Ten execs talk Australian Survivor sponsors and its MAFS match-up

Australian Survivor: Blood V Water, premieres Monday, 31 January at 7.30pm on Ten And 10 Play On Demand.

Ten ViacomCBS national sales director, Lisa Squillace, told Mumbrella the reality series has gone from strength-to-strength in terms of its sponsors and advertising offerings for it’s newly-themed seventh season.

“We [Ten] tend to adapt and create bespoke opportunities based on our clients objectives and briefs, but of course with that we are also constantly innovating across our digital and linear landscape creating new and exciting ways to capture our viewers’ attention,” Squillace admits. “We have a strong product. With our digital assets continuing to grow, demand for Total Television is increasing.”

In terms of sponsors for this season, Squillace said the network is excited to showcase some new brands, as well as welcome back returning affiliates.

“We’re excited to have KFC and Isuzu back, along with some new sponsors we are looking forward to showcasing, Set For Life, TK Maxx, and new partner Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ).”

Tate told Mumbrella this was the ‘hardest season’ the network has ever filmed. Source: Supplied

“The integration has been cleverly crafted to not only impact the contestants’ experience within the show but to also add significant jeopardy and entertainment for our viewers and Survivor fans at home,” she added.

Squillace explained why advertising during Survivor is so effective for brands is because the show’s audiences are “superfans” and are “highly engaged with the show”.

“We [Ten] know through our numerous sponsorship effectiveness research studies that Survivor audiences are in fact superfans. This translates to greater awareness, trust and purchase intent for sponsors who advertise during the show. We see this lift across not only brands who integrate within the editorial but also those who align within the commercial and digital space,” Squillace admitted.

Ten ViacomCBS head of entertainment, Stephen Tate told Mumbrella: “Survivor has a lot of super fans amongst the industry, so I think from a peer-voted point-of-view, we have a very good chance it could win or be nominated with this new season.”

This season’s filming took place in Charters Towers, in far-north Queensland, with production given a $3.9 million boost in Federal Government funding.

“We have had fantastic support from the Queensland Government, and so we have done two seasons in Queensland, and they’re both very, very different. The last season was filmed in Cloncurry, and that was very much an outback-themed series.

On set of Australian Survivor: Blood V Water filmed in Charters Towers, Queensland. Source: Supplied

“The red dirt, the beautiful sunsets, all of which were very much a character within the story. Now, for season seven, we’re in a very different environment. It’s classified as dry tropics, but in a way that’s a misdirect, because there was a lot of water. We had to go far enough inland in far north Queensland, so that there were no salt water crocodiles,” he added.

After being forced to cancel 2020’s second season, which was set to film in Fiji last April, and filming the sixth series during the age of the pandemic, Ten was well-aware of the dangers of filming while some restrictions were still in place.

“We didn’t have any major COVID-19 issues, but the plan Ten and Endemol Shine put in place was incredibly well executed,” Tate said. “The crew and the cast were all really respectful of it. We managed it really well.”

Tate added that this season was the “hardest season” to film to date. “If you ask Jonathan Lapaglia or any crew member, they would all say working on the last season we just wrapped up was definitely the hardest,” he said.

“I think the dynamic of the theme is the strongest message that we can get across. This is the best theme for the best format in the world and I cannot wait for Australia to see it,” he said. “ It’s the first time it’s been done in this market, and I think the fans are going to love it.”

In terms of format, Tate said due to the reality show’s huge success, the format will remain much like season six’s Brain vs Braun.

“Survivor is the best format ever created. Blood vs Water is the best theme. Why Survivor has lasted as long as it has, and is such a global success, is because it’s so identifiable,” he said. “It’s the game of life and it’s set in a really primal atmosphere.”

As for standing up against Nine’s Married at First Sight, Tate admitted the network isn’t worried that the show’s ratings won’t remain consistent and be able to stand on its own.

“I think we just stay in our own lane. Survivor has a really strong and loyal fan base. If you look at its performance when it started, it’s been incredibly consistent,” he said. “ We have an expectation internally that it will hold that audience. I’m quite confident because this season is going to deliver for both new fans and old fans alike.”

Ten’s ‘Brains v Brawn’ format for Australian Survivor last year brought in an average 752,000 metro viewers during its launch episode, which also won all three key advertising demos.

The premiere was up on the program’s 2020 launch, which brought in 624,000 metro viewers for Ten, as its ‘All Stars’ format struggled against linear ratings juggernaut Married At First Sight.

In 2019, 807,000 metro viewers for its premiere, which pitted Champions vs Contenders, while 716,000 tuned in for the launch episode in 2018.


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