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News Analysis

ViacomCBS ad sales grab signals further move on content rights

By Josh McDonnell - Senior Writer

16 February 2020 3min read

Twin Titles: Network Ten and ViacomCBS CEO Paul Anderson (left) and Chief Sales Officer Rod Prosser

By Josh McDonnell - Senior Writer

16 February 2020 3min read

Network 10 and ViacomCBS ANZ CEO Paul Anderson hasn't ruled out a wider play for content deals in the wake of the news the network would be assuming ad sales responsibilities for ViacomCBS channel assets on MTV, MTV Dance, MTV Music, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., and their related digital and event properties.

Questions have been raised over how long local content deals between rival networks will continue, following the decision by Disney over the last six months to strip out all of its content from platforms such as Nine's Stan and Foxtel's movie library.

As it stands, content owned by ViacomCBS is housed across multiple rival networks to 10, including Nine and SBS. Anderson says while it is still early days the business has its eyes on the future of its parent company's content in Australia.

"There is potential for those content deals [to become part of 10]. If you look at the way content is distributed around the world now, it is becoming less exclusive, so it exists on more platforms," Anderson told Mi3. "We are looking at all opportunities around that content. However, it is early days at the moment. We have the ecosystem now to house that content, but now it's about, rights pending, how to monetise those."

While 10 will keep its eye on the outcome of those content deals, Anderson says the immediate focus is on how the company can monetise the advertising assets it now has in its arsenal. 

He says the major focus for 10 over the last 24-months has been focused on controlling its "own destiny" when it comes to revenue, which has been primarily centred around bringing its sales back in-house.

Now that the business has had "a solid six-month performance" it was time to find ways of bringing together ViacomCBS advertising assets into the current free-to-air portfolio that already exists.

"The brands that ViacomCBS have at the moment are very strong but essentially sit in a paid/subscription environment at the moment, so one of the challenges is finding ways we can leverage those in combination with our free-to-air assets and sell them together," Anderson says.

"Any additional share of the revenue pie is very important for us but more importantly is how do we actually leverage the revenue that is written on those platforms at the moment while also developing an enhanced asset portfolio for our clients."

 

Another sales team integration

As part of the changes, a merged sales team within 10 will be created and led by Rod Prosser who becomes chief sales officer, Network 10 and ViacomCBS.

ViacomCBS’ senior director ad sales & brand partnerships Australia & New Zealand Vanessa Winley will report to Prosser, joining his leadership team.

Prosser told Mi3 that the new structure and additional assets will not only provide brands working with 10 with new channel opportunities but also greater means of integrating across the network's entire suite, given deeper access to its under fos audience.

"What it will mean for brands is now they have a really strong network with broadcasting assets that are highly targeted at the under 50s. It gives them an opportunity to have a one-stop-shop when you’re targeting every age and every stage under 50," Prosser says. "We will work closely with the current Viacom team to bring to life what the proposition around tying in existing and new channels into sponsorship packages will look like, giving our advertisers more scale and opportunity to integrate across all of our assets."

"In terms of ease of trade, it should just be one phone call, we won’t have separate teams looking after the Viacom channels and then another for 10. It’s no change to the 10 team, they are just picking up the new channels and the representation for the various agency groups will remain the same."

The existing channel partnership teams that currently exists within the Viacom business which interfaces with the channels and brands will remain critical to the new 10 structure as they are integrated into the wider team.

Prosser says the Viacom team in place will be able to impart their sales knowledge onto the 10 team really quickly, while some current 10 sales representatives will already have pre-existing understanding of how to sell the Viacom channel, as they previously worked across them during their time with MCN (now Foxtel Media). 

"Do I think it is going to be significantly different? I don’t think it is. It’s such a complimentary mix for our existing brands and channels that our team should be able to seamless bring the new assets into the portfolio with little trouble," Prosser explained.

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By Josh McDonnell - Senior Writer

16 February 2020 3min read

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