“It takes time” says TEN boss Hamish McLennan.

Hamish McLennanTEN CEO Hamish McLennan has told media there is still room for 3 commercial networks in Free to Air television with $2.8 billion on offer in advertising spend.

“Not only do I believe that, but so do the major shareholders. We’ve underperformed for many years because we’ve had the wrong strategy. The buyers are looking for some stability in terms of our overall share, and a stronger ratings performance,” he told The Australian.

“Each of our competitors has had their own challenges over the decades,” he acknowledged.

“It just takes time. It would be unrealistic to think in a matter of weeks and months a TV network could turn around. You just can’t manufacture the numbers in this business, because viewing habits get established and you’ve got to break them and you’ve got to work on new formats and invest in them.”

A recent reader survey at TV Tonight agreed:

Is there still room for 3 commercial networks?

Yes. It’s just that one is going through a rough patch. 44%
Of course! 3 keeps everyone competitive! 33%
Definitely not. Youth audience has abandoned broadcast TV! 13%
No. Worried that those days may now be gone. 6%
Not sure. 4%

Meanwhile he optimistically tells the Australian Financial Review, ‘We’ve got some great people here and we will continue to hire good on air and off -air talent.”

“We are looking at every part of the business. An example of what we will do is Peter Meakin.

“No one disputes his credentials. Somebody like that will deliver instant results and is a great indication to the
rest of the market of the calibre of people we want.”

You can read more of Hamish McLennan’s comments here.


  1. If a tree falls in the forest… *seriously* Ten needs to sort themselves out, start from scratch and spend some cash on both programming and effective promotion – which they seem not be have been able to do in a very long time.
    Remember, for instance, how strong YTT started? Why didn’t they have a cast single out? Why weren’t those kids at shopping centres every weekend?
    Why, after they saw how bastardising MasterChef – truly a triumph in its early years – with Junior and Celebrity editions did they continue to weaken the brand with AllStars and Professionals?
    Who thought an ancient format like The Bachelor – which I’ll admit has probably performed better than expected – was a good idea?
    And now the big hope is bringing back SYTYCD?
    Oh, Ten.
    While we’re on it, Neighbours was a workhorse for that network. It hasn’t always been massive, but it had – and still has – a…

  2. Ten strategy was unpinned by Masterchef. Once digital technology put Ten under stress The @l^mp!cs and The Voice took aways its audience and Ten hasn’t recovered.

    Seven and Nine have continually kept the pressure on and even the ABC has successfully chipped away at NCIS, which viewers are getting tired off, with repeats of New Tricks.

    Sure Ten made a few programming mistakes, but so have Seven, Nine and the ABC and a few programming changes don’t make a big difference. The main problem is content. They don’t have blocks of shows that will make live viewers watch them rather the other networks.

  3. Yes we agree Hamish – it does take time for your audience to return to you, the constant chop and change in strategies, the “me-tooism” in the commissoning and programming, the over-reliance on derivative rubbish reality tv formats and the continual changes by dragging your few remaining quality and expensive shows around the TV schedule from pillar to post like some ADHD kid in a lolly shop has meant that your audience have switched off from the network.

  4. jezza the first original one

    Hamish may well have a little time on his hands and realises he may need it. However both he and the reader survey fail to grasp the pace of change and the seismic shift that is taking place as the internet speeds up. Old style networks like ch10 can and will disappear around the world….we are not immune from this…

  5. Ten had the best strategy and were the most profitable network. They were low cost, dominating the 16-34s, were the first to fill 7:30pm with contest shows to lead into their dramas and had half the rights to the AFL.

    Then broadband made video over the internet practical. Seven and Nine churned through $3b in capital plus a couple of $b in debt to lock in the AFL, NRL, Cricket, Tennis, The Voice, The X Factor and developed The Block, MKR and House Rules and local tabloid News and Current Affairs.

    Ten has tried several different strategies since. they have all been equally unsuccessful. They have gone through all their capital raising and have just borrowed $200m in order to keep the lights on while they wait for something to change.

  6. Ten worries me, their scheduling decisions and commissioning of new shows is a bit all over the place.

    For example The Bachelor on Sunday, and A League of their Own on Mondays, as well as putting This Week Live against similar ABC shows and Revealed on Thursday.

    With MKR/X Factor/HR/AFL for 7 and The Voice/Block/NRL/Cricket for 9 it’s hard to see anyone tuning into Ten next year and nothing big to leverage their other shows (I don’t see the Commonwealth Games rating that well). MC/TBL are ageing. Offspring seems to be the only relatively bright spot for them.

  7. @Sairy.james – there is no commercial network that caters for the over 54 market – if you have 2 commercial networks aiming and leading in market share in the younger demo’s, why be a follower?

    also – ten only got 300,000 odd on Sat night whereas the abc got over 1 million with New Tricks … so there is a lot of opportunity to get the 54+ demo

  8. Meakin will have his work cut out considering that TEN has ditched most of its news names to be replaced by younger and cheaper “talent.” They need to get some senior, experienced reporters / hosts back on deck to attract the older audiences. I watched a late news a few weeks back and it was presented by a couple of girls who looked- and sounded – like they didn’t have a clue.
    Awful scripts and rundown compounded things. When I think of TEN I don’t think of current affairs to be honest. Wonder how long before Meakin tries to hire Ian Ross, the newsreader who helped create his news leadership at Seven ?

  9. I’d like to see TEN do a Weird Al’s UHF and go all the way with counter programming. They are clearly failing with their “me too” strategy. Time to make some very radical changes, be bold.

  10. “Perhaps ten should be innovative and look at aiming for the over 54 demo, which nobody caters for … this is the demo that doesnt download, and most likely watches television …..”

    Isn’t that what the ABC and SBS do? not to mention 7two etc and their golden oldies they play during the day?

    I think Ten needs to continue with being a youth network, but actually pick stuff that younger people want to watch.

  11. Again,

    Not convinced with the content promised for next year, reasons as follows:

    * Ten’s brand is damaged – and both advertiser and consumer knows this
    * Some of next years offerings is doubtful at best – Ten are not being innovators, they are only being followers with SYTYCD …. more reality television when the airwaves are already being over filled with xfactor, big brother, AGT, Masterchef, and countless other mindless crappy reality television … and you can see the feedback here that people are over it …….
    *Same issue with the morning program …. this is already covered with ABC, seven and nine …so I cannot see another one making inroads here … it’s just more of the same ……

    Perhaps ten should be innovative and look at aiming for the over 54 demo, which nobody caters for … this is the demo that doesnt download, and most likely watches television …..

  12. With Gina, Bruce and Lachlan all guaranteeing a huge loan from the CBA last week the pressure to perform has increased dramatically.
    “Peter Meakin”. I bet he wasn’t too pleased seeing TEN dump their News on Saturday in favour of some Rugby thing, watched by 49,000 in Melb & 10,000 in Adel.
    Major news, everyone has extensive cover, bar TEN.

  13. To break and change viewing habits, you first have to actually get people watching.

    Really what this bloke is saying is that stumbling across a lucky break takes time. His investors aren’t going to wait forever.

  14. As Lachlan said “It takes time to implement our youthful focus”, then James said “It takes time to rollout our youthful programming” and now Hamish “It takes time to get our older audience back”.

    I feel it will not take that much time for Ten to gather speed toward the cliff !

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