Nine’s initial concerns around the disruption to its latest season of Married at First Sight (MAFS) quickly evaporated, with head of content production and development Adrian Swift saying the latest series is one of its best.
The reality TV show has been delayed by a couple of weeks due to the Australian Open and kicks off today at 7.30pm.
Speaking to AdNews, Swift says while there are too many variables to know what the new starting time will have on audience numbers, he thinks it will perform well against competitor shows. In addition to scheduling delays, there were also disruptions to production which TV shows have become familiar with during the pandemic.
“It’s actually worked out rather well for us because we've had to change things, for instance we couldn't do things like going back to where people came from to meet the parents,” Swift says.
“What we've done instead has worked out better than going back to see the parents. It's produced more content, and it has produced stronger reactions.
“To be completely honest, we were worried about how to get around all this stuff, but I think this is one of the best series we've ever made. Not because we planned it like this, but because things fell into our lap because of COVID.”
Swift also shakes off any fatigue around the eighth season of the show, which was still a top performer last year. When the show wrapped up in April 2020, it pulled in a metro audience of 1.48 million viewers, although it was down from the year prior.
“It's an incredibly strong format and it's a really strong cast this year,” Swift says.
“When you look at the promos, you hear the stories and you see the participants, it's just a very compelling offering. It’s a little bit like saying one of your favorite soaps is 10 years old - it’s how you tell the story and the people who play in those stories is what makes it interesting. Also, I think it's probably the strongest format I've ever worked on, you never know what’s going to happen from year to year.”
Brands such as KFC, Suzuki, BUPA, Youfoods, Lion and Tradie have all returned as sponsors on the show, while brands such as Disney+, Specsavers, Snooze, Menulog and MyPayNow join for the first time.
Nine Powered boss Liana Dubois says that the line-up of advertisers reflects the appeal of the format.
“As the years go on, advertisers generally are becoming a lot more accustomed to and understanding of the power that these sorts of formats can deliver to them when they integrate into them,” Dubois says.
“The beauty of Married at First Sight is because it's a story of people's journeys, the reality is there is a way in for most brands into a format like that because it's just human stories.
“So you have to look for the gap, for those opportunities of how to authentically weave advertisers and their brand messages in.”
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