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Nine confident The Block will deliver, unconcerned by Ten’s Survivor

Nine’s The Block is set to return for its 12th season with seven commercial partners on board as Nine claims it has no fears of the reality program going up against Ten’s big hope, Survivor.

The Block

Nine has announced Aldi, Domain, McCafe, Mitre10, Stazy, Suzuki and Telstra have signed on as sponsors for The Block’s 12th season which see see five teams go head-to-head to modernise the derelict headquarters of a Australian soap and candle factory in Melbourne.

Speaking with Mumbrella, Lizzie Young, Nine Entertainment Co., director of innovation, partnerships and customer experience, said: “What is fantastic is to be seeing so many returning partners to the show – Mitre 10 has come back for its ninth season with us, which is testament to what The Block can do, and Telstra has joined us and is harnessing the power to tell the story around the connected home of the future.

“It’s really encouraging to see we’ve got significant digital brands in there who are clearly valuing the power of what television can do in terms of engaging with viewers and driving digital businesses,” Young added, referencing Domain and Stayz.

Domain will be offering viewers a weekly 360-degree photo series that aims to bring audiences closer to The Block’s Sunday room reveals while Stayz will offer viewers the opportunity to win one night’s accommodation for two at The Block in their apartment of choice.

Lizzie Young says Nine has complete confidence The Block will perform

Lizzie Young says Nine has complete confidence The Block will perform

Young said the past six years has seen immense change in how brands integrate into shows such as The Block.

“Probably around six years ago was around the start of big formats like this that you could integrate into. Back then you had The Block and Australia’s Funniest Home Video Show, and what we were asked for back then was sponsorship and sponsorship billboards and product placement,” she said.

“Whereas now we’re delivering branded content series, we’re doing integration into storylines, talent ambassador deals beyond what anyone thought was possible.

“We’re using the power of our partner brands to grow our audience through their databases and in the case of retailers; but equally what we’re able to offer in return is so much deeper and more immersive.”

The Block is set to go head-to-head with Ten’s Survivor which is debuting at 7:30pm on Sunday August 21 and will then air on Sunday and Monday evenings, while The Block returns the same evening, kicking off at 7:00pm.

However, Young was unconcerned about Survivor’s impact on The Block’s performance.

“My view is The Block is the biggest reality format coming to television for the remainder of the year. We absolutely believe in The Block. We have complete confidence that it will deliver,” she said.

“It’s been a year and we know that Blockheads are hugely loyal fans, so that puts us in a really good position.”

Last year The Block posted its lowest finale audience to date, with 1.57m tuning in for the grand final, climbing to 1.81m when Dean and Shay Paine were declared the outright winners.

Since 2010, the show’s premiere and grand finale, traditional audiences have slowly diminished, however Young asserts the audience is simply consuming the show in different ways.

“We’ve spent this year addressing that and ensuring our content distribution strategy meets what the audience wants and to that end we launched 9Now, our live-streaming and video on demand product in February, and we’ve got 1.5m signed up subscribers to that product – and that means for this season of The Block it is available to the entire audience anytime, anywhere, on any device,” she said.

“And with our new affiliate arrangement with Southern Cross Austereo we now have coverage all around Australia of The Block as a brand and with that comes our ability to drive The Block as a fan and to drive fans to consume it either on linear broadcast or on 9Now.”

Young also backed Nine’s “back cast” for 2016, suggesting it is not solely up to The Block to make the channel more attractive to the advertising industry after data from Free TV revealed Nine’s share of the free-to-air ad market had fallen to its lowest point in four years.

“Our back cast is very strong across the board – we’ve got The Block, we’ve got Married at First Sight which has been an absolute performer for us to date and we are coming into the cricket. Our remaining 2016 is incredibly strong across the board,” she said.

The Block returns to Channel Nine and 9Now on Sunday August 21 at 7:00pm.

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