Seven’s 2022 Upfronts Prove Just The Ticket, Declare Media Bosses

Seven’s 2022 Upfronts Prove Just The Ticket, Declare Media Bosses
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Seven delivered its annual upfronts yesterday and the general consensus was the network will be playing it safe and sound into 2022. You can check out all of yesterday’s major announcements here.

The network, buoyed by its recent Tokyo Olympics success and a marked uptick in ad spends, was again spruiking its content slate and, in particular, its BVOD and digital offerings.

So what did agency land make of the whole shebang? To find out, B&T asked them. Here’s what they had to say:

Alison Mckay, head of trading, OMD Melbourne

After a tough and disrupted 2020, Seven presented a confident upfront having finally found some momentum off the back of the much needed, feel-good and record breaking 2021 Olympics. It is clear they have every intention of continuing this momentum in 2022, which is no mean feat in the current market.

  • Content: bringing back refreshed fan favourites such as MKR, Australian Idol and Apartment Rules in 2022 is a risky, all eggs in one basket, strategy from Seven for refreshed tentpole programming. I think we can expect audience growth across Q1, but holding audiences beyond this will be a challenge without new content and evolving viewing behaviours. What does work in Seven’s favour is major Sport events that they can use as a launch pad for upcoming programming across the year. They are also in a good position to grow subscribers on 7Plus as they onboard new data partners and invest into exclusive content.
  • Streamlined buying across broadcast and digital: Code7+ and the new Salesforce relationship is an exciting proposition from Seven. Provided it lives up to what Seven has promised, the platform delivers an exciting solution for efficient, cross-channel trading grounded in behaviours and not just demographics. More information is required as to when the product will have VOZ fully integrated (hopefully it doesn’t take as long as VOZ itself) and what integrations will be available through the new platform built in Salesforce. We look forward to the added control and transparency it will bring to the buying process.
  • Shoppable formats, in-content: The new 7Shop and 7Reward capabilities position Seven as a full-funnel e-commerce partner that can deliver quality audiences through data. How likely viewers will be to pause mid-content remains to be seen, and we expect advertisers to take a cautious approach given the premium that will be associated. Proven results will be key in order to drive uptake.
  • Data-driven audiences growing in scale and range: The growth in registered users certainly makes for a more compelling offering for advertisers but the conversation must be focussed on active users in order to hold any weight for agencies and advertisers. The new data partnerships will allow for more insights and improved targeting of the harder to reach demos, e.g. male skewed, bringing in new advertisers to Seven, provided the scale is there.

Ante Pejic, head of digital investment, Mindshare Melbourne

There were a few key content themes from Seven’s Upfronts: Sports, Spin Offs and Singing shows.  ‘Kickstart 2022’ was centred around creating stable viewership once the country inevitably opens up and habits change. A strong sports’ spine including The Ashes and Winter Olympics, flanked by tried and tested spin offs, seem to be safe bets particularly for Q1. The market is really calling out for another viable digital option with significant scale, so it’s awesome to see how Seven are planning to activate their 10 million users.

Additionally the advent of their shoppable video product 7Shop and 7Rewards was great to see as we know that eCommerce has accelerated in the past 18 months and shoppers are open to new ways to shop, but the success will come down to the simplicity of its UX.

What was refreshing to see was Seven’s commitment to sustainability and DE&I really called out, not just in terms of the content and talent on screen, but what they are doing as a business. This really resonates with what society is expecting of brands and aligns really nicely with Mindshare’s Good Growth mantra. The biggest highlight from today was Code7+, however we would have like to have seen more about how advertisers can benefit from this, particularly using CRM to enrich audiences and purchase across each channel touchpoint, including TV.

Nick Thomas, head of investment, MediaCom  

It was clear that Seven knew what advertisers wanted from them next year:  more content, more eyeballs in more ways, with more data and faster.

They’ve certainly got their swagger back, with more sports content than any sports lover could dream of, they have almost every single code you can think of from racing, sailing, Cricket, AFL, NFL, Com Games, Winters, Horses and more. This, combined with their array of singing, dancing and reality programming they will surely reach most Australians. Then if you throw in some new Dramas and the News, 2022 is shaping up to be big.

For the buyers and advertisers it feels like there is a lot to buy and with the return of some of their proven juggernauts like MKR and Big Brother, we can be confident audiences are going to tune in.

Seven have successfully leveraged the Olympics to boost their signed in users to 10Mil+ cementing them firmly as a shy second place behind Nine and making their data proposition a force to be reckoned with (over three million new sign ups during the Olympics alone). This data ecosystem only continues to get richer, allowing advertisers and buyers to better understand these audiences and target them with the new data partnerships such as Equifax, Supercars and Cricket Australia.

Ecommerce is the hottest new space to play and with 7shop and 7rewards it’s a big step in the right direction allowing consumers to click to buy from the big screen, proofs in the pudding on how this actually gets executed, but great to see innovative thinking.

To wrap it all up, a clever partnership with Salesforce to allow buyers to better interact, buy and leverage their data in a more automated way.

All advertisers want is stability for 2022, and Seven’s rock solid programming slate will surely deliver this.

Cleo Lam, activation director, Spark Foundry Australia 

Overall

Off the back of incredible momentum in 2021, there are high levels of anticipation and interest when it comes to Seven’s upfront for next year. Thanks to Seven’s kick-start initiative which started a few weeks ago, I had a sneak peek at some of Seven’s H1 programming. Today’s upfront showcased the rest of Seven’s offering for next year, and provided a good overview of Seven’s content slate, Code7+, as well as their technology offering and data partnership.

Content

Seven’s content slate for 2022 very much focuses on offering greater variety, but shorter tent-pole formats which have been well received by the Australian audience. As expected, favourites including The Voice, Big Brother, SAS, Farmer Wants a Wife and Dancing with the Stars will be returning in 2022. Spin-off programs like The Voice: Generations and Big Brother VIP provide additional confidence in Seven’s ability to consistently reach a younger audience, striking a strong balance between linear TV audience as well as BVOD. I’m intrigued about MKR’s swift return alongside Apartment Rules. While Seven didn’t reveal too many details, they have proven their ability to re-vamp existing formats with success. It will be interesting to see how Seven tweak these existing formulas in 2022. While I’m also excited about the return of AGT and the highly anticipated Australian Idol, Seven will need to be able to differentiate these programs, especially when we take into consideration The Voice and The Voice: Generation will also run on the same network, in the same year.

In addition to a strong slate of tent-pole programming – there is no doubt Seven’s sport offering will continue to perform. The Tokyo Olympics were an undoubted success. The enhanced viewing experience on 7Plus was a huge bonus and it is great to see Seven taking these learnings and applying them to Beijing Winter Olympics, which will give Seven’s 2022 a strong head-start. In addition to the Winter Olympics, Commonwealth Games, AFL, summer of cricket, Supercars as well as horse racing all provide a strong backbone to Seven’s sport offering.

Code7+

In Seven’s upfront accompanying series about Code7+, Natalie Harvey said “Makegood will be history.”

As my role focuses on the Investment side of media buying, that’s music to my ears. Code7+ promises on guaranteed audience delivery across broadcast and digital fuelled by VOZ data. Off the back of the Tokyo Olympics, Seven and VOZ are able to show the combined viewing across linear, streaming and BVOD with impressive numbers. While agencies will still need to assess how VOZ can be applied to each client / campaign from a buying and optimisation point of view, Code7+ provides a strong foundation of how future trading could look like. Working in conjunction with 7Plus’ enhanced user experience, as well as Seven’s content strategy – Seven’s message is clear: holistic view on screens will be their ongoing focus.

Technology offering & Data partnership  

Seven have continued to build out their data stack with various partnership announcements over the last few years – the latest addition Car Expert, Cricket Australia, Equifax and Supercars will further enhance 7REDiQ and provide valuable audience insights.

The announcement of 7Shop is very exciting for clients with a focus on ecommerce. 7Shop adds value to viewers’ experience by directing them to purchase – closing the purchasing funnel. 7Rewards is another new offering that enhances viewers’ experience on 7Plus  – off the back of a huge spike in 7Plus registration as a result of the Tokyo Olympics, these strategies will help retain the 7Plus audience and enhance their experience with the platform. These offerings also present a unique opportunity for the right clients.

Ken Lam, national head of investment, iProspect

There was a lot of content to unpack!

Despite a bumpy early start in 2021, Seven delivered what CEO James Warburton promised this time last year, which was to grow audience through a content led strategy over a three-year plan.

Heading into its third year, Seven are certainly confident with their plan and sticking to what delivered them great success this year with a heavy dose of returning tentpole programs flanked by their ‘all year around’ sporting strategy with Cricket, AFL and Beijing Winter Olympics – expected to give them another huge launching pad much like Tokyo 2020.

Whilst content was obviously the main focus, what really piqued my interests were Seven’s headlines around the massive growth of 7RediQ IDs further fuelled by new data partnerships, and how this can be leveraged with Seven’s new shoppable capabilities 7Shop and 7Rewards to really bring Brand and Performance together to drive business outcomes for our clients. I know there was so much content for Seven to cover that they provided Upfront Minis which provides more in-depth look into these exciting new news, but it would’ve been great to have seen more on this front and centre to compliment the breadth of quality content on show.

Charlie Bacon, client services director, Tug

Seven’s upfront’s tagline was “New in 2022” but based on the proposed lin- up, it should be more like “Revamped in 2022”. The key programming is back with SAS Australia, Farmer Wants a Wife, Dancing with the Stars and Big Brother while other formats are really just spin offs (The Voice – Generations, Big Brother – VIP)  and the reintroduction of Australian Idol which has been off air just long enough for some potential nostalgia, and a return to the good old days of My Kitchen Rules. Much like the Nine’s proposed format, reality TV will be everywhere in 2022. Channel Seven will also be able to capitalise on their Olympic success in 2021 with the short turnaround to the Winter Olympics and Commonwealth games both in 2022 giving them a unique position for the year on sporting spectacles.

 

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Channel Seven James Warburton Seven Upfronts

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