Paramount fuels audience growth with Formula 1 on a Q2 warm up lap


Ahead of its mid-year Network 10 programming pillars, Paramount’s live sport performs

The long-term partnership Paramount has with Formula 1 ticked over 21 years with coverage of the 2023 Australian Grand Prix over the weekend.

Paramount’s chief sales officer Rod Prosser was beaming over the Australian Grand Prix weekend as he hosted guests in the Paramount corporate compound above the pit lane in Albert Park. He noted the broadcaster recently renegotiated a continuation of the broadcast rights in collaboration with Foxtel.

The race remains on the recently released “new” anti-siphoning list.

While Paramount has had its challenges securing a whole season of a major sport, it is the home of two of Australia’s most celebrated sporting four-day events – the Australian Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup Carnival.


Rod Prosser and Nick Bower with Paramount national digital sales director Diane Ho

“Live sport remains critical to FTA TV and we are home to some of the biggest event sport,” Prosser told Mediaweek. “While these events are held over a shorter period, both events have major engagement with huge audiences. That gives us the ability to launch some of our key franchises off the back of them.”

Prosser reminded Mediaweek that with I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! now underway, it will be flowed by MasterChef on May 1 which will run into Hunted and then Dessert Masters coming later in the year.

Although the shows are all strong performers with 10’s younger demo, Prosser explained: “The market is more challenging than it’s been in a long time. The upside is we have the noisiest franchises that are proven formats. Advertisers rely on them in our schedule and they are coming back to them with both sponsorships and spot buys.”

Guest in the corporate suite over the F1 weekend included recent signings, former Block contestants Mitch Edwards and Mark McKie, soon to host Location, Location, Location on 10 and 10play

Paramount bullish about ad spend outlook

Prosser was bullish about seeing stronger demand in the second half of 2023. “Advertisers and consumers were slightly rocked by interest rate rises. I have often been talking with advertisers about consumer sentiment. However, marketing plans from advertisers for the second half feel more robust than the first half.”

Sectors helping make the back half look strong include travel, auto, QSR [quick service restaurants] and retail too.

Meanwhile, revenue and eyeballs continue to grow at 10play. “BVOD continues to be an important part of our business and we are seeing increasing investment going into that platform.”

Paramount+ also has opportunities for brands with messaging carried around the platform’s involvement with football. “We make sure the ads are run in a meaningful way and we are very conscious that subscribers are paying for the service.”

Along with other broadcasters, Prosser said one item always on the agenda when I comes to user experience is frequency capping. “It’s a hot topic and we employ all the right measures to make sure we address it.”

Nick Bower

F1 and Cup Carnival bookend the year for Paramount

Helping entertain advertising partners across the weekend along with Prosser was recently promoted Paramount general manager – ad sales, Nick Bower.

“Formula 1 is the sexiest sport on the planet right now and we absolutely love it,” said Bower. “As the audience grows there are two demographics that are really jumping in. Females are loving it more with ticket sales splitting 60/40 where previously it was around 80% male. We are seeing a similar split across broadcast and on 10play.

“We are also seeing younger audiences tuning in and it is a trend here and globally and those younger viewers are watching for longer. They are really interested in the result, but also the story behind the result.

“There is so much going on in Formula 1 right now and that is really capturing the hearts and minds of this market as well as many others.

“Grand Prix weekend is 10’s to have a scalable audience, particularly during the live race. It’s a moment for live sport on Network 10 to be the central focus and FTA TV will always play the biggest role in major sporting events.”

Bower also reinforced the importance of the F1 as a launching pad at Paramount.

“During the race we will be promoting some big series with I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! the first one. We will also be promoting the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival. It’s another iconic Australian sporting event and is the other bookend for the year people can only see FTA on 10.

“Last year that broadcast was sensational and we told the stories not just of the thoroughbred champions, but the jockeys too. That’s something we will continue into this year’s coverage.”

Rod Prosser and Diane Ho

Hardest working team on pit lane

Working the room across a gruelling three days of F1 testing, practice qualifying and racing was Paramount’s sales team.

Bower: “I am really fortunate to work with a talented group of state-based sales directors who are leading our teams across the market.

Harnessing the power of Paramount

We all work together to promote the power of Paramount where we have the best team and the best culture in market. The future for us is working on and understanding the power of the global Paramount brand. We are a huge global content company with unmatched title diversity and we are thrilled about what the future holds for this market.”

Bower also spoke about audience growth at 10play where the broadcaster is also seeing strong younger audiences.

“In addition to the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix, we are the home of Australian football. Stream starts for people watching F1 have grown 75% in the past two years.”

Part of Paramount’s football arsenal is the FA Cup. “It’s the only way to watch the world’s oldest football competition,” Bower reminded Mediaweek. “Paramount has football in a lot of markets and here we are excited to have the Subway Socceroos, Comm Bank Matildas, Isuzu Ute A-League Men and the Liberty A-League Women.”

See also
Departing Australian Grand Prix CEO Andrew Westacott leaves F1 event in great shape

To Top