MasterChef's back, and so are the brands

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 28 April 2015

A suite of brands have signed onto season seven of MasterChef following a renaissance in the show's fortune's last year, with the new season to air on 5 May.

Returning brands are Coles, Alfa Romeo, Harvey Norman, and Finish, while Swisse Wellness is jumping on board for the first time.

It is unclear whether the returning brands have signed on as part of a previously-arranged multi-year deal, with Ten saying the negotiations were commercial-in-confidence.

However, Ten had managed to bump up overall viewers by 31% during the last season, with the previous season somewhat of a low point for the series.

Brands are increasingly looking for integration opportunities within TV shows, as they seek greater engagement with shows and the value of spots and dots trading continues to decline.

Most media agencies have forecast a broadly flat year for TV spend, but several buyers have told AdNews in the past that brands were looking for deeper integration opportunities rather than it simply being about spots being of less value to brands.

Nine's head of branded content and integration Lizzie Young previously told AdNews: “It's not really quite as simple as that. Whether or not spots and dots are going down we're creating these opportunities because of demand from the marketplace, independent of what's happening in the ad breaks.

“Brands are looking or deeper integration opportunities, and they're looking to be a brand which empowers consumers.”

TV networks are looking for revenue where they can find it, with dire predictions levelled at free-to-air players over the past months.

While TV remains a powerhouse in advertising, growth is getting harder to achieve with Citibank saying in a recent report that growth would reach zero in the medium term.

TV faces younger-skewing audiences finding their way to other mediums, while subscription video on demand platforms such as Netflix nibble away at their base.

Recent analysis of OzTAM data driven by the Australian Financial Review found that free-to-air audiences in metro audiences had dropped by 6% year on year for the first seven weeks of the year.

However, this analysis does not include networks' catch-up numbers, which should start to hit the market in the second half of this year.

Coles in particular has been a heavy supporter of integration opportunities, with the brand managed by UM seeking integration opportunities with several flagship reality series such as My Kitchen Rules, The Block, and MasterChef.

“From the very first season, Coles and MasterChef Australia have been inspiring Australians to feed their families extraordinary food,” Coles' marketing and store development director Simon McDowell said.

“After six consecutive years of partnership, we continue to believe, more than ever, that all Australians can cook like a MasterChef, by shopping where a MasterChef shops.”

Aside from the core judges of Gary Mehigan, George Calombaris, and Matt Preston, chefs including: Heston Blumenthal; Massimo Bottura; Sat Bains; Maggie Beer; Marco Pierre White; Curtis Stone; and Marcus Wareing will all feature.

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