‘Biggest undertaking in the history of Nine’: Nine’s Paris Olympics plans, 100 days out


Broadcasters will be based in a 7×7-metre porta-cabin in Paris, but Nine has a plan to make the most of the space: a first-ever virtual studio expansion.

9Now has unveiled a new look and interface upgrade to mark 100 days until the Paris Olympic Games, as director of programming and 9Now Hamish Turner calls its impending coverage the “biggest undertaking in the history of Nine” to create the “greatest Games of all time.”

9Now will feature more than 40 individual live sports channels, curated on a new interface that will allow viewers to watch coverage whilst browsing the app. 

The digital coverage of the Olympics is still in its infancy, according to Turner; thinking back to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games, there was no connected TV platform, only an experience featuring a broadcast to three channels and some catch-up rights. The Tokyo Games were the first time live streams were available. 

“Seven did a great job in terms of a first imprint of what a live streaming experience looks like,” he said.

“However, I think three years later, the exciting thing for us is how we’re going to bring that to life on the platform.” 

Nine aims to upgrade the viewing experience by offering over 2,500 on-demand highlights on 9Now, with all coverage set to be in 1080P definition for the first time, 50 FPS, and 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound alongside the ‘start over’ button.


Ahead of the Opening Ceremony on 26 July, Olympic and Paralympic-themed ‘Beyond The Dream’ documentaries will launch: three ahead of the Olympics and two ahead of the Paralympics. The five documentaries, not yet titled, will include a feature-length look at the Matildas, Australia v The USA in swimming (to launch in June, timed alongside the swimming trials), The Race to Paris, and the journey of Paralympian Curtis McGrath, and a feature on The Steelers wheelchair rugby team

9Now product director, Lewis Evans, said Nine’s Paris Olympics coverage is about establishing what a great Olympics streaming experience looks like for Nine, and what customers can expect from its digital offering. 

“The key part of our 9Now story with the Olympics is going to be focused on accessibility for everybody,” he said.

“This means a quality streaming experience and simplicity around finding what to watch, not only 9Now but also through our coverage of the games on Channel Nine and 9Gem 24/7 across the period.”

The 9Now experience will be curated, including deep dives in categories like swimming and athletes like Jess Fox. Personalisation, which would see users customise their own Olympics feeds within the app, is on the horizon though, and “part of the eight year road map,” according to the team.

The time-zone dilemma will be solved with bulletins and wrap-ups leading coverage that will continue throughout the day and into prime-time live coverage. Viewers will also be able to wake up to 9Now morning updates, with daily highlights that sum up everything that occurred overnight, tying into breakfast TV.


From today, Nine’s apps across its full portfolio will also be updated so their icons feature the Olympic rings. 

Nine said its coverage will be the “largest streamed event in history to date” and is currently completing commercial deals with the ad experience on 9Now front of mind. For the first time, Nine will ensure a human watches every campaign before it is put to air. 9Now commercial director Tina Andrew said this will manage ambush marketing. 

“From a commercial standpoint, what’s exciting about the Olympics is that we can invite and encourage every brand to come and talk to us, despite the size of their budget,” she said.

“We have a range of commercial opportunities from total TV partners and sponsors right through to the casual and programmatic market and everything in between. We want people to come to us.

“The Olympics will be one of the largest marketing moments with a fully addressable audience where you can apply data or products like never before, and it’s gonna be an unmissable opportunity.”

The team is expecting significant growth in 9Now’s user base, and Andrew said there will be a limited number of guaranteed reach opportunities for brands. The packages have been rolled out in a staged release, and Andrew is confident they will sell out.

The broadcast team will be based at the Trocadero in Paris. All media will be based in 7×7-metre porta-cabins, but Nine has a plan to make the most of the space with a first-ever virtual studio expansion utilising the Unreal Engine technology, the same used to make gaming behemoth Fortnite.

The city itself will be a character, Turner, said: the equestrian events will be held at the Palace of Versailles, and a volleyball court will be set up right beneath the Eiffel Tower.

On-the-ground coverage will also feature Nine’s audio assets – 2GB, 3AW, 4BC and 6PR, the latest news online from wwos.com.au and digital publishing masthead The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.

Nine’s Wide World of Sports production team and commentators will be featured across 9Now’s coverage, steering viewers across 32 sports in 329 events. Commentators and experts set to appear on the coverage include Ian Thorpe, Tamysn Lewis-Manou, Cadel Evans, Ellie Cole, Dylan Alcott, Phil Liggett, Andrew Gaze, Kerri Pottharst, James Tomkins OAM, Kate Bates and David Culbert.

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