“When we went into that agreement with MCN it was a different world and was the right thing at the time. Our revenues increased and we had a fruitful relationship with MCN.
“Things have changed now and we have different ownership. The ad world is changing too. CBS has a preference for us to run our own race and control our own destiny with revenue and the accountability that comes with that.”
The man charged with building the new sales team is Ten’s Rod Prosser, who assumes the new title of chief sales officer. His new team will start selling for the TV year 2019. “The handover date is January 21,” Prosser told Mediaweek.
“We have a robust disengagement plan that we have in place with MCN and we will continue working with them closely until the end of the year.”
Prosser said he and his new team will be handling the agency group negotiations when they start taking place for 2019.
Anderson reminded us that even when working with MCN, Ten controlled its own rate card.
Prosser: “In the past on big negotiations with clients, we worked with MCN to get the outcomes we achieved.”
On staffing for the new venture, Prosser said there had been preliminary plans drawn up, but nothing is confirmed yet. “We will have more people working for Ten sales than we did prior to moving to MCN,” Prosser revealed. “We are now looking for the right people for our business to create a sales team that is platform agnostic and can work across linear and digital conversations.”
Anderson said it was too early to detail if any staff could move from MCN to Network Ten. “We will work through that with MCN and we don’t know what their plans are,” said Anderson. “We have an opportunity to start afresh here and we are looking for a mix of people with TV experience and digital experience.”
Prosser said they only started having conversations about the move with agencies after the announcement was made on Thursday. “The feedback since then from the market has been very positive. The decision has not been about MCN or its performance – it is about the strategy CBS has for us.”
As it splits completely from MCN, Network Ten will surrender its shareholding in MCN. Having equity in the business is believed to have not been a significant consideration for either party.
Prosser said in addition to tenplay, the company has an extensive digital road map and strategy that includes building an audience for Ten Daily. “The upside of being part of CBS is that we have access to its systems and technology.”
In terms of the user experience on the digital platforms, Anderson admitted they “have work to do”.
“The digital part of the business is becoming a much bigger piece of the revenue pie for us.”
He noted how important the catch-up audience is becoming too. “One week’s catch-up audience for Bachelor In Paradise was bigger than the most successful AM or FM radio shows in Sydney.”
As to giving the top sales role to Prosser, Anderson told Mediaweek: “He is the best person for the job. Rod has been at Ten for eight years and he deserves his chance to build a state-of-the-art sales team and give it a red hot go.”
Prosser’s priorities: “We are well advanced on setting up systems and technology, which is what the agencies and traders are going to be most interested in. We will also be looking for the right people for the future, which we hope to have in place by January 1.”