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Nine ‘to have a fair crack’ in January ratings with Australian Open coverage

Nine plans to have a “fair crack” over the ratings period this summer, but is more focused on delivering its content to audiences and advertisers.

Matt Granger, Nine’s director of sales for sport who joined the company from ARN earlier this year, told Mumbrella the coverage will be about the “festival” of the Australian Open, arguing the cross platform strategy, which ties the Today Show, 9Honey, and the Wide World of Sports together, has “never been done before”.

Granger said Nine’s Tennis Strategy has never been done before

Granger replaced Sam Brennan,  who was appointed as Nine’s Melbourne director of sales in December last year.

“At the time of year and the activations we are looking at doing – across Today, 9Honey and what we are doing with WWOS on site – [it] changes the ballpark. It’s never been done for cricket.

“We are not in the place of putting a finger on there, but we are looking to have a pretty fair crack.”

Unlike Seven, Nine has the digital rights to its sports offering. Granger sees that as a massive asset and added tennis would have broader audience appeal than cricket.

But he said: “I don’t think we are coming out there and having a stab at what 50 percent is. Our focus is delivering a great content piece for audiences and connecting those with advertisers.”

Granger’s comments follow the ballsy predictions from Seven’s CEO Tim Worner who told advertisers they will take up 40% of the ratings across all demographics in the January period.

Kurt Burnette, Seven’s chief revenue officer, later told Mumbrella: “Tests and Big Bash for the first time together on free to air are going to be able to deliver the equivalent of what the Commonwealth Games and the Winter Olympics did from an audience and a revenue perspective.”

It marks the first time both networks will trial a new sports offering in the summer period. For the four decades, Nine has held an agreement with Cricket Australia, while Seven held the rights with Tennis Australia for the last 40 years. That’s all set to change in 2019.

But Granger believes Tennis Australia is a completely different and compelling offering for advertisers.

“It’s a completely different offering in the sense of, as you’ve seen tonight, it’s the festival of the Australian Open and what that really means how it brings broader demographics into play. 55-60% of audiences are women and 40 percent men so the gender balance is certainly very different to a very high male skewed sport,” he said.

The ability – today with news and lifestyle connecting in with what they are doing with family and food – there’s a natural synergy across those. That’s the real opportunity for clients in particular and the opportunity around tennis being a quite a different proposition to cricket.”

Earlier in the evening, Nine announced it would deliver it “true” addressable advertising solution to advertisers across the Australian Open. But Seven has previously announced that it could already do it for live sport.

Ours is more about the declared IDs and how we understand that element and how we then use it as part of our solutions for clients,” Granger explained.

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