10 Upfronts: Starcom, Zenith & Amplifi on 10’s rebrand, programming

“It was refreshing to see a year’s worth of content planned out to address a 50-week schedule.”

Media buyers from major agency networks have been reporting for Mediaweek during the 2019 Upfront season.

Toby Barbour, Starcom Australia CEO

Starcom Australia CEO Toby Barbour

10 produced an entertaining evening reinforcing the new brand refresh, new era and clear positioning. There was a strong, clear message to make 10 bigger with the global CBS partnership combined and local differentiation to target the young at heart, and to own young audience engagement across platforms with active brand conversations.

The presentation was colourful, bold, confident and the word of the night was “bigger”.

10 addressed the BBL loss head-on in a humorous and practical way – that is, “we have money to spend”.

It was refreshing to see a year’s worth of content planned out to address a 50-week schedule.

I’m glad to see the back of “Seriously” and a more light-hearted, entertaining tone taken.

10 was confident to reflect on Pilot Week and the fact it owns the “virtual water cooler” with 67% more social activity.

10 is proud to call on CBS expertise scale and technology.

If 10 can translate all this into consistent, cross-platform audience delivery, it is onto a winner.

Anthony Ellis, Zenith Chief Investment Officer

The 10 Network Upfronts were very entertaining, with an amazing start to the show! As always, 10 did a great job.

The message was clear from the outset that 10 was prepared to spend and had significant budget to invest in quality content as a result of its parent company CBS. It was very clear that it was an Australian network powered by the scale of a global company, which instils confidence that 10 will be very competitive.

In a very short period of time Rod Prosser has built a talented sales team with a good framework of products such as 10 Imagine, 10 Effect, 10 Exchange and 10 Interactive along with the announcement that CBS DNA is slated to launch in 2020, which on the surface is impressive.

As with any transition of this size and scale, which involves completely rebuilding a sales team along with products, it will take time. While I am sure the market will be supportive as it is in everyone’s interest to have a healthy 10, its competitors won’t be and it is important that 10 moves quickly.

In regards to content, it was very evident that with the lack of sport, limited proven marquee programming and the reliance on new programs, the content slate across the year carries risk for 10.

The first quarter is of particular concern with no Big Bash, which in the past has provided not only a solid start to the year for advertisers but a good platform for 10 to promote its content. This – coupled with the launch of Dancing with the Stars, a format that was retired by Seven previously, and a new show in the form of Sunday Night Takeaway, which could be a great success though again it is untested – creates significant challenges especially when it is expected that both Seven and Nine will have a strong start to the year.

Louise Romeo, General Manager – NSW & Queensland, Amplifi

Network 10 had a good balance of showcasing returning and new programming, which will feature in its 2019 schedule to attract both audiences and advertisers. Its focus to revamp a number of existing shows may help reinvigorate these franchises for a new audience.

The absence of cricket within its sporting lineup leaves a gap and, given Australians’ passion for sport, this puts 10 in a challenging position to preserve YOY audiences especially across Q1.

In saying that, 10 offered a number of other viewing options to appeal to broader audiences interested in both entertainment and lifestyle. 10 was true to its form in ensuring both 10 Peach and 10 Boss are distinctive in their tone and demographics as part of their rebrand. The success of these channels will be based on their content and, despite making these brands more contemporary, the strategy is largely driven by international properties.

10 also had a number of bold initiatives such as Pilot Week, new local scripted series as well as the acquisition of new properties through its CBS partnership to set it apart within the Australian market.

10 All Access, launching in December, is another streaming service in an already cluttered catalogue. However, the true indication of its success will be how it uses the CBS technology, expertise and original content to draw audiences to the platform.

Complemented with 10’s fresh and invigorated sales team and its platform-agnostic structure, 10 should be expected to deliver client-centric solutions through how they think, behave and insights they share around their audiences and platforms.

Ten definitely shared a lot of news with an air of confidence and optimism about 2019 – promising to be bigger and better. There was a good balance of information around 10’s investment into premium content, technology, a brand refresh as well as its backing from one of the most successful broadcasters in the US – CBS.

It is clear it has a consistent while distinctive strategy for all of its assets while not forgetting its heritage and tone of voice as the network with attitude and an irreverent personality. It was a refreshing change and its content gave us just enough to tease us around its strategy but left us wanting more around its roadmap, specifically around digital and data and how we can best execute this for our clients.

10 acknowledged the shift to digital is a structural challenge, not just a younger demo thing. 10’s demonstration of its move away from a legacy TV network to a platform-agnostic brand focusing on digital and data promises a new era. At Amplifi, we embrace a platform-agnostic approach to planning video campaigns through our TV Stack methodology. This allows us to focus an audience-first, platform-second philosophy and truly deliver fluid video strategies for our clients. This is a positive step to allow us to work with our clients to connect further with their audiences across all platforms.

10’s biggest highlight was it did not take itself too seriously and the celebrity factor still has its sparkle. 10 was energetic, entertaining and promised to reinvent itself in 2019. For Amplifi, we would have liked to have seen more information around automation and more detail around its digital and data partnerships. An exciting showcase definitely set the tone going into 2019.

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