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Ten launches Ten Daily as it attempts to claw back digital audiences from rivals

Network Ten has launched its online news and short-form video play, with Ten Daily finally going live today.

Ten general manager of digital, Liz Baldwin, said new owner CBS was supportive of the long-awaited move, and that the site would help the network take some ownership back of the social chatter and digital noise around its programming. 

The Ten Daily launch team: Sandra Sully, Lisa Wilkinson, Melinda Cornford, Liz Baldwin

In recent years, sites such as Mamamia, BuzzFeed and Punkee have leveraged off the success of some Ten programs and their audience engagement – particularly those within The Bachelor franchise – with episode recaps, listicles of amusing tweets and video summaries.

Baldwin said whilst this additional publicity and engagement from rival media organisations was ultimately beneficial to the programs’ profiles, Ten could now own more of this noise, and command more of the audience.

“I think that their coverage really talks to how noisy and talkative and viral our shows are, and any other media outlet that wants to help celebrate our shows, we welcome their participation in the social landscape on that front,” she said.

“But yes, we absolutely want to take back some of that noise ourselves. We think it’s a real opportunity for us, because the one thing that we have is exclusive access. So we’re happy for them to go forward with their recaps, but we’ve got The Bachelor and we’ve got Osher [Gunsberg] and we’ve got the access that they don’t have.”

The launch had been anticipated by some industry insiders for earlier this year, with speculation it would coincide with Bachelor in Paradise, which premiered on March 26 to 750,000 metro viewers.

Ten Daily had actually first been flagged way back in November 2016 at the network’s upfronts, when it was touted as a “stand-alone, full-service, mobile-first” website, offering short-form news, entertainment, lifestyle, sport and parenting content.

It was confirmed late last year, again at the upfronts, but no official start date was given.

So, why now? Baldwin said the programming is in place to support the platform.

Baldwin: The tone of Ten Daily will be a real point of difference

“Well I think the timing is right with all of the shows that we’ve got coming up on our schedule. We’ve just launched Masterchef. We’ve got a few really noisy shows coming up and we’re just keen to get out there,” she said.

In the time between the initial announcement and the actual launch, Ten has made a series of appointments, particularly in recent months.

Lisa Wilkinson – who defected from Nine’s television breakfast program, Today, and joined The Project back in October – was announced as executive editor in December.

In February, project lead on Ten Daily, Mel Cornford, was promoted to managing editor.

In March, Ten stalwart and presenter of Ten Eyewitness News First at Five Sandra Sully became managing news editor of the site.

The appointments, Baldwin promised, are not ornamental, with on-air talent such as Wilkinson and Sully becoming key drivers behind Ten Daily’s operations.

“They will actually be driving the product. Lisa [Wilkinson] as our executive editor has been working closely with Mel Cornford, who is our managing editor, really helping to drive the editorial flavour and direction of the site. She will be using the platform as a way of extending what she does on The Project, as well as showing how multi-faceted she is, both as a journalist and as a human being.

“Sandra [Sully], as our managing news editor, is actively involved every single day, driving the news coverage, sending through story ideas. Sandra’s always been a bit of a trail blazer in the digital media space, and this has been something I think she has been waiting to get her hands on for a long time – so she’s actively involved.”

The site will broadly target 18 to 39 year-olds, many of whom are already fans of Ten programs, she said. Existing engagement with Ten’s traditional broadcast platform, however, isn’t a prerequisite for using Ten Daily, according to Baldwin.

“The content that we create is widely reported on the news sites that are already in their repertoire, so we feel like they will be fans of our shows. But that’s not necessarily a requirement, because we will also be about news, entertainment, topical stories, things that people are talking about right now,” she said.

But what of Ten Play – Ten’s existing streaming and catch-up service?

Baldwin said both Ten Play and Ten Daily can co-exist without encroaching on each other’s territory. They will, she argued, complement, rather than cannibalise, each other.

“Ten Play will continue to do what it does very well. It will remain our home of live catch up and our live streaming service. It’s still the official home of our on-air shows in terms of catch-ups and contestant profiles or voting information or whatever comes along with those particular shows.

“Ten Daily sets out to do something very different.

Ten Play: Not in danger, according to the network

“Ten Play is a late prime-time offering and we sort of peak after broadcast prime time, so post 9 o’clock is when Ten Play really gets its most traffic, where as Ten Daily sets out to be something that people consume from breakfast to bed time. It’s more about the short, snackable, mobile-optimised stuff. It’s highlights, short-form content over and above anything long form. It will certainly support and point to broadcast, and it will have links back and forth between Ten Play and Ten Daily, but the Daily offering is very very different. It’s more about news, entertainment, topical stories and short-form video.”

The platform will leverage off Ten’s existing on-air talent, including the likes of Waleed Aly, Angela Bishop, Joe Hilebrand and Sarah Harris, who will contribute content.

Success, according to Baldwin, will including having contributors lining up to be featured on Ten Daily, and an audience who seeks out the content.

“I think having a really strong contributing roster of really great names would be one [marker of success]. I think having people clamour to be on our site because we’re providing them a path to a really interesting and engaged younger audience.

“At the same time, hopefully we will have established that we’re a really credible place for people to appear with us as well. And also, just the place where the audience that we’re targeting feel like it’s a place where they can be where they’re having time well spent. They can get some straight-up news reporting, but they can also get some stories about great humans and upbeat things-  how to give back in the community,” she said. 

Metrics and raw numbers, however, are more likely to be used as a yard stick for success than the number of bylines or names associated with a product – so Baldwin said in one year’s time, the network is hoping to have an average monthly audience of 600,000.

To help the site get started, Ten will support Ten Daily with an extensive advertising campaign including promoted social posts, outdoor advertising and the “massive megaphone” it has “in the form of a broadcast network”, Baldwin said.

According to a media release from the network, Ten Daily will offer brands ample video advertising opportunities across news, entertainment and lifestyle verticals.

It will also, according to the release, have a “number of innovative advertising opportunities”, led by Ten Stories, the network’s native proposition.

Fusion Health is Ten Daily’s launch partner. As part of the launch, site visitors can win a trip to Byron Bay.

And even though the platform is entering an increasingly crowded digital space – with Nine and Seven’s digital plays also ramping up, as well as that of non-broadcast competitors – Baldwin said Ten Daily can still carve out a niche and stand apart.

“I think competition for a network comes to us from many different angles. So, yes, we will be competing digitally in a sense [with the likes of Seven and Nine], but we’re tying to do something a little bit different to them. So we aim to be a little bit more useful, but we’re also aiming to be upbeat and positive.

“So, I think the tone of Ten Daily will be a real point of difference for us. So we’re not aiming to go head to head. Network Ten has always been the network that tries to do something different. We’ve always tried to be brighter, younger and louder and that’s what we’re going to try and do with Ten Daily as well.”

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