Ten looks to MCN deal to boost revenue but plays down taking up News Corp’s AFL game

The boss of Network Ten has played down the likelihood it will bid for the additional AFL game available to a free-to-air network despite the company’s close ties with News Corp.


Anderson: ‘we are having good discussions with media agencies ahead of 2016’

In an investment call CEO Paul Anderson also said while it had reported a $312m for the last financial year he was anticipating that vastly improving next year, as audiences improve and its new partnership with sales house MCN as part of its tie-up with Foxtel starts to land results

“There has been a lot of positive commentary around the Ten/MCN partnership and what that means and that is enabling us to talk about what MCN has, which is real data capability, and that is real cut through which can’t be matched anywhere in the market.

“Those (capabilities) have led to some very good discussions regarding (media) agency deals for next year, but underpinning all that has to be audience performance,” he said, emphasising how Ten had lifted its audience in 2015. 

“We have delivered a just under ten per cent increase in our main channel this year and when you incorporate that with the benefit you get with the MCN partnership that is very, very good.”

Asked whether Ten would be interested in buying one AFL match per round from News Corp Anderson said the issue would be around the price the media company wanted.

“In terms of AFL we have had no discussions with them around that free-to-air game,” said Anderson. “Clearly having an AFL game comes with advantages but the issue is how much you pay for it.

“We are open to having discussions on any sports rights. Clearly what we want are sports rights that give us a franchise and a game just by itself is more problematic than a franchise that gives you finals and lets you integrate across the year.”

Anderson was more bullish about the upcoming Big Bash cricket which is now heading into its third year on the free-to-air TV Network.

“We have had tremendous interest, he said.

Big_Bash_League_Logo.svg_“In terms of Big Bash this year will be the best schedule in terms of 39 games over 35 days. In terms of the stable of players there are more international players including six of the best West Indies players.”

Network Ten today posted a $312.2m loss for the 12 months to August 31 despite an improved ratings performance in 2015 with shows like Family Feud, Masterchef and The Bachelorette and The Bachelor.

While the overall loss is up on 2014’s $170m deficit, Ten (ASX: TEN) also reported an improvement in its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) which went from a $79.3m loss last year to a loss of $12m this year.

Source: Ten's investor presentation

Source: Ten’s investor presentation

Ten’s revenues increased 4.6 per cent to $629.3m while the TV network’s costs decreased 6.5 per cent. Meanwhile shares in the TV network have been put into in a trading halt and will remain so until Thursday as the company looks to accelerate a $77 million share placement, announced in June, for existing shareholders.

This share placement is in addition to the $77m Ten receives as part of Foxtel purchasing up to 15 per cent of the network at $0.15 per share.

The money is to be used to pay down debt and to invest in content with Ten reporting current net debt of $131.4m.

Anderson’s salary package will be $1.7m with options and other rights while chief programmer Beverley McGarvey received $1.19m when options and rights are exercised.

Former CEO Hamish McLennan received more than $8m in 2015 when options and rights are included.

Nic Christensen


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