Free-to-air and streaming ‘can coexist’: Ten

Beverley McGarvey, chief content officer and executive vice president of the Australian arm of ViacomCBS, which owns Network Ten, said on Wednesday that while her organisation boasts a “phenomenal pipeline of content” for its yet-to-be-launched subscription service Paramount+, the shift into the streaming market will not come at the expense of free-to-air offerings.There is still a “water-cooler” audience that wants to “watch content today, they don’t want to watch it tomorrow”, she said.“Linear content is very curated — you come home from work, you watch the news, you watch MasterChef … then you might go and see what’s on your streaming service,” Ms McGarvey told The Australian.“And I think (streaming services) are an incredibly valuable, additive platform.“But for the next while — midterm, certainly — I think audiences will watch things on both platforms.”Paramount+, which will offer a range of drama, film, children’s television and documentary content from the ViacomCBS library, as well as locally made shows, will launch in Australia on August 11.Ms McGarvey said that while the TV industry is increasingly drawing more of its revenue from the subscription market, the advertising dollar remains the lifeblood of commercial networks. “There are two ways people pay for content — they pay you with their time and watch your advertising, and they pay you with money by subscribing. People like to do both,” she said.“At this point, the advertising revenue is still material for any (media) business in Australia, but increasingly the subscription revenue is becoming more valuable.”Monthly subscriptions to Paramount+ start at $8.99 per month, with subscriptions to rival streaming services Binge and Stan similarly priced.It also emerged on Thursday that a broadcast deal between Network Ten and regional player Southern Cross Austereo is “proceeding well”.The two companies are looking to sign an affiliation agreement, after Nine announced in March that it was ending its relationship with Southern Cross, and was instead entering an agreement with WIN. In an update announced to the Macquarie Australia Conference, Southern Cross said its advertising revenues were better than expected.The company said its third-quarter advertising revenues were down 4.3 per cent — a healthy result, given previous guidance of a fall of between 6 and 8 per cent.Non-revenue related costs for this financial year are predicted to be between $250m and $255m, ahead of guidance of between $255m and $260m, Southern Cross said.

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