How Network Ten became more data-driven

Network Ten now invests in customer data platform and data strategy as it looks to build stronger relevance

Network Ten has 13 different business initiatives to implement in the next 18 months, and six of them are directly enabled by data. And yet, back in February last year, Ten didn’t even have a data strategy, let alone a data team.

However, given CBS had just acquired the network, it was looking increasingly likely someone there would ask the hard question. In order to be able to answer the data question, and answer it well, a team at Ten quietly started undertaking what it called data ‘skunkworks’.

Early last year, Ten hired a consultant to scope out what the organisation needed to do to become data-driven. It researched various platforms for a variety of functions, including data management, analytics, optimisation, and more. As there was no data department prior to this, everyone was learning at the same time. However, staff knew they needed to do their due diligence and research, much of it in secret.

The idea, of course, was to transform Ten, with data as a whole-of-business capability, to capture total audience, power creative decisions, deliver increased personalisation, and segment and deliver to advertisers.

Given it’s only been a year, they have come a remarkably long way and are close to all goals, the broadcaster's general manager of data, insights and analytics, Gareth Tomlin, said.

During this time, Network Ten also underwent a huge rebranding to become the ‘lean in’ network for under 50s, and now includes 10, 10 Bold, 10 Peach, 10 Play, 10 Daily, 10 Speaks, and 10 All Access.

Tomlin said Ten has some of the biggest, noisy shows on TV today. Now being backed by CBS, it also has a scale it didn’t have before, as well as the scope to try new things and think more about the future, he said.

“Our new ecosystem of brands and sites are designed to capture under 50s wherever they happen to be,” Tomlin said. “With all that comes the need to piece all this together."

Underpinning all this now is Tealium, which was implemented in October. "We have about three million users on 10 Play [streaming service], with ambitions to grow this dramatically. Tealium allows us to deliver a better user experience, and a better experience for our advertisers. We can now segment, learn about our members and visitors, for better digital marketing, better emails, push notifications, customised communications on the site, and improved personalisation on the site," Tomlin explained. 

“This delivers more relevance for advertisers. It’s now a given advertisers want to buy data-driven audiences. They don’t want a whole site, they don’t want total people, or age or gender demographics. So we as broadcasters need to collect more data on our users and deliver that to advertisers."

As Tomlin pointed out, the future of advertising is addressable advertising, and broadcaster video on-demand (BVOD) will grow a lot faster than other delivery methods.

“BVOD is growing, and capturing that audience and delivering it to an advertiser is increasingly important for us."

Using Tealium at its customer data platform, information on Network 10's three million 10 Play members is stored. "It’s here we can undertake segmentation and power the other platforms we have, including Lotame, our DMP [data management platform," Tomlin said.

"From our DMP, we can make available enriched segments, append with extra third-party data, and generate insights.”

Tomlin said obviously making money is important, but having a data strategy opens up many more use cases for Network Ten internally.

“We can charge a higher rate for a data-driven set on 10 Play, so we can improve monetisation of our audiences. So collecting more data, enriching it, and segmenting it increases yield on digital platforms, which is absolutely necessary for us into the future. It also allows us to meet market need and develop new products to sell," he continued. 

“All advertisers expect data-driven advertising. Every client is pursuing a data strategy, and every agency is offering something new to its clients. So it’s become table stakes, really.”

Combined with the technology, Network Ten is working hard to create a single view of the Network 10 consumer, as well as developing and harnessing a culture of experimentation into the future.

“We are building a data and analytics department at 10, which gives us future optionality so whatever the future is, we’re ready for it. If we have this capability across the business, we can pivot and be more agile," Tomlin said. 

“We have a culture of experimentation, and are doing more A/B testing on our site, delivering personalised use experience across all platforms, and bolstering digital marketing capabilities. This is a holistic company wide use of data. We want to embed that capability across every team, because it is the data stitching it all together.”

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