Upfronts are a Source of Inspiration, says Nine Group Content Strategy Director

Nine’s group content strategy director, Lizzie Young, has rejected the suggestion that the media industry’s use of Upfront events is outdated, focusing instead on the drive and positivity the annual events create internally. 

Speaking on the panel at a Sydney event hosted by the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) and ThinkTV, Young emphasised how Nine’s annual Upfront presentation inspires the media company.  

“You know what’s great about Upfront for us as a business, culturally? It gets stuff done,” Young said. 
“I can tell you we got 9Voyager built because we had a deadline. If it was understood that we were going to announce it at one key event, then we had to get it done by then.” 

9Voyager is Nine’s self-service platform, built by the Nine technology team, “where you’ll be able to trade our inventory from the palm of your hand at home and pay for it on a credit card, or however you would like, and buy television inventory and digital inventory in the future,” Young explained. 

“We will also have a low-cost production model to go with that, which is a fantastic model for SMEs in the market.” 

The panel homed in on the opportunities for brands on broadcast video on demand (BVOD), with Young emphasising they were “rich”. 

She said reality formats such as The Block on Nine are the key to BVOD strategies because they provide an opportunity for short-form, brand-integrated content. 

“We know this is the content that gets the audience, we see it day in, day out, and where the values get even greater is through the BVOD platforms. 

“That’s because if you are embedded in a piece of content, which may be seen by one million people the first time it runs, you can get stronger incremental reach by being part of short-form as the VOD keeps going with integrated content the consumer is already interested in.”

Married at First Sight set to Deliver ‘Amazing Love and Drama’ Again in 2019

Nine’s 2019 programming slate will open with a collection of audience favourites alongside exciting new offerings such as Bad Mothers, says Nine’s Program Director, Hamish Turner.

“Coming after the Australian Open, a fantastic platform to promote our new shows, we kick off the year with the return of 2018’s smash hit, Married at First Sight,” Turner says.

“Coupled with that is Travel Guides, the brand-new drama Bad Mothers, David Attenborough’s blue-chip series Dynasties, the final season of Big Bang, and Young Sheldon season two. We’ve also got Murder, Lies and Alibis, Australian Crime Stories, and 60 Minutes in its forty-first year.”

Turner noted that 2018 was a defining season for Married at First Sight, the number one program of the year.

“It won total people, 25-54s, 16-39s, it took everything. It was the most talked about show in 2018, the number one regular show,” he says.

“For advertisers, the great thing about this is that people care. People talk about it. It’s the conversation people are having at the water cooler the next day.”

Turner is confident Married at First Sight will continue to deliver great results in 2019.

“We have amazing love, we have amazing drama, it definitely satisfies the expectations of the audience, and we are guaranteed to deliver again in 2019,” he says.

Travel Guides will also be back in 2019 for season three.

“This was a show that had year-on-year growth in 2018. Our cast are returning and they are going from India to South America and back to Europe, and we look forward to joining them on their journeys in 2019,” Turner says.

Nine will also be premiering the new Australian drama series, Bad Mothers.

“It follows four mothers in suburban Melbourne going through the trials and tribulations of life, like love and bringing up kids. While there is humour, at the backdrop of this series is a murder which drives the narrative throughout,” Turner says.

Bad Mothers has as an all-star cast including Melissa George, Daniel MacPherson, Michala Banas, Mandy McElhinney, Shalom Brune-Franklin and Jessica Tovey.

Sir David Attenborough, the world’s great naturalist, will again be on Nine in 2019 with his new blue-chip series, Dynasties.

Dynasties follows five animal groups, with each episode dedicated to one group at a critical stage of their life,” says Turner. “The leader is being challenged and this shows the dynamics in that relationship. There’s death, love and desperation. It’s amazing, it’s brilliant natural history with drama.”

Nine will also premiere a new true-crime series, Murder, Lies and Alibis, in the first quarter of 2019.

“This program looks at cases that have either gone cold, or new evidence has come to light. It has the style of a ‘deep-dive’ investigation and it is of the highest quality. We are really looking forward to bringing that to screens next year,” says Turner.

The American medical procedural drama New Amsterdam is also coming to Nine in 2019.

“In 2018, we saw a bit of a resurgence in US dramas and we are very pleased to bring New Amsterdam to your screens,” Turner says.

“It was one of the biggest new series in the US this year. New Amsterdam follows a doctor who has to completely change the regime at the New Amsterdam hospital in New York.”

Nine’s programming schedule will also feature audience favourites Young Sheldon and The Big Theory, which are both returning next year.

Big Bang is in its final season. It has been an absolute star performer for us and we look forward to sending it off in style. Joining it is the number one comedy show of the year, Young Sheldon,” says Turner.

2018 Program Highlights

Across the 40-week ratings survey period (excluding Commonwealth Games) Nine’s primary channel secured the greatest share of prime time (6.00pm to midnight) viewers with the coveted demographics of People 25-54, People 16-39 and Total Grocery Shoppers with Child.

  • Nine has won the key advertiser-friendly demographics across the five capital cities for the 2018 ratings year
  • No.1 sports program & No.1 overall program: State of Origin
  • No.1 entertainment program: The Block
  • No.1 light entertainment series: Australian Ninja Warrior
  • No.1 reality series: Married at First Sight
  • No.1 comedy program: Young Sheldon
  • No.1 weekly public affairs program: 60 Minutes
  • No.1 BVOD TV Network: 9Now
  • No.1 BVOD program: Married at First Sight

In 2018, Nine was home to Australia’s No. 1 program, with the first State of Origin rugby league match between New South Wales and Queensland scoring a national average audience of 3.445 million viewers (5 City: 2.347 million/Regional: 1.097 million).

Kick-starting Nine’s 2018 schedule was Australia’s No. 1 regular series and No. 1 reality series, Married at First Sight, which wrapped the fifth season with its highest ratings yet. The explosive series that had the whole nation talking concluded with a national average audience of 1.855 million viewers per episode (5 City: 1.346 million/Regional: 509,000), culminating in 2.588 million viewers for its finale (5 City: 1.9 million/Regional: 688,000).

Married at First Sight also boasted incredible year-on-year growth, increasing its 5 City audience by 16.7% with People 25-54, and by 12.8% with Total People. Married at First Sight is the No. 1 entertainment program of 2018 with People 16-39.

The spin-off series, Talking Married, became the highest-rating program in the history of 9Life. Married at First Sight returns for its highly anticipated sixth series on Monday, January 28, straight after The Australian Open.

The world’s biggest and most enduring singing contest, The Voice, formed the backbone of Nine’s second quarter. Celebrating its seventh series in 2018, The Voice delivered a national average audience of 1.407 million viewers per episode (5 City: 982,000/Regional: 425,000), with 1.486 million viewers tuning in to the final episode (5 City: 1.037 million/Regional: 449,000).

After taking the nation by storm in 2017, Australian Ninja Warrior returned with a bang in July, capturing a national average audience of 1.367 million viewers per episode (5 City: 978,000/Regional: 389,000), making it Australia’s No. 1 light entertainment series of 2018. The finale reached a national average audience of 1.670 million viewers (5 City: 1.208 million/Regional: 462,000). Australian Ninja Warrior will return in 2019 from its brand-new home in Melbourne.

Enjoying an unprecedented 14th series in 2018, Australia’s longest running reality series, The Block, is a national phenomenon. No other program on Australian television has delivered the consistency of viewers over such a sustained period. Nor does any other program provide better integration opportunities for advertisers. 

When the hammer went down on this year’s series, it recorded a national average audience of 1.608 million viewers per episode (5 City: 1.161 million/Regional: 447,000), with a massive 2.888 million viewers tuning in for the “Winner Announced” segment (5 City: 2.093 million/Regional: 795,000). The Block is the No. 1 entertainment program of 2018 with People 25-54 and Total People.

True Story with Hamish & Andy returned in 2018 for a second series of ten episodes. The smash-hit comedy, in which everyday Aussies recount their hilarious true tales which are then recreated by a cast of renowned actors, wrapped up with a national average audience of 1.037 million viewers per episode (5 City: 738,000/Regional: 299,000).

The second series of Travel Guides, the observational fly-on-the wall program where diverse groups of people impart their opinions on their shared holiday experiences, achieved a national series average audience of 1.080 million (5 City: 775,000/Regional: 305,000). Travel Guides posted double-digit year-on-year growth, increasing its 5 City audience by 11.7% with People 25-54 and by 10.3% with Total People.

The first season of Love Island Australia set a new benchmark for cross-platform television and digital performance. The joint 9GO!/9Now commission saw the show’s national cross-platform audience average 519,000 across television and digital. Love Island Australia also smashed records for digital, with eight episodes surpassing the 300,000-mark on 9Now and 28 of the 30 episodes achieving a VPM in excess of 200,000 – numbers that continue to grow. Some episodes recorded more than 60% of their combined overnight and BVOD audience via digital. The program also smashed records for live streaming numbers, in some instances exceeding 10%  of the linear TV audience.

Nine’s drama slate was again spearheaded by the ever-popular Doctor Doctor. The third series hit a national average audience of 1.218 million viewers per episode (5 City: 811,000/Regional: 408,000).

The TV Week Logie Awards, celebrating their 60th year from a new home on the Gold Coast, secured a national average audience of 1.151 million (5 City: 847,000/Regional: 303,000). 

Nine has long been considered Australia’s most trusted source of news and current affairs. In 2018, our flagship Nine News one-hour bulletin again took top honours, across all seven days, in the country’s two biggest markets, Sydney and Melbourne. In Sydney, Nine News won 39 out of the 40 weeks over all competitors, while in Melbourne it claimed 37 weeks.

A Current Affair, the program that battles for the underdog while getting results and providing information that make a difference to people’s lives, wraps up the 2018 ratings period with a national average audience of 1.075 million viewers per episode (5 City: 756 ,000/Regional: 320,000).

Celebrating an historic 40th season in 2018, 60 Minutes ends the year as Australia’s No. 1 weekly public affairs program. This year 60 Minutes achieved a national average audience of 1.034 million viewers per episode (5 City: 722,000/Regional: 312,000).

Today, Australia’s longest running breakfast program, finished the year as champion of the timeslot across the combined East Coast capitals of Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

This year Nine premiered the debut series of Young Sheldon, which immediately cemented itself as Australia’s No .1 comedy program, with a national average audience of 1.179 million viewers per episode (5 City: 824,000/Regional: 355,000).

Michael Healy, Nine Network Director of Television, said: “After a very successful 2017, our schedule this year offered audiences and advertisers greater consistency than any other network. We are proud to have delivered a strong programming slate that entertained and informed, particularly with the demographics we target. Increasingly, our viewers are choosing to watch our content on a device and a time of their choosing, a trend that we embrace and look forward to growing.”

Michael Stephenson, Nine’s Chief Sales Officer, said: “2018 was another great year for Nine. We have again delivered where it matters for marketers: No.1 in the key demographics on the primary channel. When it comes to delivering for advertisers, year in year out, Nine has the most consistent slate of programs, built around franchises like Married at First Sight, The Voice, Australian Ninja Warrior, The Block and Love Island Australia, and this slate will be strengthened in 2019 by the Australian Open.”

In the broadcast video on demand (BVOD) space, in the last six months 9Now had an average monthly audience of 2,380,742 to be ranked No. 1 for free-to-air BVOD TV Network sites.

Married at First Sight secured an average VPM of 250,000 viewers per episode, while Love Island Australia had an average VPM of 245,000. 9Now can also claim the three most streamed series of the year in the BVOD space, with Married at First Sight, Love Island Australia and Love Island UK.

Access 2018’s top program rankings here