Free to air catch-up TV platforms will make people register and log in says Nine sales boss

Nine Entertainment Co’s sales boss has said free-to-air catch-up TV services are likely to overhaul their existing platforms and move to a model where viewers are required to log in and give their details to access the content.

Peter Wiltshire

Peter Wiltshire speaking at the National Radio Conference

Peter Wiltshire also said IPTV services such as Freeview Plus have failed to achieve significant penetration on the main TV in the household, estimating that only one per cent of homes had used the internet on a smart TV.

“We are all launching various streaming services for our channels and over the next year or so all the free-to-airs will launch far more advanced (catchup TV) versions of what we have,” Wiltshire told the audience, in a discussion on the shift to programmatic trading across various sectors at the National Radio Conference in the Gold Coast yesterday

“It will be very similar to the iView and OnDemand platforms that you will be familiar with from the ABC and SBS and with that we have an opportunity to invited consumers to provide a login.

“This is so we actually know who they are and then from that we can start to build a programmatic capability around our AVOD platforms. That will then give us the chance to ad serve in an addressable environment.”

Wiltshire also acknowledged that rival TV sales house MCN had stolen the march on the free-to-air networks noting that their programmatic platform meant that they were in an “enviable position” of being able serve targeted ads into homes already.

“We sit here quite humbly and recognise what it is and the threat it could bring,” Wiltshire told the room, while also noting “the long road ahead is about getting the big screen at home connected to the internet and be IDed so you can start to address the household.”

“The statistics on that right now are that right now 10 per cent of homes have a smart TV and are connected to the internet,” he said.

“I would give you my right arm that of those TVs, that are connected to the internet, only one tenth of them are using internet services on those screens.”

The Nine sales boss’ remarks echoed comments he made earlier this year about subscription video on demand (SVOD) services like Netflix, Stan and Presto would only being a “niggle” on the free-to-air TV networks.

“The wide world out there is not doing this as of yet,” he said. “We all live in a bubble in this industry we all do it at home but the vast majority aren’t – but they will.

“As we start pushing reasons for them to do it and giving them promotion for why they should we can start to built an addressable capability into the broader broadcast free-to-air market.”

Freeview Plus Asked whether his remarks signalled that industry IPTV initiative Freeview Plus had been a failure Wiltshire responded: “HbbTV (the platform for Freeview Plus) is a method of getting us to that point but it is only one method.

“The problem you have with HbbTV is that it is an early technology that is not currently built into many of sets being manufactured.

“There are only three manufacturers in Australia producing and shipping sets with HbbTV technology and so you have a long road ahead to get penetration to a point where it becomes a meaningful proposition.”

When Freeview Plus launched mid last year its boss Liz Ross said it was aiming for 10 per cent penetration in its first year but acknowledged earlier this year that it had failed to hit that target noting take up had been “slower than expected”.

Wiltshire reiterated that the big challenge for TV was getting the right IPTV technology in the hands of the consumer, who then needed to both understand what they are buying and also understand how to connect and use it.

“We are in the very early stages of a very long road and we are committed to it,” he said.

“Our organisation feels very very positive about programmatic whether it is at the early stages of being automated trading, dealing the volume of spots we have to deal with everyday or whether it is about having a targeted addressable capability going forward it is definitely game-on for us – we are very keen for it.”

Nic Christensen  

Mumbrella travelled to the Gold Coast as guests of Commercial Radio Australia. 


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