Those of us who woke up with a sore head this morning will know that yesterday was Nine’s upfronts.
Nine made a number of key updates including ad manager – an advertising proposition targeting small businesses.
But what did adland think? Here are some of the key thoughts:
Melissa Miller – EssenceMediacom head of media solutions & investment, Brisbane
As we’ve seen in previous years, Nine was again the first to hold its 2024 Upfront, delivering a seamlessly orchestrated event. In his opening address, CEO Mike Sneesby reiterated the company’s vision to be Australia’s Media Company. As stated in 2023, Australia Belongs Here is still very much the theme on which it focuses, with a view of shaping culture and changing perspectives.
It was undisputedly clear that the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games are the jewels in Nine’s crown next year. With rights secured through to the 2032 Brisbane Olympics, Nine’s goal is to deliver a “decade of goosebumps.” Given the hefty investment for the television rights, it’s very clear it is looking to leverage every opportunity across all its assets in the lead-up to the games, using them to create what it called “a mega marketing platform”.
From a consumer standpoint, the broadcast experience promises to be extraordinary, with cutting-edge technology offering integrated in-real-life (IRL) perspectives, stroboscopic cameras, first-person drones, and comprehensive coverage across two 24-hour channels. With an additional 40 live and on-demand channels on 9Now viewers will have the power to curate their own line-up which is a powerful proposition.
While the program reel showcased exciting new content, including Gordon Ramsey’s Food Stars, Human Error, The Garden Hustle, and new game show Tipping Point, it was evident that Nine intends to maintain its consistency with proven performers like MAFS, The Block, and Lego Masters, all underpinned by its strong news and sports offering. This strategic move subtly reassures advertisers that Nine remains committed to delivering reliable results for its brands.
The announcement that probably generated the most buzz was Nine Ad Manager, a self-service platform aimed at SMEs, no doubt with the aim of taking market share from the digital platforms where small- to medium-sized brands have tended to focus their investment. For as little as $500, brands can run campaigns on CTV through 9Now with AI producing a TVC generated from website assets. While it makes television accessible to all advertisers regardless of size and budget, there is a watch out. Nine will have to carefully manage quality through the new platform to ensure the premium TV experience remains at the forefront. TV is a storytelling platform where content is king and it is important that ads on air are high quality, compelling and engaging to both achieve cut-through for brands and maintain the quality of experience for viewers.
Overall, the upfront provided confidence that Nine continues to invest in the three critical areas – content, tech and data. Particularly commendable was its recognition of the importance of engaging younger and more diverse audiences to stay at the forefront of relevance in the ever-evolving media landscape. Testament to this forward-thinking approach is its expansion of publishing platforms, enabling all articles to be accessible through audio, further exemplifying their dedication to inclusivity and innovation.
It is undeniable that their comprehensive reach across total TV, audio, and publishing not only provides Nine with an unrivalled scale but also establishes a dominant position, granting them a distinctive edge over its competitors.
Sue-Ellen Osborn, Sydney head of investment, Spark Foundry
As always, Nine put on an incredibly detailed yet entertaining presentation. It continued its “Australia Belongs Here” platform which was launched last year, and it has the depth of content and the broad range of assets to deliver on that statement.
Its approach to bringing Australia to the next Olympics with a United Content Platform was the centrepiece of its presentation. Much of the first hour was dedicated to the Olympics, and it was mentioned several times again over the course of the two-hour presentation. You can see that it has a fresh, technology-centred approach to the telecast and I like that it will also have a strong focus on the stories of the athletes. The Olympics will be a huge event for Nine next year, and it was great to see how it will feature across all its assets long before the games and become a part of its news and entertainment content across 2024.
The other highlight for me was the depth of all its general entertainment programming. All the strong performing content that Australians know and love such as MAFS, The Block, Lego Masters and The One Hundred will be back. It is revitalising its news lead-in with a new game show, Tipping Point, which is a key pillar in its strategy to grow its audience next year. There are also several new dramas and a new food show, Food Stars with Gordon Ramsey. It was good to see that it is also bringing Stan Original content to Free-to-Air TV for the first time.
There was nothing that disappointed me about Nine’s presentation. Although, I could have seen a little less about the Olympics. If the frequency of the message is more than three times in a two-hour window, you need to adjust the settings. I am also looking forward to seeing more of the detail behind some of Nine’s new announcements like RTLX. It will be interesting to know which retail partners its have engaged with and to understand how that offer will be connected into client campaigns.
Nine continues to have a clear, well-thought-out, strategic approach to who it is, its content, its platforms, data, and technology, which allows the network and its advertising partners to connect more effectively with the people of Australia. It doesn’t deviate from that strategy, rather each year it builds on it with additional layers to strengthen its offering to the advertising community. Its announcements around data partnerships and unification, new solutions for small and medium businesses, creating TVCs through AI and the new RTLX marketing platform are all examples of how it is strengthening its strategy to help advertisers connect with all Australians.
Nick Behr, CEO and founder, Kaimera
It was a great show and it’s clear the Olympics is the biggest investment that Nine has made in quite some time. However, I question the power of the upcoming Games in Paris – my concern would be how Australians consume large events such as sport and entertainment based in a different time zone versus how they consume it in an Australian time zone.
We’ve seen from past events, like the recent Women’s World Cup and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, that viewership tends to go when Aussies can watch in their prime TV time. But events in non-friendly timezones, such as the upcoming Olympics in France, won’t necessarily get the views. My feeling is that Nine is going to be waiting until the Brisbane Olympics to recoup their investment.
Outside of the Olympics, Nine is also investing heavily in its data and e-commerce solutions and we are looking forward to being able to delve into those functions for our clients. Overall, next year looks like a solid slate for our clients to reach their audiences.
Chris Parker, CEO, Awaken
Did you know that Nine has the Olympics? You may have missed it in its presentation…
In a colossal production, Nine showcased that it is the number one on TV, audio and print. Get ready to strap in for the next 10 years as Nine will be the home of the Olympics. It will also launch a Shark Tank but for food, which looks like it will draw in new audiences. However, there was not as much presented on new content, though all of the audience drawcards are having big seasons with 20 years of The Block, Lego Masters vs The World and of course MAFS. These will help Nine maintain its market share leadership.
In a well-timed opportunity for Nine, the Matildas will be back next year at the Olympics, and if the amount of time Sam Kerr’s image had during the presentation is anything to go by, they will be doubling down on this cultural shift. Ian Thorpe, Gian Rooney, Dylan Alcott and others will be working with Nine across 48 channels of the Olympics, two 24-hour channels and a daily “hour of power” after the news that will draw in viewers and advertisers.
Nicole Boyd, head of client service, The Media Store
I thought Nine yet again put on an amazing event for its 2024 Upfronts. I thought the network did a great job in the amount of content it had to cover and truly demonstrated its depth across TV, audio and publishing. From a broadcast perspective, it has both a solid schedule of returning programs combined with some new programming that I can’t wait to watch including Human Error, and Most Identical Twins as well as a strong sporting and news cross-platform schedule. Taking Stan original programming and incorporating it within 9 and 9Now is a smart move and its self-service ad manager platform to compete with Meta, Google and TikTok, with AI-produced creative, is a very interesting proposition. I would like to know more about its RTLX offering, though. And who the two per cent of Australians they’re not reaching are! Overall, I thought it was a great upfront and Nine really did it well.
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