The only way is Upfronts

It's a big week for TEN with the network due to reveal its 2014 Upfronts in Sydney on Tuesday night.

2013-03-02_0113It’s a big week for TEN with the network due to reveal its 2014 Upfronts in Sydney on Tuesday night.

Expect to hear plenty of talk about upcoming sports events, Big Bash League and the Winter Olympics. These are key sporting events that TEN will utilise to promote its upcoming content, a strategy that has served Seven well with the Australian Open (let’s hope no sports commentators try to tell us about how fabulous their Reality shows are, like Seven does). It also has the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in July.

Other highlights we can expect to hear about are Offspring, Puberty Blues, MasterChef, So You Think You Can Dance, Secrets and Lies and presumably a second season for The Bachelor Australia given it is finishing pretty well. The Biggest Loser has wrapped in Ararat with Australia’s most overweight community.

Wonderland had 9 new episodes still to air, with no decision expected on going back before the cameras. The network would most likely want to see how these perform before making that decision.

There’s the new drama with Asher Keddie and Roger Corser, Party Tricks. And TEN usually has another new Drama up its sleeve.

There will surely be some new shows to grab our attention and get us talking. If it wants to shift seriously into 25-54 market then expect some surprising announcements that might sound like they belong on other networks: more lifestyle and factuals perhaps? Where is TEN’s own property show? What about history?

There will be more from The Living Room, The Project, Bondi Vet, Wake Up, Studio 10, Neighbours, Wanted.

International highlights should include more Modern Family, NCIS, NCIS: LA, Elementary, Under the Dome, The Good Wife, Sleepy Hollow, Law and Order: SVU, plus Reign, Crisis, Friends with Better Lives. Some more UK dramas would attract older viewers.

In February Peter Meakin takes charge of News and Current Affairs.

It will be fascinating to hear if Batavia is ever going to go before the cameras. This big budget drama was announced a year ago.

There are also question marks about a number of shows and whether they will return: Can of Worms, Revealed, A League of their Own, This Week Live, Recipe to Riches, Bondi Rescue while Mr & Mrs Murder is already off the list.

The pressures on TEN are significant. Board members Lachlan Murdoch, James Packer and Bruce Gordon are backing another $200m investment into programming, with Gina Rinehart not participating but understood to vote in favour. Last week CEO Hamish McLennan confirmed to Fairfax Media that he implemented a “Cost Out Program” six weeks ago to “run this as leanly as possible.”

An AGM in December will be under incredible scrutiny, especially after the sluggish start to its new morning lime-up. In 2011 Chairman Lachlan Murdoch told shareholders “We’d forgotten who we were…. a youthful, bold, irreverent, risk-taking brand.” But this month Hamish McLennan has said chasing young viewers is the wrong methodology. “We were chasing the wrong demographic and we had the wrong shows – hence the wrong strategy,” he said.

In this climate of fragmentation the network is regularly trailing the ABC in Total People, yet there are also industry whispers over TEN’s claims it has supposedly lifted in 25-54 demographics.

So there is a lot at stake in the next few weeks. But from where I stand it’s pretty clear everybody wants TEN to get back to a position of being a competitive third network: viewers, industry, media, advertisers. We all lose when it’s not firing on all cylinders.

43 Responses

  1. @Phoenix @Pertinax Unfortunatly The Good Wife has never been a high rating show for CBS…it gets through on critical merit…

    Its always a toss up for cancellation

    This year its supposed to be a battle between The Good Wife and The Mentalist

  2. One thing about anything TEN on this site…it sure generates a lot of posts….
    I was up early today…watched a bit of Wake Up..OMG…they all looked liked stunned mullets…especially the young man…seemed very strained…
    I use to watch Natarsha Belling when she bantered with the folk on The Circle…completely different then…the spark seems to be missing now….having said that…did not watch for long.

  3. @ Pertinax — We’re either getting our information on the ratings of The Good Wife from different places, or it’s possible we’re looking at different groups of demographics.

    Whatever, I’m just eager to see the show continue for a few “good” years yet! 🙂

  4. @Phoenix
    The Good Wife is in the important Sunday Night 9pm slot and rating 1.4/4 with 18-49s. It does have a lot of over 50s and it is a great show. But that might not save it.

    The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, NCIS LA, The Millars, Criminal Minds, Mike and Molly, Two Broke Girls, The Crazy Ones, Two And A Half Men, Person of Interest, CSI, Elementary and even Mom all rate better for CBS than The Good Wife.

    CBS will need some room for new dramas because while their dramas are rating well, they are long in the tooth and they have struggled news shows that might replace them.

  5. The Bachelor has worked for ch10, it may get over 1million this week. I personally hate it, but it has an audience and has gained traction.

    Ch10 have just got to continue to target Wed-Sat to get 3rd place back. They do not have the firepower or depth to burn their best shows on Sun-Tue up against ch7/9 juggernauts. So get some wins on the other nights and a little positivity may start to flow their way.

    2014 should be about regaining 3rd spot and keeping it.
    2015 Close the gap on 7/9
    2016 Try and win

    Whether they have the resources, tenacity or skill to achieve this is another matter

  6. @Siri
    The people on the board are the people who own the majority of Ten shares. It is their own money they are playing with.

    And by guaranteeing the debt what they have really done is secure the rights to Ten’s land, licence and intellectual property above other shareholders while investing more so Ten can buy content and try and get back into the game.

  7. Ten could be back in the game within a couple of months. One or two big new international brands. Strong marketing and the right scheduling, dont burn it against Xfactor and AGT. This combined with one or two local drama series. And than make sure its all produced and casted in the right way, unlke Recipe or The Bachelor… Its not easy but def doable

  8. Said it before and shall say it again (and on the back of that, can we get @MonashMan into Ten’s Programming team…)

    Can we just make a half decent sitcom? (for bonus points, even film it in front of an audience!!) Let Working Dog do it.

    Agree with @oztvheritage as well. I like the idea of being The Entertainment Network, as long as it doesn’t go too trashy with it. Aggressive marketing and back it up with proven import shows if they take that path.

    If they really want to capture the older demographic, not all of that audience embraces social media, nor reality shows. And unless smellovision comes soon, ease up on the cooking shows… I know MasterChef is a hit but it can’t go on forever… else it will get ‘Idol-itis’…

    @HeyHey_Variety Mind you, I’d probably watch a re-brand of HHIS than Blankety Blanks… On that front, I wonder if a a ‘family’ variety show…

  9. What does Gina Rinehart actually do with her mountains of money, that she can’t join with the other board members in shovelling more funds into TEN? Saving for a rainy day perhaps?

    I’ve watched The Project since Day 1, and I’d be very upset if it was dumped. What’s the alternative? The crap of TT or ACA? They could ditch Dave Hughes, the most over exposed person on TV, and more acting dumb than funny. Leave it alone!

  10. @Pertinax – I tend to agree with all or most of your comments.

    Ten looks to be a seriously difficult position and is uncharted waters …most probably due to the efforts of Chairman Lachlan.

    What have they done to instil confidence by the decisions they have enforced or created:

    – Lost ratings and will end behind the ABC for the first time in history !
    – Lost revenue along with this causing serious financial risk – resulting in two Capital Raising, No Dividends and a personal guarantee from three opportunistic shareholders,
    – The only program so far to last in three years is The Living Room – whilst millions or tens of millions has been lost on failed programs…I think we can add Wake Up to that shortly.

    The Board and importantly the Chairman must be taken to task at their AGM. What other public company would allow this to occur without penalty ?

  11. On TEN…I watch…5PM News…The Project…The Living Room…Revealed…I have even started watching The Simpsons again..after many years…and find myself ..really LOL….
    I drifted back to TEN..after a long time..when The Living Room started…
    I have had a couple of attempts to watch Ready Steady Cook again…but it just does not do it for me anymore.

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