A sneak peek at the Channel 7 Newfronts

 

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Seven on Wednesday night presented their intentions for 2017 and beyond from their studios in Sydney, with simulcast sessions across Melbourne and Brisbane. Seven are known for their high production and event theatre qualities for yearly up fronts – this year marked a noticeable step change in tone, taking a less corporate, brand red charts and graphs versus competitors feel, adopting a more snackable, engaging stats and facts style, powered by partner success stories.

Off the back of their successful 2016 Olympic broadcast with over 3000 hours of content streamed, across multiple screens and devices, the networks mantra of “Seven Everywhere” is their norm moving forward.

Key announcements at the event included the readiness of Code 7 – the new automated trading platform in the first quarter of 2017.  The other big announcement was Platform 7 (P7), a youth-focused content play distributing Seven content to the social channels millennials are using and how they are consuming in snackable size versus long form.  This confirmed their commitment to being everywhere, and provides a strong commercial benefit by engaging with an audience that for some time has been evasive to the 7 Network.

It’s great to see Seven now rolling out an automated trading platform in early 2017, delivering CPM, 000’s and reach & frequency within the campaign tracking. Over time no doubt, greater experimentation will deliver learnings and finesse the offering, now putting the emphasis on accountability back on the network.

Asserting themselves as the only network to grow share, and the No. 1 audience company in the country, the session opened with key stats of the Olympic success however, they were conscious early to acknowledge that 2016 was 2016, an Olympic year – and 2017 is a new ball game.

The session focused predominantly on their content strategy available across all screens, with an agnostic view however, Seven feels very strongly that the TV screen remains the catalyst format, driving success outwards across other devices. This also, by no coincidence, asserts an intent of centering TV as the key price point for negotiation ongoing.

Seven also shared their partner’s successes across the evening with multiple positive testimonials from Telstra, Airtasker and Toyota, presenting with strong business language of Customer First, Effectiveness, Leadership and Scale.

What will be critical for Seven across their channels will be how they can drive and deliver consistency in performance across all periods of the year. Over recent years, they’ve launched with their strongest products early (using the Australian Open as the kick off and MKR as the flag bearer for Q1/Q2) however, there have to be equally solid performances excluding sport from Q2 and beyond. The long term success of My Kitchen Rules as an example has not been experienced to the same level across formats such as House Rules or Restaurant Revolution, meaning Seven needs to continue evolving MKR by way of emotive casting….In 2017, look out for Angry Angry Man!

With a solid bedrock of returning program formats (Better Homes, House Rules, Border Security, 800 Words, Wanted, First Dates, Seven Year Switch) the network also seeks to honour and evolve tried and true genres of Home Renovation, Relationships and True Crime. New formats such as Aussie Property Flippers show promise within the home improvement genre and shows integration appeal to a broad group of client categories and consumers.   Noticeably, the network demonstrated a local first content offering, with no US program commentary.

If 2016 was about winning the year, halting decline and more video, 2017 is about harnessing and using data better, strong local content and connectedness.

 

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Details on New and returning Program formats:

“Aussie Property Flippers” – Will focus on those who buy, renovate and sell homes fast. Looks to be a very integratable format and should deliver their best numbers to core People 25-54 and strategic category audiences.

“Yummy Mummies” – Money, fights and botox – think Pregnant Housewives of… this one has real social buzz and will be a popular watch for under 40 Female audiences.

“Million Dollar Cold Case” – Previously unsolved cold cases brought to TV with a weekly reward of $1 million on offer to inspire the public to offer information. There’s a definite feel that Netflix’s “Making a Murderer” has inspired revival for Australians love of true crime.

A Show so controversial, they cannot even give it a name – Consider the proposition of “speak now or forever hold your peace” – Couples face scrutiny of friends, parents and relatives who have a myriad of objections to their prospective marriages. This one will cover age, race, sexuality, colour. Expect fireworks and high level polarising casting with huge social potential. The riskier of Sevens new slate and will survive or perish off the success of its first run.

Seven intend also to dial up the level of mini-series formats off the back of successes with Molly, Peter Allen and INXS, with 4 new Bio-Pics coming to screens in 2017 – anticipate at least 2 of these will run in 2017. Casting and tone will be critical to the success of these programs, and they’ll attract significant premiums to associate, though aside from sport and finales – they’ll be some of the top rating programs for the year:

“Hoges” – The Paul Hogan Story, should deliver ratings gold to GB’s and 40+ as well as nostalgic lovers of the Paul Hogan show and Crocodile Dundee. We expect this to air first up and drive high numbers.

“ONJ” – Olivia Newton John. Women 40+ within 25-54 will drive this one, however like Peter Allen may prove to introduce a new generation to the greatness of “Livvy” beyond just lovers of Grease!

“Warnie” – Shane Warne. This will be the most ambitious and take the most time to get to our screens, bound to be controversial based on the warts and all book by author Paul Barry – but will attract mass attention and have cross appeal for male and female audiences. The question remains is whether the casting can possibly live up to the real thing?!

“The New Blue Murder – Killer Cop” – A continuation of the Roger Rogerson story first brought to screens In the 90’s with Blue Murder. Richard Roxburgh returns to play Rogerson, recently convicted for life in gaol for the murder of Jamie Gao. The original Blue Murder series was based on the NSW Police Force corruption of the 70’s to 90’s and in many ways inspired the Underbelly franchise appetite – expect this to be the best drama program of the new slate and will be the most critically acclaimed. Men 18-54 will deliver sound numbers and will attract high interest from said targeted categories.

 

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20 Months of Sport – All time zone friendly

A huge amount of special event sport coming up across 2017 and 2018, showcased by Seven’s stable of sport star power (Olympic aerial Skiier Lydia Lassila, NRL Great Laurie Daley, Tennis “Woody” Todd Woodbridge and Olympic Swimming Gold Medallist Cate Campbell) each presenting the intros.

  • Rugby League World Cup – Hosted across Australia, NZ and PNG- October 2017
  • Australian Open January 2017, 2018
  • Winter Olympics, PeyongChong Korea – February 2018
  • Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast – April 2018

The boost of the Winter Olympics being held in Korea also helps address the usual time zone hurdles, as not since Nagano in 1998 has there been a more Australian viewing friendly opportunity.

What is interesting here is that each code other than Tennis has not been broadcast by Seven for some time, which gives them a very strong and diverse portfolio to showcase their cross screen and streaming capacity via learnings gained from the Rio Olympics.

All in all, a demonstrated step change from a Network freshly confident from their 2016 success and ready to evolve.

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