Nine setting industry trend with VOD registration, says digital boss

Nine expects the television industry to follow its lead by introducing log-in systems to catch-up and streaming services in order to better deliver contextual advertising, the broadcaster’s chief digital and marketing officer, Alex Parsons, said.


As the catch-up service 9Now celebrates its first anniversary having achieved up 2.6m subscribers, Alex Parsons told Mumbrella the service’s registration system wasn’t a “barrier at all to consumption or to take-up”.

Parsons said the log-in requirement has enabled Nine to have a “much better understanding of our audience base than the remainder of the AVOD industry in this market”.

“But I expect to see the industry follow suit with our approach, over time, and want to get a closer connection to their consumers and advertisers as well,” he said.


Alex Parsons: AVOD industry will follow Nine with a sign-up requirement

The only other catch-up service to require users to log-in is SBS On Demand.

According to Nielsen, in December 9Now had a unique audience of 1.350m, TenPlay had 1.325m, SBS on Demand recorded an audience of 672,000, ABC iView had 858,000 and Plus7 had 790,000.

In November, Yahoo7TV had 2.316m, 9Now had 1.944m, ABC iView had 949,000 (while ABC TV websites had 1.448m), SBS On Demand had 755,000 TenPlay had 1.433m.

On 9Now’s audience performance, Parsons said it was “certainly above our expectations for the first year”.

“We have seen a continued day-in-day out, week-in-week out, month-in-month out, increase in that space,” he said.

“9Now is performing well. We were second in November.  If you look at the trend line you’ll see there is really only one broadcast TV (channel) that is seeing consistent month-in-month out growth and that is 9Now.”

In terms of goals for this year, while Parsons wouldn’t reveal a number he said it was a “quantum of the goal for the first 12 months”.

In terms of the sign-on requirement, Parsons said Nine had carefully examined the value exchange being offered.


“With my marketing and product background, I’ve always been a strong proponent of value exchange, and when you provide consumers with value – and in this case live-streaming in HD quality and catch-up – the value exchange we were looking for was a sign-up,” he said.

“We’re not asking people to pay any money, we are just looking for a sign up.

“The value the consumer gets back over time is more relevant content and more contextually-relevant advertising as well. We did a lot of work around that, we did a lot of communication with consumers around that but we haven’t seen that be a barrier at all to consumption or to take-up.”

However with consumers becoming more aware of the value of their data, Parsons said the value exchange is something Nine is always looking at.

“Perhaps if we get a little bit more data from consumers we could lighten the ad-load, and perhaps if we get a lot more data from consumers we could remove the ad-load. And how do you continually adjust that value between a consumer and an organisation that is offering value back?

“I don’t know what the answer to that is today but it is something we continually look at. I do think over the longer term consumers will become more familiar with and more aware of the value of their data. Albeit, an individual’s data value is quite small in isolation, in aggregation it becomes more meaningful, but in isolation it is quite small.”

At the end of last year, Nine revealed it had gone live with a new Adobe Audience Manage data management platform that would provide consumers with personalised content on platforms like 9Now.


Parsons said Adobe DMP means “a greater ability for clients to target specific audiences”.

“It’ll be easier, less complicated for advertisers to connect to their own audiences on our media properties,” he said.

For Nine, going live with Adobe DMP was part of delivering a closer connection with consumers through the sign-on.

“With 9Now, our whole thing was around how do we make sure this is a world-class interface and a world-class service for our consumers. The key thing for us through this whole process was around a much closer connection with our consumers through our sign-on,” Parsons said.

“That works for us in two ways, one is we’re able to deliver a more personalised, relevant content experience to consumers. The leaders in that space are Netflix and Stan, they do a very good job and that is something we are absolutely passionate about.

“The second thing is being able to deliver contextually relevant advertising, which is actually very interesting and it’s good for consumers and also for advertisers. How can we put the right ads in front of the right people at the right time?”

On the wider video-on-demand industry, Parsons said there is still more work needed on the ad experience.

“We’ve done a tonne of work around the ad experience, I don’t think it was satisfactory over the course of early 2016,” Parsons said.

“We’ve done a tonne of work and we continue to do that because what we want is to be able to use data to have a contextually-relevant ad experience for consumers, one where the sound level is at the same level, the picture quality is the same and one that doesn’t have any repetition so it doesn’t increase frequency capping.

“There are still some issues with competitive players in the market that haven’t fixed those issues. That is a very keen focus of ours. If you think about broadcast TV, the ad experience on broadcast TV, I think, is always 100%, we need to be held to exactly the same account and I think there is some way to go for some players out there.”


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