Nine entertainment director Hugh Marks (pictured above) is set to be announced the broadcaster’s new CEO when incumbent David Gyngell steps down in the coming months.
Although Marks’ appointment has not yet been made official it’s reportedly been all but rubber stamped by Nine’s board and, more importantly, he is reportedly Gyngell’s pick for the top job too.
The Australian is this morning reporting Marks’ elevation should be made official as early as this week. It’s likely that Gyngell will stay on at Nine in some capacity although his exact role has yet to be revealed.
Meanwhile, Fairfax Media has reported that there are other strong internal candiates for the role but it’s believed it’s Marks’ content experience that will get him across the line. Nine, it has been reported, believes it needs someone with excellent content experience rather than a sales background to help the network take on the likes of SVODs and even traditional competitors – Ten and Seven – who are becoming increasingly aggressive for market share.
Nine, of course, is in a JV with SVOD Stan, however it’s not exactly attracting the subscribers it hoped and is reportedly bleeding money.
Nine held its 2016 upfront last Wednesday where Gyngell was conspicuously absent.
Marks’ background is actually a legal one, however, he has spent most of his career working in media, most noticeably as CEO of production company Southern Star for seven years.
Arguably one of Mark’s first priorities will be to re-start the failed NRL rights talks. Nine bought the rights from 2018-2022 for $925 million in August but, in the process, cut News and Foxtel out of the deal. It’s believed that Nine will have to agree to forgo televising some live games to get Foxtel – and the $1 billion shortfall in rights revenues – back to the negotiating table.
Marks will also have to oversee Nine’s move from its traditional home in the Sydney suburb of Willoughby to new digs after the property was sold to Hong Kong developers in August for $147.5 million.
Nine has yet to make any official comment on Marks’ appointment.