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9Honey officially launches mums content play as Helen McCabe eyes off video and finance expansion

Nine’s lifestyle offering 9Honey has firmly planted its stake in the mum’s content space officially launching 9Mums, complete with a native advertising offer 9Mums Love, as head of lifestyle Helen McCabe eyes off further video content and a potential expansion in finance.

The TV network brought together a number of its verticals to launch women’s network 9Honey at the end of last year.

At the time of the launch Nine flagged its interest in the mums audience, with McCabe saying: “We’re not really in the game in a big way just yet, this is very evolutionary”.

Speaking to Mumbrella today as Nine unveiled research into the mums demographic and announced Kelly Baker as the editor of the vertical, McCabe said: “Mums was just a bit of a flag in the ground to see what the reaction was, it was the clients who said they wanted that category so to be able to go four months later, yep, we’re going to do it because we know that’s what the clients want is very satisfying”.

Helen McCabe: The big difference for us is we’ve got a TV network

Just four months since the official launch of 9Honey, McCabe said she is very pleased with the site’s performance, with video looming as her next focus area.

“That’s the big difference for us, we’ve got a television network and we’re good at video,” she said.

“Married at First Sight was a really big test whether we could own the conversation 24/7 and then what that did for our traffic and our video streams and our social platforms.

“If we can now elevate that and take that to the next stage that gives us so many other opportunities. I’m in that space much faster than I thought I would be and that’s what’s exciting.

“In a content sense there’s lots of other opportunities around the television side of the business as well,” she added.

Alongside the official launch of 9Mums, McCabe confirmed the launch of a podcast aimed at mothers in coming weeks.

When pushed on what new vertical 9Honey will get into next, McCabe laughed and said she would “calm down and keep it at that for the moment”.

“I can’t promise it but I think two podcasts on the go, I’ve lost count of how many verticals – we do have homes, food, style and travel on the go,” she said.

“There is one other that is sitting there that’s ready to have some work done to it which is finance. That’s sitting there for me to get to at some point.”

Reflecting on 9Honey’s four month journey, McCabe said the content has not changed.

“I knew exactly what I wanted out of the content,” she said.

“[9Honey editor] Kerri Elstub’s vision and mine are ridiculously in the same vein. I feel everyday when we talk about the stories we’re going to do, we’re very much on the same page, which has been fantastic.”

Kerri Elstub and Helen McCabe at the 9Honey launch in November

On what needs improving McCabe said staffing still has a “reasonable way to go” to reach the goal of 24 hour-seven day a week content model.

“We’re slowly growing the numbers of people producing content,” she said.

For McCabe the most surprising part of 9Honey’s success is how the digital and the broadcast side of Nine have come together.

“The most surprising thing, and I mean this really genuinely, is how well we’ve coordinated with Nine in the TV side of the business,” she said.

“I thought it was going to be harder than it was to marry the two sides of the business. While that was one of the really attractive things about the role, I can’t believe how we’ve managed to do that.

“The Married at First Sight work has been seamless. The support from the television division has been incredible, the support from everyone from publicity to programming – they are just coming in the door and asking how much can we do for you?

“So to be able to get the Deb Knights, the Leila McKinnons writing regularly, to be able to make Erin Molan the ambassador for Coach, to see Married At First Sight doing pop-ups for Honey, to see TV ads running out of the promo department, it’s just been incredibly humbling in some ways that everyone has just gone we’re there, we’re on board. Podcasts – two more podcasts coming out of no-where.

“It just happened because we said we wanted it to.”

McCabe said 9Honey will have to “keep innovating and be ahead of the curve” as the competitive women’s, and mums, area “is going to heat up a bit”.

News Corp’s News DNA have officially launched their women’s play Whimn.com.au, Bauer Xcel launched its women’s network Now To Love in February, with Mamamia also moving ahead with its goal to become a “generalist” news site with new content on sport, finance, travel and automotive.

McCabe said: “The competition was inevitable. This is a big marketplace that advertisers want to be in. I was never surprised by the entry of other players and for them to start gearing up into it.

“I’ve been in news and current affairs for a long time, it’s always competitive. None of that surprises me or bothers me, it just means we have to be better than everybody else at what we choose to do.

“We all pitch slightly differently. Our pitch is very much for women who watch our TV shows, the women who are watching Married at First Sight, they’re who I’m after and that’s the audience we’ve got in our sights and we’re not going to deviate from that.”

The official launch of 9Mums comes as Nine unveils new research into Australian mums.

The observational and longitudinal study conducted by Nine’s online women’s network, 9Honey, in partnership with Hoop Research Group, looked at the changing attitudes and behaviours of Australian mothers over five years and found a softening of attitudes, with participants saying they were no longer seeking “to do it all” but rather were seeking “to do their best”.

The survey of more than 800 women aims to provide Nine’s advertisers insights into Australian mums and how they can better connect with them.

Lizzie Young, Nine’s director of innovation, partnerships and experience, said in a statement: “Our research shows the importance of connecting with this audience on their terms. The study has provided fantastic insight into the current mindset of Aussie mums, which has informed the development of a better way to genuinely connect with these women.

“The combination of our scale, our content expertise – across television and digital – and our incredible stable of respected and much loved talent is a compelling proposition for any brand striving to deliver marketing-led growth.”

Lizzie Young: The onus is on us to continually evolve our offering to reflect the changing Australian mum

Nine’s launch of its native advertising offer, 9Mum Loves, aims to provide marketers and agencies with a cross-platform native solution for broadcast, digital and audio.

Young said at today’s breakfast launch event: “As marketers and media practitioners the onus is on us to continually evolve our offering to reflect the changing Australian mum, understanding how she wants to be communicated to and the type of content she wants to consume.

“The next phase for us is putting these findings into practice. We are dedicating 2017 to deepening our relationship with these Aussie mums. As with all our content genres at Nine, our vision is simple: create great content and distribute it broadly.

“And in the case of 9Mums this means the best content from the most trusted advisors distributed where mums want to consume it so they can engage and in turn this means we can support you, our brand partners and advertisers, in your need to grow marketing-led growth in your business.”

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