Seven execs: There is a place for a fourth multi-channel

Every multi-channel has a defined audience strategy and there is definitely room for a food-specific offering, Seven executives Natalie Harvey and Angus Ross have argued.

Following Seven’s Allfronts presentation last Friday, Harvey, network director of sales, told Mumbrella there is “huge” opportunities for advertisers around food, arguing the fourth multi-channel, 7Food Network, definitely has a place.

Angus Ross and Natalie Harvey at Seven’s Allfronts last week

Food is a platform where we over-index, not only in terms of volume we produce, but from a popularity perspective as well. We saw this as the next evolution and the other piece with food is that it actually appeals to a lot of different advertisers as well,” Harvey said.

Certainly for our channels that there is [a place]. Each has got quite a defined audience strategy and with that comes the content strategy as well. We do a really good job of being able to cross-promote across the different channels. While these advertisers keep investing in broadcast, giving them other options is not a bad thing,” she added.

Harvey and Ross, Seven’s national program director, would not divulge the breakdown of US to Australian content on the network. However Harvey said the channel would look to build audience in day time.

We’ve got that mix of local content because we’ll be putting in terms of Better Homes, My Kitchen Rules that will also bring a bit of a decent sized audience at nighttime as well. Sometimes there’s a bit of bounce between different channels. I actually think that the food network is actually going to deliver a pretty solid audience throughout the day,” Harvey said.

Ross added there were a number of international series of programs like My Kitchen Rules, that had never aired on Australian television, telling Mumbrella he was committed to produce programming specific to the channel.

“But we have invested in a lot of original Food Network content, a lot of which has not been exploited in this marketplace before so we’ll be making a big swing with some of those great brands initially,” he said. “The schedule there has not been released, but I don’t have an exact sort of breakdown at the moment. That food network content is excellent and under-exploited.”

He also questioned why a multi-channel viewer was worth any less than a main channel viewer. Mumbrella later confirmed with Seven that advertisers could buy multi-channels separately to the main channel, should they desire to.

They’re still a viewer, they’re still engaging with us and multi-channels are very clearly defined. They’re there to complement the main channel on nights when the main channel might be weaker,” Ross said.

In the past six months, a number of programs launched on Seven’s main channel have not succeeded and drawn in the big numbers expected of a premiere: Single Wives and Back with the Ex to name a few. But while Ross said a lot of those won’t return, in some cases they could, but in a new form, like Dance Boss.

The show premiered with 559,000 metro viewers, and by the finale it fell to 264,000.

Dance Boss – look if didn’t perform where we wanted it to be. But that’s our own IP and you only need to look at something like Zumbo – we were slightly disappointed with what it did the first time around. Sales were absolutely wrapped with how it worked for them,” Ross said.

There is definitely room for a fourth multi-channel, according to Seven

“We’re really hard markers on ourselves, so we opted not to bring it back the next year but that IP has got traction now. We are now making the next series in partnership with Netflix. With something like Dance Boss, there’s really great IP there and it would not surprise me if it ended up coming back in another form.

“The difference between us and the others is we’re not reliant on one key show. That content spine of news, sport, the entertainment schedule and the multis, mean that we can withstand the odd thing when it falls over,” he said.

“TV is an inexact science – you are never going to get it all right, but we can withstand that and that’s what we’ve shown this year. Our back half, we can still improve. We have definitely improved this year versus our competitors but we can do a bit more work particularly in quarter three next year. That’s certainty there in Q4 with the special anniversary events series [for MKR] but at the end of the day, they can talk about consistency. Seven Network have a record all year for the year – never been achieved – and we’re going to win every single key demographic for the year.”

And according to Seven, those results exclude the Commonwealth Games and the Winter Olympics. For the survey year to date, Seven Network is leading among total people and the key advertising demographics including the 16-39s, 18-49s and 25-54s. Seven has a 30.5% share in total people for the year to date, while it has shares of 30.9%, 30.5% and 30.5% for the respective demographics. By comparison, Network Nine has a 27.5% of total people, a 30% share among the 16-39s, a 30.1% share in the 18-49s and a 29.9% in the 25-54s.

Harvey, who said Seven also has a good demographic story to tell, echoed comments from media buyers, who argued it’s more about results.

“What number one gives you is the ability to talk to different audiences, not just one defined audience and it appeals to a wide range of advertisers as well.”


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