Big Brother has ‘changed the game’ for Seven: James Warburton

The CEO of Seven, James Warburton, says its revitalised Big Brother format has changed the game for the network, and is just the start of its new content strategy.

Last year, the new CEO flagged the network – which has until recently topped the total people battle, but lost out in the key advertising demographics of those aged 16 to 39, 18 to 49, and 25 to 54 – was keen to attract younger audiences, ditch ageing formats and franchises, and re-engage with heartland Australia.

Big Brother will also be back in 2021

Shows such as Big Brother, the soon-to-launch Farmer Wants A Wife and Holey Moley formed part of the strategy.

Big Brother premiered to 853,000 metro viewers for the arrival section of its premiere episode. This climbed to 866,000 for the main section of the first episode, and again jumped to 930,000 for the first eviction. On the night, this was ahead of Masterchef’s 854,000 on Ten, and The Voice on Nine, which had 849,000.

It was, however, frequently beaten in the entertainment battle by Masterchef. Ten’s Masterchef was also consistently more popular in the demographics. The ratings for its final episode are currently unavailable, as the data collector Nielsen has been a victim of a ransomware attack.

Despite the three-way battle between The Voice, Big Brother and Masterchef – and the unavailable data – Warburton declared victory on Thursday, saying the program was a success and had delivered exceptional results across broadcast, digital and social.

“The start of our new content-led growth strategy with Big Brother has driven huge demographic and BVOD results and taken us back to number one, not just in total people but in the core demographic of 25 to 54s. When we get our 7:30pm tent-pole strategy competitive, our dominant spine of Sunrise, The Morning Show, The Chase, Seven News, Home and Away and the AFL sees us dominate the ratings,” he said.

Warburton with Big Brother host Sonia Kruger 

Seven’s demographic win claims are based on Seven Network winning the total people, 16 to 39, and 25 to 54 battle each week since big Brother began in June.

Seven’s network programming director, Angus Ross, said Big Brother is everywhere, bringing the network “big ratings, big demos and big BVOD”.

“On all platforms it dominates. Seven straight weeks of broadcast dominance. Number one in every demo – 16 to 39, 18 to 49 and 25 to 54. Big Brother is our biggest streaming show ever and continues to cement 7Plus’ dominance in the streaming space. The game really has changed. And the best part is this is just the beginning of our new content strategy as we continue to work more with great content partners like Endemol Shine,” he said.


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