Nine’s chief revenue officer Peter Wiltshire has declared the age of linear TV as over, saying no longer could he dictate when someone had to be in the lounge-room to enjoy Nine’s content.
Speaking at the 2016 upfronts – which was notable for the absence of Nine boss David Gyngell who was reportedly attending a funeral -Wiltshire said that Nine was now “the new network”, which was finally embracing programmatic, collecting first-party data and live streaming “the majority” of its content.
Wiltshire also said that Nine would lean heavily on its heritage with the Nine brand uniting all of its properties, which now boasts four free-to-air (FTA) channels with the announcement yesterday that 9Life would become Australia’s first FTA lifestyle channel. The existing secondary channels of Go and Gem will now be known as 9Go and 9Gem.
The primary channel Nine will now also be simulcast on Channel 90 as an HD channel, a decision that particularly pleased Nine’s head of sport Steve Crawley who said he’d been frustrated for years by the fact that he had been capturing all the cricket action in HD only to have to reduce the quality for broadcast.
Crawley also pointed out that Nine was the only network in Australia that employed camera operators and that as a consequence having the same people operate the same cameras match after match meant they were the best in the business.
In a further sign of its commitment to local content, Nine lost the rights to The Big Bang Theory reruns to Seven in early September, with Michael Healy, director of television, declaring first run Big Bang Theory was “the only show that has any value”.
However, he added that they were constantly “scouring the globe for independent content deals”.
In its first unified foray into programmatic TV, Nine has replaced its JumpIn companion app with 9Now, which will launch in early 2016.
9Now is also the live streaming product, which will be Nine’s primary harvester of first-party data requiring a single sign-in (including via Facebook). Wiltshire who has previously been disparaging of programmatic, said that it was simply a process of automation to allow customisation.
Among a raft of new shows also announced, the lack of a flagship cooking show to compete with Seven’s dominant My Kitchen Rules and Ten’s perennially popular MasterChef was the most noticeable omission.