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Love Island, Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation and paywalled female website among Nine’s big moves for 2018

Nine’s first paywalled website, a local version of dating show Love Island, a new real estate show, and the return to television of Shaun Micallef’s Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation are among the highlights of Nine Entertainment Co’s 2018 offerings, the media company has revealed.


Nine gave greatest emphasis at its annual Upfronts presentation to a local franchise of reality dating show Love Island., produced by ITV Studios. The UK version of Love Island, which ran on 9Go and 9Now, has been delivering big catch up audience numbers for the network this year. The show will air only on 9Go and 9Now and is the biggest local commission to date for a multichannel network in Australia.

Michael Stephenson, Nine’s chief sales officer, said in a briefing: “It will be an Australian version produced in Spain. The impact that it’s had on our streaming product in terms of 9Now, and the engagement in a catch up environment has surpassed all expectations. In actual fact, it’s one of the highest and most successful shows in an on demand world.”

Nine CEO Hugh Marks added: “If this works at scale that’ll talk to the further investment we will continue to make in the business beyond that.”

He said the main challenge for the program would be managing industry perceptions around the overnight numbers on 9Go, which are likely to be relatively low compared to a main channel. He said: “We are not expecting it to do one million on 9Go, we are expecting it to do a number that 9Go should do but we’re expecting it to bring those numbers into 9Now, and also it’ll be a real sense of engagement in 9Honey and our digital properties.

“It’s a totally new investment and a new way of thinking for us as a business.”

Also new to the slate will be the reboot of former Ten show Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Generation, once again hosted by Shaun Micallef.

Micallef: Will take the TBYG format from Ten to Nine

However, Ten’s previous team captains Amanda Keller, Charlie Pickering and Josh Thomas will not be returning. They will be replaced by radio and TV presenter Andy Lee, actor Laurence Boxhall and broadcaster Robyn Butler.

The show, which was originally produced by Granada Productions in 2009, proved a hit on rival Network Ten, until it finished in 2012.

Marks: Says he grabbed chance to work with Micallef

Marks predicted the show would be “bold”, “unpredictable” and a “highly skilled performance”.

“It was too good to pass up on the opportunity to work with Shaun,” he said.

A new real estate show, Buying Blind, created by Snowman Productions – a Red Arrow Entertainment Group company and produced by Endemol Shine, will also be added to the lineup.

“It’s a really simple pitch. You handle over your dollars to three experts to buy your house and that’s got real jeopardy in it from day one,” Marks explained.

Stephenson predicted Buying Blind would attract new advertisers.

“The category appeals to the same type of category (as The Block) and if some of our existing partners, some who have been with us for over ten years on The Block chose to extend their association into a similar sort of franchise then that opportunity clearly exists,” he said.

“I think what you’ll see is new and fresh advertisers, but in similar categories, coming and joining and partnering with us.”

Next year’s programming slate will see the return of Married at First Sight, Travel Guides, another ten episodes of True Story with Hamish & Andy, along with the Karl Stefanovic-fronted This Time Next Year.

The Voice which concluded this year with 1.306m metro viewers for the final, will also return with coaches Boy George, Kelly Rowland and Delta Goodrem, and a fourth yet to be announced.

Stephenson said 2018 should also see the return of Family Food Fight, dependent on how the first season performs in the coming weeks.

Other shows include Driving Test – a program that goes behind the seasons of people learning to drive – Eat Well For Less, and the launch of Underbelly: Chopper, which was announced at last year’s upfronts.

Ninja Warrior will also return with a 12-episode series.

Stephenson said there no was “need” to extend the program above and beyond what it should be.

Asked why Underbelly did not air this year, Stephenson said: “Drama takes a while to produce. Let me guarantee it’ll be worth waiting for.”

Other returning dramas include Doctor Doctor and a new crime drama called Bite Club.

“Our commitment to drama in 2018 is as strong as it has been this year,” Stephenson said.

However, Nine’s relationship show The Last Resort will not return. The show premiered with a disappointing 414,000 metro viewers.

Asked what he had learnt from the experience, Marks said: “We launched it, it wasn’t the right show, it didn’t have the right tone, the story for the audience relied on them staying with the couples till they went through the process of redemption so there’s a whole bunch of things that I’ve think we’ve learnt in terms of that show, and timing of when you put things on air and where they sit.”

Looking back on the year just gone, Marks said he was pleased with the consistent audiences delivered this year.

“The turnaround from 2016 into 2017 has been hard and fast and certainly I think the most pleasing aspect for me has been success across the whole year which is really what we were trying to do,” he told Mumbrella.

This year sees Nine leading across all key demographics and total people, according to OzTAM’s consolidated 28-day data.

“Our entertainment slate is strong and we now have hit shows every quarter. Add this to our audiences for news and sport and Nine offers consistency of audience delivery across the entire year,” Marks said.

‘Future Women’ and the revamp of 9Honey

Nine will launch a new premium women’s lifestyle site in 2018, which will be aimed at women in all walks of life, ranging from university students to professionals, women returning to work and entrepreneurs.

Future Women will be behind a paywall, backed with live events, workshops, video sessions, mentoring, research and insights for aspiring professionals. During the presentation, Helen McCabe, Nine’s newly promoted digital content director, said the business model of the site would include both individual subscriptions and encouraging companies to take out group subs on behalf of their female workforce.

She said: “What we are actually doing in premium is an online subscription business which is Future Women, which is around content that is probably not in this market at the moment. It’ll have its own team, its own head, its own editor, its own business model and it’s around corporate professional women.

“There’ll be events, there’ll be research, there’ll be a data play, there’ll probably be exclusive and high end events. There’ll be some workshops and it’s really around identifying that professional women are very busy.”

McCabe said Future Women will launch around April

While McCabe would not announce the editor or head of each arm, she did confirm the mobile-first website would have five content pillars, built around leadership, wealth, health, family and lifestyle.

It also marks the first time Nine has entered the event business in this way.

Asked whether the paywall would work, McCabe, a former News Corp executive, responded: “We are going to test it, we are going to try. We know that in the newspaper experience there are increasingly some green shoots with paywalls. This is an opportunity to test that out.”

The coming months will also see the launch of lifestyle channel 9Life’s first commissioned TV show, with the working title of The Sweet Spot featuring post-show discussions abut Married At First Sight.

“We are now going to run a live chat show, so you’ll get to hear Married at First Sight, and then you’ll be able to switch over to 9Life to see some of the Honey stars come to life on TV,” said McCabe.

“We are super excited about the show because we feel like we can use lots of the stuff the actual show doesn’t use. We can interview the producers behind the scenes, we can be ahead of the news cycle on the story lines, we can use clips from the show that you don’t see.”

According to Nielsen’s August numbers, 9honey.com.au reported a unique audience of 1.242m while the 9Honey network’s total unique audience is 1.764m.

This year has also seen the launch of 9Honey podcasts and the creation of SuperMums, Life Bites and The Sweet Spot.

The launch of 9Galaxy

Tomorrow Nine will officially launch its automated buying and selling platform 9Galaxy, which according to the media company will remove the need for makegoods on its off peak and multi-channel inventory.

The programmatic platform, which has run in beta version this year, will aim to simplify the buying and selling process through automation, and provide marketers and agencies greater certainty on their television campaigns.

2018 will also see the integration of broadcast video on demand and streaming inventory into 9Galaxy, which will allow advertisers to reach audiences across television, mobile, app or desktop in one automated transaction.

Stephenson said: “We needed to improve the efficiency between buyer and seller in order to improve the handheld back and forth of buying and selling inventory and completely automate that.

“We then wanted to remove the volatility that has existed in the planning and buying of television ratings.”

Nine is the first of the three major commercial players to reveal its plans for next year, with Sven due to do so in just over a fortnight and Ten’s event in early November.

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