Beverley McGarvey on the highs and lows of the Network 10 content slate in 2021


• McGarvey discusses what the broadcaster was most happy about and where they can improve

November 28 marked the end of the TV ratings survey for 2021, and with that, the commercial broadcaster’s results are locked in. Seven, Nine, and 10 have all had victories in their own ways in a closely contested year.

Mediaweek caught up with  Beverley McGarvey, the executive vice president and chief content officer for ViacomCBS Australia and New Zealand about how the broadcaster feels about its results this year.

“We have a lot to be happy about,” said McGarvey. “We had a really strong start with I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, Amazing Race and Survivor. We had great 8:30 shows with Have You Been Paying Attention?, Gogglebox, and we launched The Cheap Seats which did really well in its timeslot and has a really good growth trajectory. And Celebrity MasterChef was up obviously on Junior MasterChef.

“There are a few things that we would have loved to have done better, and a few shows at the back of the year need a bit of attention. I will be an optimistic person here and say we need to fix some things but also it makes room in our schedule for new shows and you need new shows coming into the schedule.”

i'm a celebrity

Some of the highlights for 10 include I’m a Celebrity being January’s #1 program, and registering the top two commercial 8:30pm programs of the year in HYBPA? and Gogglebox Australia. But McGarvey said that 10 does not want to hang its hat on just one thing.

“What we would say we’d be most proud of as a business this year, is that we have seen good growth, good stability across our traditional business, our supportive businesses, and at the same time we have launched a streaming service. It gives us a seat at the table now with our traditional advertising business by serving our partners and clients. We also now fit into the future and bought ourselves protection moving forward. I think balancing those things is a really critical thing for us.”

When asked about 10’s strong performance at 8:30pm, McGarvey said that it was important to make sure they invested in making sure that they held onto their 7:30pm audience.

“We spend so much time and effort and money at 7:30pm that we really want to retain that audience later into the evening. Next year we’re trying to enhance that and have a couple of other shows that we will be offering, the first one being Would I Lie to You? which sits in that comedy space. It is important that we hold on to our 7:30pm audience later into the evening, not just for our audience, but also for our clients.”

Chris Taylor, Chrissie Swan, Frank Woodley

What 10 wants to improve in 2022

When asked about what areas that the broadcaster would like to improve on next year, McGarvey pointed to some week spots in the schedule during the backend of the year, particularly in the 7:30pm slots on Wednesday and Thursdays.

“The thing we need to do a lot of work on next year is around The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. We’re very happy with Celebrity MasterChef and very happy with The Dog House at the back of the year. So now we need to go “what do we do with Bachelor? Can we get it back to its glory days?”. Often with those legacy formats, there are pivots that you can make, there are things that you can do, and shows like MasterChef and The Block that have been on the air for more than a decade prove that a format can go for a long time when you carefully manage it, and sometimes it’s cyclical.”

The Bachelor

The Bachelor

Following the results of The Bachelor franchise and Making It Australia, when asked if Wednesdays and Thursdays are still worth investing as much as higher rating nights like Sundays-Tuesdays, McGarvey said that 10 has no plans to stop investing heavily in the 7:30pm time slot on those days.

“We don’t consider Wednesday 7:30pm any less important than Monday at 7:30pm for example. We need to make sure that we can offer our clients consistent audiences across the board and across the week. Those nights are very important to us. Earlier in the year, shows like MasterChef aired up until Thursday, so we do think those nights are important. We have commissioned a few things next year that will play later in the week.”

Total TV Ratings

This year has seen the adoption of the total TV ratings as an industry-standard measurement of TV ratings, since the implementation of the system some of 10’s 7:30pm programs have seen an increase on their overnight ratings of over 50%. McGarvey said that 10 doesn’t see a difference between BVOD consumers and linear TV consumers.

“We see our BVOD numbers and our linear numbers effectively as one number because what we will say is how many people watch the show within seven days, that’s the important measure. It doesn’t matter to us how or when you watch it, what we’re trying to do is provide content that’s engaging enough that our audience finds it on a platform that works for them, and fits their lifestyle.”

Special Events

Special events were a strong space for 10 this year with Oprah With Meghan And Harry being TV’s #1 special entertainment event in 2021 (1.78 million overnight national viewers), and the Melbourne Cup being 10 Play’s biggest-ever live streaming audience (along with over 1 million metro viewers on linear TV), McGarvey said this is an area that the broadcaster will continue to explore.

“The event stuff is really interesting because it’s great to have the stability and consistency of the big franchises, but every once in a while audiences really love something fresh. It brings different people and it allows you to communicate with a different type of audience because it breeds new development.”

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10’s Multi-Channels

McGarvey was also happy with 10’s multi-channels and said that the high volume of quality international content from the ViacomCBS stable has helped create strong platforms for viewers.

“10 Shake is number one in its target in terms of daytime. 10 Bold is the number two multi-channel and it was number one for a lot of weeks. 10 Bold got knocked around a bit by the Olympics, which is absolutely fair, you would expect that but it’s really solid. 10 Peach is number two in 16 to 39.”

Network 10 in 2022

When asked about next year, McGarvey said that the main thing that she would like to see is growth from their big 7:30pm franchises.

“This time next year I would like to be talking about a couple of new brands that we’ve launched and new hits that we’ve had that will take us into the year forward. I think it’s important to be always refreshing our inventory in that way, and to have had a really good year in both our app supported and our subscription streaming businesses.”

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