity to introduce them to the power of television and they keep returning because television works and Channel Ten works.”

In the last three months Ten’s shares has fallen from a high of 0.29 cents to today’s low of 23.2 cents.

Ten has previously argued that the numbers provided by Google Finance, Yahoo Finance  and ninemsn finance are incorrect because they do not take into account the effect of last year’s two capital raisings which saw hundreds of millions of new shares created, and that in fact the real share price low, adjusted, was the equivalent of 22 cents.

The decline in share price comes despite the network achieving some growth in both its total people and 25 to 54 audiences, with improved performances for franchises like Masterchef and The Bachelor and the decision the bring back game show Family Feud.

At the time of publication Ten’s shares were trading at 23.5 cents, giving it a market capitalisation of $631m. Last year’s capital raising saw the company get a  $200m injection from its biggest shareholders including Gina Rinehart, James Packer and Lachlan Murdoch.

Nic Christensen 


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