Seven upfront: The death of makegoods and a lot of AFL

This is part of Mumbrella’s coverage of the 2024 upfront season. Click here to see other articles in the series. 

The Seven Network held a star-studded upfront at South by Southwest last night, revealing a number of massive advertising and programming plays for 2024, while also revelling in the glory of their ratings win this year.

The announcement that will have the biggest impact won’t come until September, when Seven takes the digital rights to the AFL.

The deal starts with the Brownlow Medal, and the 2024 AFL Grand Final. But it really comes into play in 2025, when every match of the season will be available for free, “with no paywall in sight”, as chief executive James Warburton put it in a not-so-subtle dig at Foxtel.

Seven also extended its cricket rights to digital, with all Test matches, Women’s Internationals, BBL, and WBBL, running on 7plus for the first time.

Warburton called the addition of the country’s most popular winter and summer sports to 7plus as the “biggest game changer in the history of Australian streaming.”

Content-wise, they have put a freshly-poached Dr. Chris Brown to quick use, giving him co-hosting duties on Dancing With The Stars, as well as two new shows: renovation series Dream Home, and animal adventure series Once In A Lifetime.

There’s also reality dating shows Stranded On Honeymoon Island, First Dates, and Made in Bondi, plus a slew of crime dramas/docos: Australia’s Most Dangerous Prisoners, The Rise And Fall Of Kings Cross, King Con: The Life And Crimes Of Hamish McLaren.

Upfronts are about the bits between the shows, though, for which Seven unveiled Phoenix, its new total TV trading system.

Phoenix uses “inventory optimisation and AI audience prediction engines to deliver guaranteed outcomes – every channel, every zone, every market, separate or converged, however our customers choose to engage”.

“Phoenix means our customers can buy Seven’s audiences at the touch of a button, with 7REDiQ data overlay and real-time reporting,” Seven West Media chief revenue officer, Kurt Burnette, said, also noting this means the death of makegoods – something media buyers applauded.

Phoenix will also use “groundbreaking” audience prediction tools from Databricks – a partnership also announced on the night.

As Seven’s chief digital officer, Gereurd Roberts, explained: “For our viewers, it means a dynamic interface and real-time shelf ordering that serves the most relevant content recommendations, based on their individual viewing behaviour, and, importantly, the AI model’s prediction of their future viewing behaviour.”

For advertisers? “This doesn’t just take contextual advertising to a new level, it turns it on its head,” Burnette said of the personalisation tool. “We want to be meticulous about the right ad load, and the right type of ad, for the right audience.

“There’s a lot more in play, like using AI not only to serve the ads but to find the most meaningful moment in any show to integrate brands inside the content, in real-time.”

Finally, Seven also partnered with View Media Group and Raiz Invest to also track the spending and behavioural habits of the 13.5 million 7plus users, with this audience intelligence folded into the 7REDiQ platform.

Seven’s national sales director for digital, Rachel Page, said the station will be offering “forward thinking data and insights that will put brands ahead of the curve when it comes to connecting with Seven’s audience.”

To find out what the media buyers though of all this, read our piece here.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.