Seven upfronts trumpets new ESPN deal, HBBTV channels, Tumblr and Rebecca Gibney drama

Worner speaking at today's Upfront event

Worner speaking at today’s Upfront event

The Seven Network has trumpeted a number of new initiatives it claims will give it an advantage over rivals in both the TV and digital space in its 2015 upfronts.

As Mumbrella revealed yesterday, among the other new franchises are Restaurant Revolution, Erik Thomson’s new drama 800 Words, Gallipoli Special The Power of Ten and Catching Milat, an ‘Underbelly-style’ series on serial killer Ivan Milat.

Other new announcements made today include information on its deal with subscription sports network ESPN to be exclusive advertising partner, confirmation of two new HbbTV channels 7Living and 7Food, a new Australian crime drama Winter starring Rebecca Gibney, as well as digital joint-venture Yahoo!7 announcing it will be offering advertising opportunities to the three million Australians users on Tumblr.

Speaking after the event Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner told Mumbrella: “Everything you’ve seen today is something new, but it is something we’ve also done before and a big part of us being able to maintain a 40 per cent share.

“Just see the revenue share figures and you can measure the advantage. There is a line we often use inside the business and that is ‘this is a contest of ideas’ and it is not just the best ideas for shows but the best ideas for actually integrating people’s messages and we’ve been pretty good at that.”

Among the other new Australian franchises being announced by Seven are Australia the Story of Us a drama-documentary on the Australian story, Mesmerised – a show with hypnotist Peter Powers – My Ireland with Colin a show featuring MKR judge Colin Fassnidge touring around his native Ireland.

Seven also said it would bring out a sequel to What Really Happens in Bali, with the new show What Really Happens in Thailand.

On the US drama front, in addition to acquiring the rights to Aquarius and How to Get Away with Murder, Seven has also pick up the rights to Battle Creek which is billed a a new buddy cop “dramedy”, a two part series Houdini on the story of Harry Houdini, a comedy called Marry Me starring Ken Marino and Casey Wilson, and State of Affairs starring Katherine Heigl as a senior adviser to the President who must guide her boss through key international crisis.

During the various presentations commercial director for digital arm Yahoo!7 Paul Sigaloff trumpeted some of the new digital initiatives that would see the publisher compete more in the online space.

In 2015 the company will launch a twice daily news digest with the top 10 news stories consumers need to know and offer new opportunities around social platform Tumblr.

“In 2015 you will see us put social platform Tumblr into hyperdrive for both consumers and brands,” said Sigaloff. “No other Australian media company can say it owns its own social media network and this one comes with three million Australians already active without any promotion.”

On stage at the upfronts Worner told the audience that it was the whole package that would help Seven remain the number one network, in terms of total audience, until 2020.

“I’ve been in this job for a bit over a year and our strategy is now clearer than ever and we are more resolute”, said Worner. “There are three pillar – one to maintain leadership not just in television but everywhere that we choose to compete, two to redefine the way we operate to meet the needs of our customers… and number three to create new revenue streams to create new way of better serving your needs and your clients needs.

“This is not a 12 month plan this is a path that keeps us number one until 2020.”

Nic Christensen 


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