This month it’s time to check in with Karen Hirst, Group Partnership Manager in Brisbane. Read about her love of TV, her career, moving to “the dark side” and the 10 show she most wants to be in.
Q: What made you fall in love with TV?
A: What’s not to love about TV? At the end of the day, it’s all about good content. No matter how you choose to consume that TV or video content – whether it’s live on free-to-air, catch-up or on a streaming service – everyone loves great content. There’s nothing better than pure escapism, sitting down to watch a show you love, being absorbed it in and letting it transport you to another time and place. There’s nothing better than great TV!
Q: Tell us about how you found your way to 10. Had you always planned to work in TV?
A: Until working at Network 10, I had always worked on the media agency side. I have also spent the large part of my career specialising in digital media, having worked in agencies in Brisbane, London, Melbourne, Sydney and back to Brisbane again. Coming from an agency background, when I took the job at Network 10 it’s always been widely referred to as moving over to “the dark side”. To be honest, although it’s definitely a step change, if I had my time again I would have done it years ago.
It’s been a breath of fresh air working at Network 10. There is such an incredibly supportive team here with some incredibly talented people, all focused on trying to generate the best outcomes for our clients.
Q: What do you think is important to know when selling TV?
A: I think that with any sales role, it’s about knowing your audience. The advertising industry is extremely fast paced, with a lot of competing pressures on people’s time and budgets. Whether you’re responding on a client brief or looking to pitch a proactive opportunity, you need to have done your homework on who you’re presenting to, who the client is, and what they are trying to achieve. If you can get the narrative right and frame the opportunity as part of the solution to meeting key objectives, then you’re half way there to getting a good hearing. Of course, backing that up with great service is critical for building trust and making sure you still have a foot in the door for the next conversation.
Q: And what is it about 10 that grabbed you the most?
A: First and foremost, it was the content and programming. I’ve always loved watching shows on Network 10, be that The Bachelor Australia franchise or Australian Survivor.
Once I started working here although, I can completely understand how many people have been here and have been devoted to the network for their entire career. There is just this positive sense of camaraderie and one in, all in. Now with the merger between our parent company CBS and Viacom, we’re part of a huge global content offering and, of course, the landscape is always evolving at the network, which I love. At the end of the day we’re a company that is focused on producing the best content and we’re not scared to take risks along the way, which certainly keeps things interesting.
Q: What’s next for TV in your opinion?
A: I think TV will, of course, continue to evolve with the convergence of traditional broadcast and digital. At the end of the day it’s all about making content accessible for people in the manner in which, and on the device on which, they choose to watch it. We know people are watching more content than ever before. I think TV continues to prove that it delivers one of the most engaged audiences, which is hugely powerful for advertisers and brands. As long as TV networks continue to create and produce great content that draws an audience and make that widely available for people to view, then it will continue to be one of the strongest channels and platforms for advertisers to reach an engaged audience at scale.
Q: What’s next for Karen?
A: I am part of the Effect team at Network 10, which is focused on providing integrated solutions for clients and brands across our full playground at 10 ViacomCBS. Our playground is ever-changing, with new brands being added constantly (our new channel 10 Shake is a great example). I’m looking forward to continuing to immerse myself in our ever-evolving offering and being able to tailor more integrated and best-in-market solutions for our clients.
Q: Finally, if you could feature in one 10 show, what would you choose and why?
A: It would have to be Australian Survivor. I love that show! Although I’m a bit precious even when it comes to camping, so with no food, no showers and no shelter, I’m not even sure I’d last a week!!