9Powered Cultural Conversation Series: Love is a (New) Battlefield

If you want to recap on the insights that underpin smash hit shows like Love Island and Married at First Sight, revisit 9Powered’s Director of Strategy, Melissa Mullins presentation from the recent Mumbrella MSIX Conference. Here she provided an insightful look into modern-day love, and how dating and relationship shows have become a reflection of our Australian culture, driving the conversation with millions of Australians every night.

Underpinned by the qualitative and quantitative study – Love is a (New) Batttlefield, commissioned by 9Powered, dissected the science behind why we love to watch love on our screens and how marketers can play a more credible role in this content genre.

The study – Love Is the (New) Battlefield –highlights how technology has transformed the dating game, with apps like Tinder, Bumble and Grindr making people more selective about what they are looking for in a partner, and the television dating genre used as a way of learning more about relationships and dating.

Among the 500 respondents who are single and watched dating shows, some 54 per cent say they “learn about relationships from reality TV shows about love”, while 48 per cent say “you feel reassured that there are other people who are also looking for love”. Just over one-third (37 per cent) say “you can see yourself and your relationship in reality TV shows about love”.

“Dating and relationships are really part of the cultural zeitgeist at the moment with shows like Married at First Sight drawing audiences of millions of Australians,” said Mullins. “Marketers advertising in and around these shows need to recognise how technology has changed the dating scene and the commercial opportunity this creates.”

The study also illustrates how Australians see reality dating shows as metaphors for their real-life experiences, founded on the hardships of contemporary dating culture. Respondents noted how a program like Married at First Sight highlights “the struggles of making love work after you’ve found yourself in a relationship”, Love Island highlights the challenge people face being “overlooked because of superficial judgements”, while shows like Bachelor/Bachelorette exemplify the difficultly of “trying to cut through in an over cluttered, highly competitive dating pool”.

“What the research found is that reality dating shows often provide both entertainment and education, with viewers looking to see their own experiences echoed on screen,” said Mullins.

For marketers operating in this space, Mullins argues that there is an opportunity to both celebrate singledom and knowledge the challenges single people face in the modern search for love.

“The irony is that technology designed to bring us together, is actually tearing us apart and creating mistrust. For example, one in three online or app daters reporting they met someone who was completely different to their online profile, while one in four said they had been ‘ghosted’ – where the person they were chatting to disappears from the app.

“Marketers need to recognise and acknowledge these challenges. In doing so, there is an opportunity to have a real conversation about the online dating and harness the relationships genre and drive a connection between their brand and consumers in better ways.”

The survey of 500 respondents, conducted by research firm The Lab Insight & Strategy, also found that nine out of ten singles said they were not embarrassed by being single and were proud to use dating apps and sites.

“The reality is that the dating game has radically changed in recent years through technology and  the growth of the reality TV dating genre,” said Mullins. “This creates a very different landscape for marketers and brands but also immense opportunities.”

Summer’s Biggest Event Starts January 14

Tom Malone, Nine’s Director of Sport, speaks about what viewers can expect from a new era of the Australian Open on Wide World of Sports.

Speaking at Nine’s recent 2019 Sydney Upfront event, Malone says: “The Australian Open is the greatest aggregator of eyeballs on consecutive nights on Australian television bar none. The best players, a consistent schedule, for 14 days and nights.”  Wide World of Sports will take viewers closer to the action than ever before with additional cameras and innovations, which will give brands a platform to make deeper connections with the one million people who pass through the gates, and the 14 million people who will watch the Australian Open. Speak to your Nine representative to find out how your brand can harness the power of summer’s biggest event, across all platforms.

Married at First Sight in 2019 will Again be a Cross-Platform Juggernaut

Nine’s head of content production predicts the upcoming 2019 season of Married at First Sight will again be a true cross-platform juggernaut that will see its audience lift from the strong lead-in provided by the Australian Open in January.

Speaking about the launch of Nine’s 2019 content slate, Adrian Swift, Nine’s Head of Content Production and Development, pointed to the fact that Married at First Sight is the “water cooler” show that dominates the national conversation at the start of every year.

“2018 was by far our biggest season of Married a First Sight and I don’t think we quite saw how big it was going to be,” said Swift. “There’s always that moment that you walk into the supermarket and every single magazine has Married at First Sight on the cover.

“You can’t plan that, but when it happens it’s a wonderful thing.”

Swift noted that in 2018 the show was a juggernaut, averaging 1.7 million overnight viewers, but  when time-shifted and 9Now viewers were included this grew to 2.4 million per episode, making it the biggest reality franchise of 2018.

“Last year was by far our biggest season and we hope the next season will be even bigger and better,” said Swift.

“I think what makes Married at First Sight such a ‘water cooler’ is that although the cameras are there, the show is real. Our experts spend a lot of time matching people who genuinely want to meet a partner. Most of the people who approach us have tried dating apps, they have met people at parties and tried all other types of dating, but they believe our experts can find the right person for them.

The senior Nine executive also noted that for two years running, Married at First Sight has consistently been the biggest TV show in the digital video space, broadcast video on demand (BVOD).

“Married at First Sight is the biggest show in digital video on 9Now and in short form. The number of people making other programs around the show made Married at First Sight much bigger than it actually was.

“As a piece of digital content it was massive, as a piece of television content it was massive, and it was probably equally big in both environments. What we love is that as well as the content within the show there was also other content were able to put out, which people engaged with. It wasn’t ancillary content, it was genuinely part of the Married at First Sight experience.”

2019 will be the first year Nine has the Australian Open leading into its annual program slate, and Swift says this  will provide a strong platform to grow the audience for the new season.

“The Australian Open is really important because the audience for tennis is much closer to the audience for Married at First Sight, so it’s much more logical,” said Swift.

“We think these audiences will marry up, and the way people experience the show and are tantalised means they will really enjoy it.

“At the core of our show is people who are genuinely in love, and despite the fact that controversy tends to follow loving relationships we think it’s a really safe place for brands. This is telling the story of how young people find love in 2018-19 and the things they bring into a relationship, how they interact – the romantic temperature of Australians today.  We think it’s a very safe environment.”

Asked what viewers and advertisers could expect from Married at First Sight in 2019, Swift noted that the show would have some fresh twists and turns.

“In 2019, we have another 10 couples, 20 singles who are putting themselves in the hands of our social experiment. It will be a collection of people from all over Australia and we have a few new twists and turns.

“It will genuinely replicate the experience of spending time with someone. What we do is to  try and replicate the first year of a relationship –  two people finding each other, discovering each other, and then seeing how their lives together could potentially play out, all in the space of three months.

“I think people will enjoy both the people who are joining the experiment and the form the experiment takes in 2019.”

To access everything MAFS, head to the official site for exclusive content and news from the show, or watch it live or catch up on 9Now.

How 9Galaxy is Helping to Transform TV Trading

Nine’s programmatic platform 9Galaxy is making the need for media buyers to chase media owners for “make goods” – re-run credits when a commercial doesn’t deliver its intended audience – non-existent and allowing them to focus on client needs rather than being stuck in TV schedules, some of Australia’s top media traders say.

‘Essential’ for future of industry: UM
Automation has allowed media agencies to refocus on results for their clients, Dave Fowler, UM Australia’s Sydney partnerships director said.

“TV has been trading the same way for decades. It was a system designed for three stations – now it’s 14, meaning four times the amount of inventory, which resulted in traders spending 80 per cent of their time buying spots and dots which really only account for a small percentage of the reach,” said Fowler.

“Automation offers an opportunity to remove that and refocus agencies attention, to get their focus out of the schedules and into what can actually help clients.”

9Galaxy allows media agencies to remove about 80 per cent of the workload associated with trading TV, Fowler said.

“9Galaxy allows agencies to focus on the client’s needs and what’s important to them by getting our heads out of schedules and focusing on reach-building, activity and client solutions.”

9Galaxy also offers agencies audience forecasting technology which more accurately predicts how programming will rate by using rating data from the last five years, as well as weather information, to estimate an audience number.

“It removes the need for make goods, allowing us to talk to clients with confidence about campaigns in this volatile TV market place,” Fowler said.

For Fowler, 9Galaxy is “essential for the future of the industry” because it creates a “link between machine intelligence and efficiency”.

“It is the benchmark for trading TV in Australia and we can see the future of it in how we trade, not only across demographics but also across biographics and even across client first-party data.”

‘Nine is far ahead of the pack in automation’: PHD
For PHD, the experience of using 9Galaxy has been “seamless and so easy”, Lucy Formosa Morgan, chief investment officer at the media agency said. “We couldn’t fault the process at all,” she said.

“We’ve had a project manager on our side working really closely with the 9Galaxy automation team. We’ve done a lot of non-financial testing while running concurrently live buys, same brief, so we could compare the results, and from there we were able to tweak the briefing process and ensure there were no bugs or hiccups along the way.

“That non-financial testing for us has been brilliant, the linchpin in driving the take-up across the agency.”

9Galaxy has saved traders at PHD a lot of time, Formosa Morgan said.

“In terms of how valuable it is to have guaranteed audience, I cannot begin to tell you the benefits to the agency. The amount of time the guys waste having to go back and forth chasing make goods is ridiculous, so having the guaranteed audience, the guaranteed CPMs on 9Galaxy, saves us so much time on the digital channels.”

PHD has had no issues using 9Galaxy and Formosa Morgan said it is delivering what they need from a reach perspective. “We’re hitting goals,” she said.

Formosa Morgan is confident that automation will become more significant for PHD in 2019.

“I don’t believe it will be for every single client, but for those clients where it does work, yes, we’ll be rolling it out across the agency more and more over the next year,” she said.

“I believe Nine, for a free-to-air network, is far ahead of the pack with an automation process.”

‘Delivering an audience without the need of make goods is a dream’: Avenue C
“9Galaxy has given Avenue C peace of mind when buying,” says Daniel Cutrone, Avenue C director.

“It gives us the confidence to deliver to our clients’ objectives. Never before have we been able to deliver against an audience in a week and this platform enables us to do just that.

“Audiences can be quite volatile, and this gives us the ease to be able to lock in the audiences in that week and deliver in full.”

Cutrone says the 9Galaxy platform gives media buyers “all the quality programming for our business you would expect out of a major network”.

“Delivering on audience without the need for make goods is an absolute dream through 9Galaxy,” he says.

“Time and time again I can remember sitting there going through make goods and short forms with all my managers, and today we can actually deliver against those promises that the TV networks have been harping on about for years and years.

“On this platform we can deliver on those audiences, completely saving all of time, so we can focus on the more important issues like business metrics and outcomes.”

Nine 2019 Upfront: Lego Masters Provides Point of Difference to Nine’s Other Consistent Reality Formats

Nine has media buyers talking by providing a point of difference in its 2019 content slate with the launch of Lego Masters, a top media buyer says.

Speaking after the recent Nine 2019 Upfront event at Fox Studios, Melissa Hey, national head of trading at OMD Australia, nominated the new show as one of the content pieces which stood out.

“What I loved hearing about is ensuring that Nine is pulling it through across all platforms. I know it’s a big thing for Nine, making sure they are sharing the content and reaching all people because younger audiences don’t watch the big screen, so they’re ensuring they are reaching them across other platforms,” she said.

“Everyone is talking about Lego Masters. That’s exciting, and it’s something of a new genre – it’s different to dating, renovations and cooking which are great, but everyone is doing them. Lego Masters is new and it will be exciting to see how it goes.”

Hamish Blake was announced as the host of Lego Masters at Nine 2019 Upfront. He’ll be assisted by judge and resident LEGO expert Ryan “The Brickman” McNaught, who is the Southern Hemisphere’s only LEGO-certified professional. Production on the new show began on October 19.

Hey was pleased to see Nine’s focus on consistency of programming and performance.

“We’re buying media every week. We want to know that the audience is going to be there and we are reaching the right people every time we put out our clients’ dollars,” she said.

For Hey, Nine’s BVOD platform 9Now completes the puzzle from a media buyer’s perspective.

Requiring customers to log in, creating a unique ID, is exactly what media buyers and advertisers want, Hey says. “Advertisers want to know who they are actually reaching – getting to a consumer as opposed to a demographic.”