Media Chiefs Dissect 10’s Upfronts

Media Chiefs Dissect 10’s Upfronts

It was Network 10’s turn to strut its annual Upfronts yesterday (read B&T’s reporting here) and content was definitely the order of the day.

Dating shows are again front and centre of 10’s content slate, while the broadcaster has also secured the rights to the FA Cup alongside the A-League Men’s and Women’s season, confirming moves it is seriously amping up its sports offerings.

Still, what did agency land make of yesterday’s announcements? To find out, B&T asked them and here’s what they had to say:

Stefan Boden, group investment director, PHD Australia

TenViacomCBS’s Upfronts brought the curtain down on the FTA Upfronts. They signalled that they are leading the way to be a progressive and inclusive entertainment and content business.  Dynamic e-Trading Placement and Happy Hour are set to enhance 10 Play’s roadmap for 2022. 10 Play’s Happy Hour will enhance the viewing experience. Having the ability to showcase a brand while linking its message to an ad-free viewing hour coupled with a 60-second branded commercial and adjacent tag, Happy Hour is a really interesting innovation. The TenViacomCBS team have a clear plan for growth in 2022 and further advancements to their app will only strengthen the viewer experience.  Overall lots of announcements and it was well done!

Sarah Starkey, Sydney investment officer, Wavemaker  

It is clear 10 ViacomCBS are still focused and dedicated in targeting the younger audiences. Their content channels boast the youngest audience across any commercial network and look to do so again in 2022. Their ever-growing list of tried and tested programming – I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here, Survivor, MasterChef Australia, The Bachelor / Bachelorette, The Masked Singer Australia, The Project, Dog House, Gogglebox and Have You Been Paying Attention? Continue to dominate this audience across linear but also, 10Play which has only gone up in viewership in 2021 (16 per cent).

10Play enhances their BVOD offering with announcing their partnership with LiveRamp, which will use first party data and targeting insights. It will allow our clients to bring their own data sets to life to inform media buying and measurement.

10Play will also contribute two new ad formats – Dynamic e-Trade Placement (an e-commerce solution whereby creative messaging can be constantly changed throughout the day) and Happy Hour (allows one partner to advertise within an otherwise ad free hour of viewing). Both of these give new ways for brands to integrate in ways that appeal to viewers.

ViacomCBS also premiered new series of Hunted Australia (very keen to watch this one!), Would I Lie to You? Australia and First Dates Australia. Football is ViacomCBS’ key sports offering and it will be broadcast across Network 10 and Paramount+. What will be most exciting in 2022 is the FA Cup added to A League content giving even more for soccer fans to follow.

Paramount + had its big launch this year and will be even more exciting entering into 2022 with appealing advertising opportunities  available within the football and branded content opportunities in local productions.

Content-wise it’s filled with high quality locally produced content (such as Couples Therapy Australia, Spreadsheet, Five Bedrooms, The Last King of The Cross and 6 Festivals (also my pick to watch) but also international content from CBS, plus Nickelodeon and MTV. There’s much to be excited about!

Mat Rawnsley, head of connections & media , The Hallway

If you didn’t know Rod Prosser, you would want to after seeing the incredible range of local and international talent resources employed for his elaborate introduction spiel. It was very entertaining, and like most of this whole presentation it was very on-brand. Which is a great thing, because it’s imperative 10 has a superior identity and brand behaviour to that of Seven and Nine given their lack of, in particular, tentpole live sport but more importantly, because of their under 50’s focus. I found this upfront the most consistent in its vision and the way it engaged me.

Paramount + does really help round out their multiscreen offering. 10 Play’s viewer-first initiatives are smart, and worth talking about. Liveramp is compelling if you’ve got the 1st party data to integrate, but so many mid-level advertisers still don’t have the capability of doing that meaningfully. The new dynamic e-trade placements could be fantastic, from both a direct response perspective but also from a contextual brand-led one. The global product, tapping into the ViacomCBS world – especially in the US, is a nice differentiator and no doubt pretty handy for plenty of Australian brands.

The content? It was the usual feast of reality TV – ranging from the quality (think MasterChef) to the cheesy (no thinking required). Some dependable raters there, no doubt. New local series The Hunted – regular folks trying to avoid capture from expert hunters in an urban jungle – will either be superb or shithouse.

There looks like being significantly more local drama content than the other networks, which is fantastic and much needed. Though there’s a blurring of what’s on 10 vs Paramount +, so it wasn’t 100 per cent clear. Spreadsheet has been getting a lot of promotion, which is good to see. Plus some above average US and UK content. The Project and HYBPA? are important inclusions on the Australian TV landscape, and a local adaptation of Would I Lie To You will likely be another quality panel show – us Gen Xers love ‘em.

Overall, 10 is offering plenty of reasons for potential cord-cutters that aren’t sport obsessed to stick with commercial FTA TV for a bit longer.

Ngita Bowers, buying director, Kaimera

It was impressive to see 10’s investment in scripted programming more so than the other networks. For instance a third season of Five Bedrooms, The Last King of King’s Cross, and a new program aimed at targeting the under 40’s.

From a linear perspective, it seems like they’re playing it relatively safe. However, it was great to see more from Sport. 10 Play and Paramount+ secured the Emirates FA Cup, A-League Men’s and Women’s season, a fantastic win for the Network.

So many clients still buy for the 25-54 age group. In fact, there’s a bit of a push to go older, because TV does skew older. There’s a real opportunity for 10 to capitalise on that younger more unique audience. The network is doing it to some degree, but I think there’s a lot of room for them to improve and get that lion’s share.

Justine Butler, media director, Media Merchants

It’s great to see 10 ViacomCBS continue to play to their strengths, with strong content that offers the consistency we expect, such as MasterChef, The Project and Australian Survivor, and a few new additions that should appeal to their viewers including Hunted Australia and Would I Lie to You? Australia.  We’re eager to see how our clients can utilise Dynamic eTrading Placements with 10Plus, as retail continues to need adaptable and agile channel partners.”

Sam Buchanan, general manager, IMAA

Proudly owning the youngest Australian network crown, Ten’s Upfronts had a heavy content focus with proven favourites and new local shows, which is good to see, along with a strong investment in sports and youth programs with the backing of Viacom CBS and the new Paramount+. The independent media agency sector will definitely be interested in more information on Ten’s new targeting offerings, 10 Play’s Dynamic e-Trading Placements and Happy Hour, plus integration opportunities for clients.”

Alice Rex, activation director, Half Dome

10 started strong by announcing significant growth across the last 18 months, now reaching more than 15 million Aussies each month. You can’t deny that they are a power player when it comes to video, connecting to everyone across their TV, streaming, digital, and consumer platforms and most recently successfully launching their SVOD service Paramount+.

The network was keen to solidify their position as the youngest network stating their primetime viewers are five years younger than their counterparts. Their programming looks strong for 2022, reinforcing this position with premium and family friendly shows, including four of the Top 10 shows in the country. Returning heavy hitting favourites include, I’m a Celeb, Survivor, Would I Lie To You and MasterChef. Covering all entertainment bases, sport partnerships are going to be big for Ten in 2022. Football was a big one continuing with the A League partnership as well as drawing new audiences with The FA Cup.

Tina Gavros, general manager – trading, PMX

The Ten Viacom CBS Upfronts did not disappoint. The dynamic e-trade placements via 10Play will be an attractive platform for clients, particularly with the significant focus right now on ecommerce. Outside of the programming on linear tv, the content on Paramount + looks very strong – with the mix of locally produced, and non-reality tv programming. Further to that, it is great to see sport returning to the Ten ecosystem, as we know sport is a known key driver of audiences.

Daniel Bradley, head of investment – media, CHE Proximity

After both Nine and Seven had their turns to kick-off their respective 2022 schedule, it was Network Ten’s chance to roll out their slate for next year.

After the requisite montage intro of famous talent around the world, the event kicked off with a focus on their DEI initiatives which I found to be a refreshing introduction versus jumping straight into the world of programming. And something 10 sure looks to be actively supporting in a number of areas, as they highlighted initiatives around gender equality, sustainability and Indigenous internship opportunities that they currently are undertaking.

The focus on the power of program integration was a smart one and something that aligns to their solid locally produced line-up that offers many of these opportunities for brands as the showreel highlighted. It is something that 10 really does well, speaking from experience. Their 2022 line-up of returning shows on the main channel, which I did feel played it very safe, will continue to bring in their core audience plus appeal to those brands that are after deeper integration.

The presentation was certainly heavy on the Paramount+ updates. 10’s shiniest new toy was centre stage and the new content additions plus commissioned programming for the SVOD service will grow that user base. Rod alluded to the platform offering “unique integration opportunities”, does that mean we are going to see advertising introduced in the near future?  Some clarity here would be great as this would be of immense benefit to advertisers.

I did like the idea of the “Happy Hour”. A similar format to Spotify where BVOD viewers can watch a solus ad initially in exchange for an ad-free viewing hour. Speaking purely as a consumer this is something that would improve my experience with the platform rather than having to see the same ad four times during my catchups of The Batchelor.

Ten’s sport line-up did look stronger than it has for the past few years too, bringing back the A League’s broadcast to the network gives it a popular code to align with, plus the addition of International matches and the FA Cup from the UK round out a football focussed strategy. That paired with new NBL broadcast rights they have make for a sport schedule with some good variety, one that has been a bit light on since the BBL moved from the network after the 2017/2018 season.

Interestingly there was nothing to say about cross-platform buying (and integrating VOZ data) across Ten’s TV and digital ecosystem, something Nine and Seven both spent a lot of time on. The dream of a single marketplace housing all networks inventory powered by VOZ data seems unlikely for now, however it would be interesting to hear more from Ten about how it intends to move in line with its network competitors and see how Buy 10 evolves over time.

All-in-all 2022 does look to be another strong year for the network. The mostly returning programming line-up has delivered this in 2021and will continue to appeal to the slightly younger audience 10 attracts versus their free-to-air rivals. And the growth of viewership of Paramount+ will increase the overall reach that 10 ViacomCBS delivers.


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10 Upfronts network 10

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