Seven boss admits TV has been a ‘bit off’ with content

The CEO of Seven West Media has admitted the TV industry has been a “bit off” in terms of content in recent years; however, he said he is optimistic about the future.

Tim Worner:

Worner: “There are better shows on the way, we were just a bit off”

Speaking at today’s ThinkTV industry body ‘ReThinkTV Marketing Forum’, Tim Worner said: “The past couple of years for TV shows – I don’t reckon we’ve been at our best as an industry.

“I feel as though we’ve been through better periods, and better periods will come because we’ve shown a propensity to adapt as a medium and we’re going to do that again.

“There are better shows on the way, I’m quite confident of that. We were just a bit off. That happens.

“We haven’t been at our best. We’ve been through some great periods of television in Australia.”

“Maybe the past couple of years we haven’t been where we have been at times over the past couple of decades. That doesn’t mean we’re not going to be there again, we are going to be there agin.

“We’ve shown as an industry that we can look at the way the witches’ hats are configured and we can start to change.”

Worner dismissed suggestions that Seven has easily won ratings against its competitors as a result.

“There is nothing easy about competing with these guys; there shouldn’t be,” Worner told media seated on the sidelines at the event.

Peter Tonagh, Foxtel CEO, argued that the television industry has failed to innovate fast enough.

Peter Tonagh:

Tonagh: “We haven’t adapted to the changing needs of our customers”

“We haven’t innovated fast enough, we haven’t adapted to the changing needs of our customers,” he said.

The TV CEOs argued that TV provides advertiser with transparency and accurate measurement, unlike many of its digital competitors.

Nine Entertainment CEO, Hugh Marks, said: “If you’re an advertiser, you want transparency – you should demand it – and accurate transparency. Our measurement is laser-like, it is absolutely accurate to the moment of audiences consuming our content.

“I would challenge all other media to measure themselves the same way we do.”

Referencing the recent measurement issues that social media giant Facebook has been plagued with, Tonagh said: “I find it almost inconceivable that someone can be out by 55% and there’s not outrage across the industry. If our measurement systems were out by 55%, we’d be hammered. ”

Worner quipped: “What do you think would happen if we were out by 50%? These guys would kill us!”

Paul Anderson, Ten Network CEO, argued the TV industry needs to “change the dialogue”.

Anderson: "Disappointed"

Paul Anderson: Talking about TV isn’t cool

“We have real examples of where we have advertisers spend 80% of their money on television yet they walk about the corridors of their business talking about digital, because that’s the cool thing,” he said.

“We need to change that. We need to find a way to make talking about TV cool.”

The panel also discussed the need for more diversity in the industry.

Tonagh said: “Clearly we have a very diverse audience, we need to make sure our management teams and the staff reflect that diversity.”

Nine’s Marks claimed Nine’s senior management team is 50/50 male to female.

Hugh Marks:

Hugh Marks: “The days of the so-called ‘boys club’ are long gone”

“We have a very good gender balance. Will we have a better ethnic balance over time? We’ll see. We’re seeing more ethnicity on the television.  The days of the so-called ‘boys club’ are long gone, or certainly coming to an end,” he said.

Speaking with media at the sidelines of the event, Marks said the the networks could work together to better prove the effectiveness of TV as a medium, despite Seven and Nine’s recent conflict over Today and Sunrise.

“Absolutely we can work together. It’s imperative,” he said.

“It won’t stop the odd skirmish because we’re very competitive organisations and there will be things from time to time that we need to address but on this core issue of the effectiveness of the platform, we’re absolutely united.”


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