The only way is Upfronts

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 Comments:

  1. @James S – New Girl should be a summer show and it shouldn’t be moving to 11.
    @ryan – I don’t think they will as it will get more promotion during the time of BBL and Winter Olympics

  2. @ Pertinax – Thankfully, it’s highly unlikely that this will be The Good Wife’s final season. It’s the top show for its network in the US, and this season the show is regarded by many critics as the best drama on TV.

    This means The Good Wife is likely to be around for a few more seasons yet. Good news!

  3. Love the title.

    I do hope Ten try to grow Sleepy Hollow’s audience over Summer. The previous episode was a great romp, but the ratings were awful.

  4. I hope TEN don’t get rid of Bondi Rescue, Wonderland and Can of Worms. They are great shows.
    And I am looking forward to the next season of The Biggest Loser too.

  5. The Winter Olympics isn’t going to do anything to help them – they’ll be lucky to hit 500k viewers against MKR and The Block in February.

    BBL has some promise, but Ten doesn’t seem to have a promotional team able to capitalise on the opportunity.

  6. Certainly hoping Ten can gain some traction in 2014. Big Bash should do well over summer and Sochi should rate but there’s nothing in the rest if the schedule that has ‘hit’ beaming from it. 7 & 9 drop off midweek so Ten need to really focus on claiming Wed/Thur. Wanted on Thursday at 7:30pm would be a good lead in for SVU, it could have been a hit if it wasn’t for the black hole Monday 830pm timeslot.

    Ten need to sort out the Tenplay site and app, as well as News app. More viewers the better of their content, regardless of how it’s being accessed. Stop geoblocking news services & update content quicker.

  7. Moving Neighbours to Eleven was a mistake but getting it back would require a deal with Eleven and paying the producers more money. Neighbours has lost half it audience with the move and is a key part of Eleven’s evening lineup.

    Every time Ten has moved The Project it has lost half its audience and it has taken nearly a year to build it back up.

    Sitcoms are risky, expensive, don’t generate many drama content points and most comedy is M rated.

  8. Just a few thoughts, and I should say at the outset that I would not like to see Ten fold.

    1. Marketing/promotion is not going to do diddly. The only place Ten can do this is on their own network and no-one is currently watching.
    2. It’s going to take a while to shift their programs to the older demographic… that’s not going to help them in the near term.
    3. Limit ‘reality’ shows to the current crop of successes and start chasing some decent drama.
    4. And my personal favourite, dump The Project.

  9. I am sure Bondi Resue is safe as it has won something like 5 Logies. Can of Worms should be safe or even Revealed as they are extremely cheap to make

  10. it is all very well to move MasterChef to 7pm but there it will meet The Block juggernaut.
    If I was Ten I would move The Project to 6 (straight after the news) Neighbours to 6.30 (as a difference to current affairs) & then I would have 2 different show say Biggest Loser & MasterChef stripped across the 7pm slot. Say MasterChef Sun Mon Tues & Biggest Loser Wed & Thurs. Then the 2 shows could combine on Friday for Masterclass &/or healthy living classes during an extended The Living Room.

  11. TEN should try making a Sitcom, it seems to be something none of the commercial networks are doing and would give the a point of difference and a reason for people to switch

  12. These upfronts are largely irrelevant, as is promotion. Nobody is going to take anything on trust so Ten needs content people have to watch live, to generate proven on ratings so that advertisers will commit to buying ads again. And Ten is broke.

    As for British dramas saving Ten, Ripper Street and Mr Selfridge were debarcles, The BBC is putting its new content on its own cable channels and the ABC, 7 & 72 will be bidding for ITV shows.

    Sleepy Hollow is rating 400k. The Good Wife (possible final season) will rate less than that and they gave up even bothering to put it on. Puberty Blues was bumped because it would rate in this climate so it will be almost 2 years between series. Nothing else is rating much better except for Under The Dome due to good luck and Offspring after they heavily publicised killing of a lead character.

    The Project is relatively cheap to make, gets a…

  13. Oztvheritage – I agree. I still remember the “Thank God It’s Friday” campaign Ten had in the 90s with 90210, amongst others (I still occasionally sing the song on a Friday!!).

    My fingers are crossed for “This Week Live” – loved that show!! A few tweaks needed maybe, but it was very funny and watchable.

  14. Ten need to fix 6-730pm if they are going to have a successful 2014 launch – aka combating the nightly 730 juggernaut that is My Kitchen Rules.

    7pm is an opportunity. Seven’s biggest weakness is H&A. It can be the top show or the 3rd, all depending on competition. That means viewers can be drawn across.

    Tens best option is to move Neighbours to 6pm – then half our The Project at 630. Need a big campaign to support this. Neighbours still isn’t perfect but its better than it was. The Project is a half hour show only.

    Then back to bold, short-run programming at 7pm.

  15. Seems to be a lot of talk about the comm. games. Hopefully ten aren’t relying on it too much. Have they completely forgotten Delhi 2010. Arguably the beginning of the end for ten.

  16. I am interested in what others think to this. I think ten need to really promote themselves and there brand better. I think they should go back to station ids and come up with a energetic song / jingle like in the 80/90s. A entertaining promo. A jingle that stays in your head. Revise TEN- the entertainment network. Really convince us they are a leader. And have it everywhere. Bus stops bill boards radio websites I am a firm believer their shows are better than the ratings show. People have forgotten about them.

    If they are going with an older demographic I feel this would work.

    What do others think??

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