As the end of the year approaches, eyes turn to the 'TV ratings year', but Nine chief sales officer, Michael Stephenson, says that for all the attention, what matters most to marketers is delivering a consistent audience across all platforms throughout the whole year.
Speaking after the end of the 2017 TV ratings year, Stephenson said: “Our success this year has been our ability to deliver audience growth consistently from the first of January until the last day of the year against the demographics that advertisers buy.”
Stephenson was commenting on Nine’s strong ratings performance in 2017, led by the success of key franchises Married at First Sight, The Voice, Australian Ninja Warrior and The Block, which all helped to increase the network’s audience in thousands and across audience share.
That performance helped Nine win all the key demographics of 25-54s, 16-39s and Grocery Buyers with Children across both the network and the primary channel.
“At the start of 2017 we made a promise to the market that we would grow our audience in thousands and share, and ensure the consistency of our schedule throughout the year,” said Stephenson.
“I’m pleased to say we have achieved that across the board this year, winning all the key demographics on the back of strong franchises like Married at First Sight, Australian Ninja Warrior and The Block. These shows are all proven performers that will deliver strong audiences across the key demographics again in 2018.”
Stephenson also noted that for all the attention on the 40 weeks of the ratings year, most marketers were active throughout the year and therefore consistency across the whole schedule and the whole year was important.
“When we talk about ratings we need to recognise that marketers and their agencies are buying inventory from January 1 to December 31 across our linear channels and increasingly across 9Now,” he said.
“In a world where consumers are getting harder to reach, being able to target audiences at scale becomes increasingly important. This year we have been focused on growing our audiences across all platforms so it’s pleasing to see 9Now growing at over 100 per cent, with programs like Married at First Sight regularly delivering an average audience of 100,000 viewers.
“The growth across our digital platforms is pretty amazing” he said. “We are seeing clear growth in both our audience and therefore our revenue because as a result of our entire Nine ecosystem, we are promoting 9Now as a key distribution channel for content."
“In 2018, I have every expectation that the 9Now audience will continue to grow strongly. With over 50 per cent of all content being consumed via a connected television by February, this represents an unbelievable opportunity for brands to harness the premium environment that TV delivers with the targeting ability of digital – all in an environment that’s 100 per cent viewable for 100 per cent of the time.
“Our on-demand inventory delivered via a connected television will allow you to deliver addressable advertising at scale for the very first time by using our rich data lake, data infrastructure and authenticated IDs to target your audience segments.”
Nine’s video-on-demand inventory and data lake will be integrated with its programmatic platform, 9Galaxy, early in the new year.
Stephenson also argued that the competitive landscape had changed rapidly and had fundamentally altered Nine’s strategic approach.
“For all the focus on Ten and Seven, they are just two of our competitors,” he said. “I have incredible respect for Seven, Ten and Foxtel but I am more interested in the $6 billion video market than the historical metro FTA market. Anyone who creates or distributes video is a competitor.
“I believe that those who have the greatest Australian content, world-class tech platforms and the ability to target real people using authenticated IDs will be the best partners for brands to deliver great sales results. I think that’s the winning formula.”
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