9Now director Hamish Turner on the future of BVOD and Total TV

TV Ratings

“The investment is going to be from a total TV perspective”

Earlier this month, Nine announced that programming director Hamish Turner will be expanding his role and working under the new title of director of 9Now and programming. Turner will report to Nine’s director of TV Michael Healy and chief digital officer Alex Parsons

The announcement comes as Nine makes moves for 9Now to branch out from a BVOD platform to an entertainment streamer itself.

Mediaweek caught up with Turner to talk about the importance of BVOD to Nine’s total TV strategy, and the future of the 9Now platform.

Turner said that a lot of the 9Now content already sat across his remit but this now formalises it and transitions it into a more strategic future thinking role.

“A lot of it will be looking at the landscape, understanding where we want to take the platform, and what the five-year vision looks like. This is a multi-faceted approach. With broadcast, you’ve got the telecast going out and beaming into the home, and there’s not much interaction back, whereas in the digital space there’s a lot of opportunities, but a lot of hurdles there as well. Part of the role is asking how do we strategically navigate that and build the relationships which give us the best opportunity to get our content front and centre for both our audience and advertisers.”

With there continuing to be an increasing shift of audiences to BVOD platforms, Turner said that there is no real delineation between the two.

“What we’re seeing is a real increase in terms of people consuming Nine’s live channels in a digital environment. Instead of watching via your antenna like in the old broadcast world, they are now watching it via an IP stream, which is housed within the 9Now app. There is a lot of confusion around what 9Now actually is, part of our role is to clearly market it and help people understand exactly what it is. 9Now is a place people traditionally have seen as a catch-up environment for content off Nine. It’s a destination in its own right and it’s a place you can watch the live simultaneous streams of all our channels, as well as a real depth of content which is run both on Nine but also exclusives to the platform.”

Turner’s new title was announced on the same day as the season three premiere of Love Island Australia, a show which has become synonymous with total TV ratings. Turner described the show as a convergence piece.

“It’s about helping that audience transition from broadcast to digital, and getting that balance right. We don’t look at it as separate piles anymore, we look at it from very much a total TV viewpoint. We’re quite happy to get eyeballs within our digital ecosystem, as well as in our broadcast ecosystem. It’s really just understanding what that total TV view looks like. Love Island is a perfect case in point – our view is not going to be what those overnight numbers are, but what it looks like within that seven day, 28 day footprint. The story with Love Island from the overnights is going to look fundamentally different to what we’ll get in seven days’ time. I think it really is kind of the poster boy or girl for a total TV view.”

Love Island

Love Island host Sophie Monk

Changing Audiences

Turner described the changing audience behaviours as structural with consumption happening at a similar rate but in a different space, and described his job as catering to those new spaces.

“We’ve always talked about what broadcast-quality television looks like, and that’s been perfected over the last 60 years. But the real opportunity moving forward is what does that enhanced TV look like within a digital space? What are those things that are great about the broadcast that can actually become better and illuminated within the digital environment?”

When asked about the importance of linear content compared to BVOD content, Turned said that 9Now looks at it in terms of total TV measurements.

“The investment is going to be from a total TV perspective, and a total TV budget and we’ll put that content in the place that gives us the best opportunity to attract the greatest audiences. That will define the strategy for us, but broadcast and traditional TV is an amazing marketing platform. In the same way that brands use that as a great platform to drive awareness of their brands, the same thing can be said for our product. So I think it’s still the best place to get reach in one place.”

BBC Studios

9NOW’s Natural World BVOD hub

Future viewer habits on 9Now

When asked about the future of 9Now, Turner said that they expect the structural change in live consumption will continue unabated.

“Over the last few years through Covid, there’s been a real uptake in terms of people consuming content via digital. The numbers we’re looking at all indicate the simultaneous live streaming channels will continue to grow and overtake that of the video-on-demand category. For us, what else can we do in that live space? How else can we evolve and how do we get our content out to audiences, especially from a live perspective? That’s going to be the real focus.”

Monetising 9Now

When asked what the key was to monetizing 9Now, Turner said that it is about treating it as a separate stream.

“That talks to the data proposition that we’ve had on display and were the first to be in that space. There was a reason why we got that single sign-on because we wanted to understand our audience better. The work that we’ve done to date with the sales guys has been great and I think there’s a lot more to be done there as well. Having information and insights around our audience will enrich their viewing experience through greater personalization, through more targeted ads, and what we promote to them as a broader business.”

To Top