Seven expects Aus Open audience decline after Kyrgios exit, signals plans for more mobile sports coverage

7 Sport appThe Seven Network will look to continue with more extensive coverage of sporting events after hailing the success of its widest ever coverage of the Australian Open.

However, chief revenue officer for Seven West Media Kurt Burnette said he expected to see audiences fall for the rest of the tournament after 1.7m metro viewers watched Aussie rising star Nick Kyrgios lose in straight sets to Andy Murray in the quarter finals.

“I think will start to see the numbers drop back to where they were last year,” he said. “We haven’t had an Australian in the second week for a while and we certainly didn’t last year.”

But he said the take-up of the most extensive coverage ever by an Australian broadcaster has been “overwhelming” from viewers, keen to watch matches on outside courts which are normally not broadcast, with streaming via mobile and an internet connected TV channel. The network has also signed a new agreement to carry exclusive matches from Wimbledon from next year.

“Where we have the digital rights we certainly see an opportunity to continue doing what we are doing,” said Burnette.

“The response (to the Australian Open) has been overwhelming. Not only has it been a fantastic consumer experience but from an advertising perspective you are getting the audience wherever they are,” he said.

“Whether you are a fan of Australian tennis or the international players you are able to target that tennis fan like never before. Even the players, for the first time are able to sit in their lounge room or wherever they are and watch their competitors play – something they have never been able to do before.”

Seven also has the rights to free-to-air broadcasts of the AFL, although it does not have the rights to mobile streaming of matches.

Under the terms of the new Wimbledon agreement, which begins in 2016, Seven has the first selection of the “best two matches‟ of each day’s play to broadcast exclusively live up to and including the quarter-finals. All singles semi-finals and finals, and doubles finals will then also be shown live on Seven. Seven will also push digital and mobile broadcasts from the tournament.

Burnette said the TV network was pleased with how the Australian Open had served as a promotional platform for its key franchises such as My Kitchen Rules, which launches next week.

“The take up is as big as it has ever been, as is the support for House Rules and even for Restaurant Rules, which is later in the year,” said Burnette. “The take up on the tentpole programming has been outstanding because advertisers know those shows and how successful they are and the promotion out of the tennis has been extraordinary.”

Nic Christensen 

Disclaimer: The Seven Network is currently advertising on this website.  


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