Nine won't 'oversaturate' shows with sponsors, says Stephenson

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 19 June 2018
Michael Stephenson and Melissa Mullins at The Big Ideas Store, located at 17 Oxford Street Paddington, Sydney.

Nine chief sales officer Michael Stephenson says the network will never "oversaturate one of our shows with sponsors" as it looks to ramp up its content offering for clients.

Speaking at the launch of Nine's new pop-up store, The Big Ideas Store, where it is hosting a series of events, workshops and unveiling research studies, Stephenson said content integration would never be the "only solution" to a client's business challenge.

The temporary store and speaker schedule has been designed to demonstrate how Nine’s integrated business works to formulate better solutions to the challenges facing marketers.

The pop-up is backed by 9Powered, Nine's strategy, insights and content creation team.

The store is designed to resemble a local convenience store, with shelves packed full of Nine 'sponsored products' including soft drink, cereal and snacks.

big ideas store

"Integrating a brand into our content is a part of what we would offer as a solution but very rarely would it be 'the solution' or 'the only thing'," he told media in attendance.

Stephenson said its about adding new and different ways to address client challenges

Over the next two weeks, The Big Ideas Store will highlight how 9Powered, Nine’s 'strategic client solutions division', will work with marketers across areas including production, talent, content and integration strategy.

Stephenson says successful integrated solutions will always require the creation of content because of its “proven track record” in being able to tell stories that directly connect with the relevant audience.

The Victoria Bitter (VB) hard work index is one of Nine's main examples. These are live in-game statistics that give up-to-date insights on how the player is performing on the field.

VB replaced its 'Man of the Match' award, with the 'Hardest Working Player' award post-game.

The 'Hard Work Index' system has been created to analyse each player's performance, to calculate a worthy winner.

These stats are less focused on the traditional scoring or playmaker stats and instead look at the areas such as hit-ups, metres gained and tackle count.

The animated stats are then televised throughout the NRL season and ties in with VB's 'hard earned thirst' proposition.

VB index

"Audiences are demanding more than ever,” Nine director of strategy Melissa Mullens says.

“They want great, seamless integration and they want brands to add value that they can engage with.

"As a result, we are constantly thinking about how we can create interactive and educational content for brands that provide value to audiences."

The Big Ideas Store will also be used to conduct one-on-one 9Powered hacks with a number of clients, bringing together stakeholders from across the Nine business, along with agency executives and marketing teams relevant to the clients’ brands, to solve a communication issue.

Stephenson says this provides Nine with the opportunity to "stick a stake in the ground" as content creators for clients looking to build and develop their brands.

"We feel like we are well positioned to help them on that journey and therefore we are putting our own stake in the ground to say come and experience it," he says.

"We won't just tell you what to do, we are physically going to show you how to do it. For all of these reasons now is the time for us to be a bit noisy about it."

The Big Ideas Store will host Nine’s 'Cultural Conversation Series', with the launch of three insight studies conducted in conjunction with The Lab.

These include studies focused on women in the automotive sector, the changing Australian property market and the modern dating landscape.

The two-week activation will include two guest-speaker evening events, including Gruen regular and behavioural strategist, Dan Gregory and future trends analyst, Michael McQueen.

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