Network 10 has made some significant announcements in the past few months, particularly with regard to its streaming and sports offerings. B&T sat down with 10 ViacomCBS’s chief Sales Officer Rod Prosser to discuss the changes.
Earlier this year, 10 ViacomCBS announced the introduction of another streaming service into the Australian market: Paramount+. Part of the offering will mean the end of 10’s other subscription service, 10 All Access, which will rebranded into the wider Paramount+ platform.
For Australian audiences, this is a significant branding shift, particularly as Paramount is perfect best known as a global film distributor.
Prosser said that the original branding of 10 All Access when it was launched “was right for the time”.
“Obviously, our business has gone through another significant merge and integration with Viacom. So the move to Paramount+ was obviously an evolution that followed the evolution of our business. For us Paramount+ made a whole lot more sense than 10 All Access and indeed, the Paramount+ branding is rolling out globally.”
In terms of whether Paramount+ would resonate with an Australian audience, Prosser said that Paramount, with its iconic mountain imagery, was already instinctively recognisable.
“Everyone’s seen it in the show they watch…or the end frames, or before they go and sit and watch a movie.”
Prosser was also clear on the advantages of the platform for Network 10.
“This is a really critical component of our business,” he explained.
“It gives us scale and it also gives us an opportunity for new revenue source to come into the business. We’re really fortunate in the fact that we’ve got a business, a global business, that invests heavily in making its own content and acquiring content.”
The crucial advantage, he emphasised, was the “solid pipe of content feeding the service”, and being part of a large business that could support that content stream.
As well as Paramount+, one of the most significant – and perhaps most surprising – announcements of 10’s has been its deal with Football Australia. The $300 million broadcast deal will see all the Australian National Teams and FFA Cup matches broadcast across 10, and on Paramount+.
But how successful will its positioning as the new home of football be?
Prosser was confident.
“The initial feedback that we’ve received from not only brands, but also fans and viewers of the sport. is that it really feels like we’re putting the fans first, and therefore the viewers first,” he said.
“It’ll be across multiple distribution platforms. But really, there is one location, one place, you come and talk about football, and that’s 10ViacomCBS…The great thing for us when we talk about the monetisation of the content is that we can actually talk to partners and have a very different strategic conversation around how they activate and how they sponsor.”
“The other part to that is, because it’s a question that a lot of people are asking is, how are we are we taking Paramount Plus into the market from a sponsor point of view, well indeed we will be. So there will be an element within the package that will give advertisers access to Paramount plus in that specific piece of content, for that sport content.”
10’s recent appointment of a director of sports sales also seems to indicate a growing investment in the area. Prosser was more coy on the question of whether viewers will see the AFL or NRL on 10 in the future, but made clear that the network is always looking towards expanding their imprint on the sports market.
“What we’ve always said, and we’ll continue to say [is] that we have always looked at sporting rights as they’ve come available, and I don’t think that will ever change. This particular sport really presented an opportunity for us that we just thought it was just a great asset that we could arguably own and work with both the APL (Australian Premier Leagues( and FA (Football Australia) and really amplify it.”
“That’s the opportunity, because I think the reality is, where there’s access to the fans and viewers, we’ll have access to more games across more platforms.”
Earlier this year, in their upclose, 10 firmly positioned itself as a youth network, highlighting in particular its stances on diversity and inclusion.
“First and foremost, for us, it’s really important. [Diversity and inclusion is] a core pillar of our business,” Prossed said. He believed that 10’s emphasis on diversity was appealing to brands, who are increasingly discerning.
“We’ve got the voice, broadcasters and media have the voice, we’ve got the opportunity to represent all Australians, and obviously their stories…we’ve got to raise the conversation, not lower the bar.”
“The amount of conversations I’ve had post our up-close presentation around this particular subject has been huge. I know it is important to brands, and it’s going to be even more important not just to brands, but also big, multinational agencies.”
Finally, Prosser discussed how 10 was differentiating itself from the other network in terms of programming.
“Things that work on our network may not work on on other networks…the way I look at it sometimes is we don’t take ourselves all too seriously. You know, we can have a laugh and I think that the audience appreciates that. Oftem, we ourselves [are] the butt of jokes of our shows. I think that’s important! You’ve got to be true to who you are.”
“You think about all those shows whether it’s Have You Been Paying Attention?, Gogglebox or Cheap Seats: you’ve got to allow them to have freedom to be creative, and that doesn’t mean excluding us out of it.”
“We will always explore content, and I think it’s just what’s right for the slot and the network….all of our content is there to entertain and if it has a point of difference, we’re winning.”
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