Nine revealed its 2020 plans via its upfronts in Sydney yesterday to a packed house of assorted media types, marketers, journos and a host of others just hoping to see Delta Goodrem (who, sadly, didn’t show up, but Guy Sebastian and Kelly Rowland did).
The event had a real sense of déjà vu, in that there wasn’t a whole heap new on offer from last year’s soiree. That said, Nine would probably prefer to see it as a “if ain’t broke, why fix it?” approach. Company CEO Hugh Marks opened proceedings and, unlike last year, had good reason to crow about Nine’s acquisition of the Fairfax titles and Macquarie Media over the past 12 months and its ability to cross-sell the two. Chuck Stan and its catch-up channels into the mix and the company certainly boasts an array of options for advertisers.
MAFS, Block, et al
In terms of content, all the usuals are set for a 2020 return – MAFS, The Voice, Ninja Warrior, The Block, Lego Masters, Doctor Doctor and Travel Guides. Anyone in yesterday’s audience who’d forgotten Nine had the NRL rights would’ve also been reminded about 200 times during last night’s – if B&T dare say it – slightly overly-long presentation. Then there’s the Australian Open tennis in January which Nine secured last year in a five year, $50 million deal. There had been media reports that the broadcaster had struggled to find the advertisers to foot the bill for its extravagant cost and, again last night, there were repeated reminders of the opportunities for brands to get onboard for those last two weeks in January. If you’d somehow forgotten Australia’s Ash Barty was the world’s number one women’s player, last night’s upfronts would’ve reminded you on a repeat loop
In terms of new shows, there wasn’t a whole heap on offer and those that were looked rather predictable – the usual crime dramas and yet more Hamish and Andy. Rebecca Gibney returns as forensic psychiatrist in HALIFAX: Retribution. There’s a gangland drama called Informer 3838. A reality show called Parent Jury where other parents get to shit-can other parents’ parenting skills. Emergency appears to be yet another fly-on-the-wall documentary shot in hospital emergency wards. And there was Taronga: Who’s Who In The Zoo – yet another fly-on-the-wall expose of Australia’s prettiest zoo. Lastly, there was Hamish And Andy’s Perfect Holiday, which looked remarkably similar to every other Hamish and Andy program.
Google and Facebook
The were also shots fired across the bow of TV networks’ mortal enemies – Google and Facebook. Last night, Nine said it was fighting to return hundreds of millions of dollars of lost advertising revenue back to free-to-air television by tackling the tech behemoth’s dominance in things like online video and audience targeting. Chief sales officer Michael Stephenson said the broadcaster would compete more aggressively with the tech titans using a new “cost per completed view” model across commercials on catch-up app 9Now and short-form video that would mean that advertisers were only charged when a viewer watches an entire ad.
A general rundown on other announcements included:
• Nine will launch its Australia 2020 initiative, which will give four brand partners the opportunity to own all of Nine’s biggest events on television next year. The initiative will give the four brands involved in Australia 2020 the opportunity to own every moment of the Australian Open, Married at First Sight, The Voice, Australian Ninja Warrior, Lego Masters, State of Origin, the ICC Twenty20 World Cup, The Block and Love Island Australia.
• Nine will continue to grow its 9Now as a leading commercial premium video provider and will compete more aggressively in the billion-dollar Australian online video market introducing cost per completed view on its short form and long form video products.
• It also announced the unification of data assets across its whole enterprise including 9Now, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review, Domain, Pedestrian Group and CarAdvice, to create a powerful data ecosystem.
• It also unveiled its new advertising effectiveness offering, designed to ensure marketers can demonstrate a return on investment from marketing across their total video spend on the Nine ecosystem. The new offering, which has been built out as part of the client solutions division Nine Powered, offers marketers a number of key products including the benefits of econometric modelling; real- time measurement of audience response through partnerships with leading media analytics firms Adgile Media and TVSquared; and brand health studies to track the impact of advertising on key brand perceptions.
• The broadcaster also announced plans to use its key “superbrands” to build its reach and audience across the key verticals of property, auto, travel and food. Nine will now look to supercharge brands such as Domain, CarAdvice/Drive, Good Food, Traveller, and Good Weekend and Sunday Life, by expanding them into true cross-platform franchises.