Ten reveals the most interesting slate for 2022; the Junkee deal; a new Facebook brand?

ViacomCBS will take more punts on new formats than its local rivals next year

Welcome to Unmade, written on a cloudy Thursday morning at Sisters Beach, Tasmania.

It’s been a strange couple of days at the beach. On Monday night, there was no sleep to be had as a search and rescue plane and a chopper criss-crossed overhead all night, in search of three passengers on a small boat that went missing after stopping for lunch at the next beach along.

The next night the aircraft were mostly absent, which in the quiet felt even louder, as it suggested they were no longer hopeful of finding the five metre boat still afloat somewhere.

And last night, there were no choppers at all, after bodies were found washed ashore.

Sometimes there are no happy endings.

Facebook and Junkee Media

On the Horizon

Before I get to the main topic for today’s newsletter, which is yesterday’s Ten Upfronts, a couple of quick thoughts.

First, news broke out of the US yesterday afternoon that Facebook appears to be about to undergo a major rebrand to reflect the that fact it is really a group of companies. So the family of Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, Oculus and whatever the hell they’re planning for the metaverse, will have a new name for the parent company.

It would work the same way that Google rebranded its parent company as Alphabet Inc back in 2015.

When such stories break, my first move is to check Australia’s online trademark register.

I note that four recent applications from Facebook Inc appeared on the public Australian register earlier this month - all in the name of Horizon.

And last month, the company also registered a new logo trademark, which it describes as “circle in inverted triangle, divided”.

I wonder whether this is the new logo for Horizon. It looks kind of familiar, but I can’t place what it reminds me of. If you know, please do tell me via the comment button or letters@unmade.media.

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One fewer in the Junkee race

And on Monday in my recap of the media and marketing press, I returned to the topic of Ooh Media’s sale of Junkee Media.

I had previously revealed that Brag Media was in exclusive due diligence. The SMH said that both Brag and the Hoyts-owned Val Morgan had gone through to the indicative bids stage.

Hoyts CEO Damian Keogh tells me that is not correct: “Val Morgan is not interested and not part of the process of acquiring Junkee.”

More on Junkee another day.

Ten in 2022

So yesterday was Ten’s turn to unveil its plans for 2022 with its Upfronts video stream.

It was the first with Jarrod Villani leading the commercial side of the business, alongside content boss Beverley McGarvey. If you missed it, I chatted to both of them in an Unmade podcast episode I uploaded yesterday afternoon.

Unmade - by Tim Burrowes
Upfronts podcast with Ten bosses Jarrod Villani and Beverley McGarvey
Listen now (34 min) | Welcome to Unmade’s second podcast edition. Today saw ViacomCBS share its plans for 2022, across Ten, Paramount Plus and the rest of its broadcast channels. There are several new formats, a big new soccer rights acquisition and new advertising formats…
Read more

Among the intriguing points that came out beyond the upfronts was that Villani is open to acquiring either Prime Media or the TV operation of Southern Cross Austereo if agreement can be reached. There’s a transcript of the entire conversation in the link above.

As for the programming, of the big three networks, Ten has the most interesting slate of new formats. In the main that’s because Seven and Nine both opted for stability this year. One good thing about being a distant third is that there’s less of a downside to trying new things.

And, much like Alphabet and (by the looks of it Facebook), there’s also a parent brand involved. Technically it was an upfronts from ViacomCBS covering not just Ten (plus sub brands Shake, Peach and Bold) but also its streaming service Paramount Plus, kids channel Nickelodeon and music service MTV.

Ten’s new formats include a local version of panel show Would I Lie To You? hosted by Chrissie Swan along with The Chaser’s Chris Taylor and comedian Frank Woodley. The original UK version of Would I Lie To You? airs on the ABC and Foxtel, so many local viewers will already be familiar. The comparisons to the strong UK team of Rob Brydon, David Mitchell and Lee Mack will be daunting for the Australian trio.

Also new and intriguing is the overseas format Hunted, in which contestants try to evade capture while on the run in Melbourne. Strange to think that this seems to be the only major big new reality format we’ll see next year across the three networks.

Another biggish reality format the company announced yesterday will sit on Paramount Plus - The Bridge. Again, it’s an overseas format, in which a group of competitors are challenged to build a bridge and win a pile of cash. The tension presumably comes in how they decide to split the winnings.

And speaking of Paramount Plus, the company has also picked up the rights to the FA Cup, which is English soccer’s major annual knockout tournament. While there are far fewer games than the EPL’s league format, the FA Cup is almost as prestigious, and features all the same teams.

It makes the battle for the EPL rights, which come up at the end of the current season, all the more intriguing. If Paramount Plus can pick those up too, it will be a compelling proposition for soccer fans. But Optus will fight hard to keep it, while Stan Sport and Amazon Prime are in the mix too.

Like Nine and Seven, Ten also had its own technology announcement. In this case, it was “Dynamic e-Trade Placements” on 10Play. In the announcement, Ten said this offers “a real-time solution for retail clients to showcase their inventory and products.
Advertisers can utilise dynamically changing pricing, images or offers – perfect for multi-product retail executions or creative which move as things change.”

Honestly, even after reading the press release a couple of times and asking Villani about it on the podcast, I still don’t fully understand what it means. I think it means being able to update advertising inventory quickly.

But that points to a challenge for the TV industry as a sector. My sense is that all three players have genuinely moved a long way over the last couple of years in how they tie into client tech stacks, and how they make the booking process easier for media agencies.

But the big three have all gone about it in different ways, and at different speeds. From the outside, it’s difficult to tell which announcements are real, and which are spin.

For what it’s worth, I came away from the upfronts process this year with the impression that Nine is furthest ahead with Galaxy, Seven is catching up with Code 7 Plus and Ten isn’t quite there yet.

For the sector as a whole, that’s not ideal, as it increasingly demands detailed domain knowledge for marketers to even understand what their options are. There’s probably a positive story for the TV industry as a whole in the advances it is making on the martech side, but it’s not one that it is currently telling with one clear voice. Over to you, Think TV.

Dr Spin: Video conferencing for dummies

Dr Spin writes:

It may be a tad late, but nonetheless, Dr Spin is a fan of marketing consultancy Trinity P3’s useful advice for agencies - featuring comedian Greta Lee Jackson - on how to avoid the pitfalls of presenting via video conference.

If only they could send it back to April 2020, it would save the business world much pain.

As ever, I welcome your thoughts to letters@unmade.media. Or via the ugly coloured button below. (Thanks for the amusing feedback on my design choices, by the way - I’m taking it on board!)

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If you’d like more on Ten and ViacomCBS by the way, I’ve written a piece for Mumbrella on Villani’s comments on the potential for an affiliate acquisition which will be published later this morning.

And I’ll also be a guest on the Mumbrellacast which goes up later today, where we’ll also talk Ten.

As ever, please do recommend Unmade to a friend. It’s where we’re getting our growth from.

Have a great day.


Tim Burrowes

Proprietor - Unmade