Upfronts: Nine's next move against Facebook and Google

Josh McDonnell
By Josh McDonnell | 16 October 2019

Nine chief sales officer Michael Stephenson has launched a "call to action" for marketers and agencies in a strategy to take on social video giants, such as Facebook and Google.

Speaking at a media briefing ahead of Nine's 2020 Upfronts, Stephenson revealed Nine would look to grow its broadcast video on demand (BVOD) platform 9Now offering by moving to a cost per completed view model on short-form and long-form.

This would mean that agencies and clients would only pay for views that have a 100% completion rate on the platform.

Stephenson says Nine will make the move to the new model as a means of stealing money back from social video giants, which has taken more than $700 million in ad spend from TV.

"That is game-changing because what this does for the first time is allow advertisers to compare the real cost of advertising on Facebook and YouTube to what we offer at Nine," Stephenson says.

"When you look at it through that lens, Facebook and YouTube all of a sudden don't look so cheap. This is all about leveling the playing field and making a call to action because if we are to return brands to growth, we need to reset, rebalance and realign where marketers are spending their money."

Stephenson urged marketers and agencies to question the metrics of how they judge the effectiveness of their video advertising.

He says Nine remains "humble" when making this call to action, acknowledging that TV and Nine haven't always been perfect but believe it is time to make a serious change in this space.

“Why is this so important? Advertising that is being seen for one second or sometimes not at all is not as valuable as advertising that is full screen has a 100% completion rate and is seen 100% of the time," he says.

“The more of an Ad that you see and the longer that you see it, the better the results. Advertising on 9Now is full screen, you see the whole ad, the sound is on and you can’t skip it. There is far more value in that, we believe."

Stephenson says the call to action is not directed at the likes of Seven and Ten, stating that if they choose to take a similar approach that is "their own business", emphasising that the decision was about changing the image on 9Now in market.

"Given Nine's size and diversity of audience across 9Now as well as our short-form video, this is about being a direct competitor to Facebook and YouTube," he says.

"I don't want the market to see Nine as being in the BVOD space, we are not in that market, we are in the social video market and I want us to be compared with them. I understand this is hard as we are a premium product but we will compete on scale and we do compete on incremental reach."

9Now figures 2019

A complete data offering

As part of further changes to its data and insights offering, Nine has also revealed the unification of data assets across its whole enterprise including 9Now, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review, Domain, Pedestrian Group and CarAdvice.

Nine says the move will create the "most powerful data ecosystem" of any Australian media company, as well as the largest addressable marketplace, with more than 11 million IDs.

It is aimed at providing marketers with the ability to target specific audiences at scale within a premium brand-safe environment, powered by the Adobe Audience Manager Platform.

“This move gives marketers the ability to target Nine’s audience segments across the most diverse range of digital media assets in Australia, and reach audiences via short-form video, long-form video and display," Stephenson says.

As part of this announcement, Nine has rebuilt 9Tribes, its leading customer segmentation offering, which allows advertisers to target 54 unique audiences across all of Nine’s verticals and properties.

Nine has added five new verticals consisting of food, travel, automotive, luxury and property to its existing verticals of news, sport, entertainment and lifestyle.

“9Tribes has been an important part of our data offering for a number of years and we are excited to see it extending across all media assets, with clear verticals that will help marketers reach the scale of our audiences," Stephenson says.

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