Nine signs content deal with NBC Universal to bolster 9Now platform

Nine’s broadcast video on demand service 9Now – which has traditionally relied on catch-up and historical content from its linear broadcasts – will now feature content from international provider NBC Universal (NBCU).

Nine’s CEO Hugh Marks said the move was significant, because it positions 9Now as more than just a catch-up service.

9Now is evolving, says Marks

Since its take-over of Fairfax, Nine is now also the sole owner of Stan, a subscription video on demand platform which used to be a joint venture between the two companies.

Stan has recently suffered a blow as its deal with Disney expired, enabling Disney to take its content – including animated Disney films, the Marvel Series and Star Wars – to its own SVOD service, Disney+.

Disney+ launched in Australia last Tuesday, 19 November.

Today, however, Nine has struck a new deal for 9Now with NBCU for both scripted drama and comedy, as well as unscripted, feature films and library content.

“Traditionally, platforms like 9Now have been focused on being largely a reflection of our linear channels. This deal with NBCU sees 9Now firmly beyond being a ‘catch-up service’ and instead become an entertainment destination in its own right,” Nine CEO Marks said.

“Over the past four years, we have established 9Now as the leading commercial broadcast video on demand platform in Australia, but this deal with NBCU helps us not only ensure the consistency of 9Now audience throughout the year, it also helps us better compete with the digital giants with a premium video product, which is unmatched in this market.”

Nine’s director of digital sales, Nick Young, told Mumbrella the deal was also beneficial for advertisers, who could now reach a consistent audience outside of Nine’s traditional tentpole programs.

Young: The deal is good for advertisers too 

“From an ad perspective, this is obviously what I’m focused on, I think what we’ll see is, local content in particular rates far better than anything else out there, and that really draws the consumers in and the customers in, and I think there’s still really room for growth across these platforms. And I think now, by partnering with NBCU, we can broaden out that audience even further and create consistency, but it will actually set us up for even more growth going forward,” he said.

“It’s about creating the scale and consistency of audience across broad demographics, so we can then overlay that data, and that data proposition that we have with the Nine sign-ins to really create efficient and effective campaigns for advertisers – but we need the scale to be able to do that,” he added.

He said pivoting 9Now to be more than just a catch-up service was the next obvious evolution for the platform, after the broadcaster had initially focused on its data proposition for advertisers, and its local content for consumers.

“If you go back three years, 9Now had been getting sign-ups for the platform and really leading the way to use the 9Now platform to engage consumers and sign up, so we could then monetise our data proposition,” he said, noting that there was also heavy investment in big tentpole productions to drive the catch-up nature of the platform.

“What this now does is really look to create more of an on-demand element to that platform, expand out or audiences, with consistency for our viewership when those tentpoles are on and when they’re not, and also create a far greater scale across the Nine ecosystem to really put 9Now as an entertainment destination in its own right, not just a catch-up service.”

Belinda Menendez, president and chief revenue officer for global distribution and international at NBCU said it was a landmark deal.

“We have had a long-standing partnership with Nine and are delighted to expand our relationship with them through this monumental deal that highlights the diverse offering across the entire NBCUniversal portfolio,” she said.

NBCU programs to be hosted on 9Now include The Real Housewives franchise, Below Deck, Suits spin-off Pearson, and Million-Dollar Listing New York, alongside E! content such as Botched, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry.

The deal will also see Nine and 9Now secure the first run for shows for NBCU scripted comedy and drama content including Resident Alien, Bluff City Law and Duncanville, which is co-created by Amy Poehler and producers, Mike and Julie Scully from The Simpsons.

And in older content, 9Now will have access to Miami Vice, Magnum PI, Friday Night Lights, The Mindy Project and Royal Pains.

It will also mean the Nine Network will run films from Universal Pictures and Dreamworks, such as Back To The Future, Shrek, Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Downton Abbey and Yesterday.

The streaming content will be available from 1 December.

In the most recent ratings week, 9Now had a 33.3% share of the BVOD market across the commercial networks, according to OzTAM’s Video Player Measurement (VPM). Seven’s 7Plus had 44.8%, while Ten’s 10 Play had 21.9%.  This was a combination of live and catch-up viewing.

Live viewing on the platforms saw Seven with 49.9% of the commercial FTA BVOD audience, to Nine’s 40.2%, and Ten’s 9.9%. Catch-up, or streaming, had Seven on 43.0%, Nine on 30.9%, and Ten on 26.1%.


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