Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Big news day for Ten

jameswarburton There has been a lot happening at the Ten Network in the last 24 hours.

Ten Network Holdings has appointed a new CEO less than a week after Grant Blackley was removed from the role.

James Warburton (pictured), a sales executive with the Seven Network, will take on the role of CEO for Ten effective 14 July.  In the meantime the role will continue to be held by acting chief Lachlan Murdoch.

Also today, the Ten Network issued a brief statement that James Packer was resigning from the board effective immediately.  Packer made a bold investment in Ten last year – estimated to be around $288 million worth which he then split with Murdoch – and had been on the board at the company since November.  His arrival at Ten led to the resignation of group CEO Nick Falloon.

No reason was given for Packer’s sudden resignation from the board and at this stage he is expected to be retaining his share of the company.  There has been speculation that his departure may be linked to the selection of Warburton to the CEO position.

Ten also announced today that its group chief financial officer John Kelly will be leaving the company later this month, to be replaced by Paul Anderson who is the current finance chief of the Ten business.

While all of this activity is taking place, management is also currently undertaking a review of the network’s strategic direction, with close attention to the expanded news portfolio, including 6PM With George Negus and the 6.30 Evening News, but may also impact on the network’s multi-channel strategy that has seen the launch of digital channels One HD and Eleven.

natarshabelling Network Ten has also announced it’s first ‘back flip’ since its news re-launch.  The network will be reinstating its weekend 5.00pm Ten News bulletin with Natarsha Belling (pictured).  In launching its revamped news format in January, Ten had bumped the 5.00pm national weekend news to a 6.00pm bulletin based in each of the five major capitals.  The move was given little advance promotion and as a result the new 6.00pm Evening News bulletin has failed to grab even a modest market share up against Seven and Nine – while the Nine Network swiftly moved to fill the gap for weekend news in the 5.00pm timeslot with a new bulletin, even boldly using the tagline “First At Five” which has long been a Ten staple.

Programming chief David Mott said in a statement today:

“We have long held a prominent news position at 5pm in the weekend schedule and we are not willing to give up that ground any longer.”

“Clearly there is a viewer thirst for choice when it comes to weekend news and we are well placed to provide them what they want with our 5pm and 6pm news coverage.”

“Effective this weekend, we will return with a national 5pm news bulletin, covering news, sport and weather from Australia and around the world, complemented by our recently launched, targeted local news bulletin in each market at 6pm.”

It would seem that the changes announced today will be far from being the last for the Ten Network.

Source: The Age, Ten, Herald Sun.

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