This week TEN Executive General Manager Russel Howcroft took up an invitation by ABC Radio show Mornings with Jon Faine to take talkback calls.
The 30 minute chat provided some interesting insights, including that Howcroft’s office wall has only one television screen.
“When I first arrived at Channel TEN there was the executive wall with all the TVs. But I actually got that taken down. I’ve just got one television now. I have to tell you, it’s called an HbbTV,” he said.
But the Hybrid Broadband Television capability means he can dip into its broadband features.
Asked about The Project, with new co-host Waleed Aly, he reiterated a common network view.
“It is the key show for us, it reflects who and what we are. It is, what we call, News delivered differently.”
I’m a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here! is a 6 week show, he explained, getting a lot of people talking.
“We’re pleased with how it’s going there. Let’s call it averaging at about 750 (k), and that’s what we call 5 cities. There are all sorts of numbers in Television but the one that matters to us is the 5 city number,” he said.
“And you want that to be over a million?” asked Faine.
“That’s right. It launched at over a million and I would hope it ends at about that as well. But you’ve also got to remember where Network TEN is.”
TEN was traditionally the third network, he outlined.
“It’s our job to give people an alternative and for it to be strong. We’re happy with where we’re going.”
But Faine pointed out recently it was often fourth behind ABC.
“If you go to maybe March last year, that’s true. There was a couple of nights that it did happen. That’s not what we want to be doing.”
Nationally, there have been a lot more weeks where TEN has trailed the ABC, but there was no mention of this.
He also spoke about the summer performance by Big Bash League, Grant Denyer, Shark Tank and late-running shows.
There wasn’t much mention of Recipe to Riches, which he appeared on last year, but is yet to be marked for returning.
Asked by caller why TEN’s primary channel was not yet in High Definition, he admitted, “I’m going to have to take that one on notice and let Jon know. I can’t give you a specific answer.
“It’s a technical question that I don’t know the answer to.”
Hint: it requires govt legislation.
But the Gruen ad man is still a big believer in the commercial power of the medium.
“Free to Air television remains an incredibly strong medium. I don’t buy into the decline of Television.
“(Reports of its death are) massively over-exaggerated. It is where the numbers lie, it really is. 90% of Television is still-watched in Real Time. That’s by far the majority. Yes we catch-up and the Catch-Up service is very important and what we can do in the commercial world is monetise that catch-up.
“It’s rather wonderful when you go to Tenplay you can’t fast forward. That means you have to watch the ads. So it’s actually a fantastic premium product that we can sell to advertisers.”
Nine and Seven representatives are next to face the talkback show.