Drama schedule, The Front Bar, 7Plus, output deals and 7Food

• Part 2 of Mediaweek with Seven programming chief Angus Ross

Seven’s director of network programming Angus Ross told Mediaweek there is more UK drama to come and he noted good audiences for Manhunt and The Bay.

See also: Angus Ross Part 1: Seven Network back at #1 after battle with Nine in Q1

“Still to come is the four-part drama Cheat and Wild Bill, an ITV drama with Rob Lowe as a US police chief who moves to the UK. Hatton Garden about the biggest UK jewel heist and series two of Liar is on the way. One I am really excited about is Gold Digger, an ITV drama starring Julia Ormond and Ben Barnes. It’s about a women who gets divorced and takes up with a younger lover much to the horror of her adult children.”

Cheat

Australian dramas still to come include Between Two Worlds, Seven’s new Bevan Lee project. “The series is currently shooting and will be on this year. Secret Bridesmaids Business is also in production and due later this year.”

Bevan Lee

Seven is going to further exploit The Chase format with a number of primetime specials later this year. The format is so strong these days it outrates many programs screening later in the night.

All Together Now, which brought Julia Zemiro to the network, won’t be back in 2019.

Bingeing with 7Plus

Ross and his Seven programming colleague Brook Hall look after content for the 7Plus platform and they do buy some programs exclusively for it.

“There is an advantage to at least launch a show on broadcast to create awareness and then send people to 7Plus if they want to binge the remainder of the series.

“Earlier this year we were running The Passage, a Fox show, which was launched on Seven and then in week two we made all of the episodes available on 7Plus.”

Ross said Seven will make sure all of its episodes for its programs are available for some time at 7Plus. He said the length of the rights they have to keep shows online vary by distributor. “Some older deals might give us just 30 days. A minimum for us now is 12 months on any shows. For some shows it might be for our entire licence period, which could be three or four years.

“We have to be able to monetise our shows on every platform and every screen. Those rights are incredibly important to us and they have been deal breakers on some occasions. We are not going to spend a lot of money on a show and then not have it available on 7Plus.

“Viewers now expect they should be able to watch shows when they want to. If they miss the initial broadcast, they expect to be able to go to 7Plus and watch a season.”

The Front Bar

A continuing Seven success is another season of The Front Bar. Ross has bent over backwards to give Sydney audiences the chance to sample it, but it remains an AFL-market hit. “Those guys have found lightning in a bottle. My mantra on that one is no network interference. They do what they want. Too many times in the past Sydney tried to get involved in Melbourne AFL shows and it never ended well.

“This has been a slow burn and everyone has been patient and supportive. Those guys can do what they want for as long as they like as far as I am concerned.

“While we have tried it early and late in Sydney and Brisbane, you can also watch it live on 7Plus which is how I watch it.”

Regarding future planning, Ross said: “Our schedule for the remainder of this year is pretty much set. We are looking well into next year and what we are going to launch out of the Olympics. I have enough shows that I can always respond to things if need be.”

Output deals

The days of big output deals with Hollywood studios are almost gone. Ross revealed Seven still has one with Fox, despite the change of ownership recently.

In the past Seven has had deals with Disney/ABC, Warner Brothers (Ross said they still have one for movies, but not TV series) and NBCUniversal. “We have been around haven’t we!”

The ongoing deal with Fox means Seven will pickup the 9-1-1 spinoff 9-1-1 Lone Star with Rob Lowe. “We have another pick and there is a bunch of other shows to choose from.

“I wouldn’t say it has been a standout year for new US series.”

Making 7Food taste better

7Food is the most recent arrival of Seven’s suite of four multichannels.

The new food channel, launched late in 2019, has yet to overtake its main FTA opposition, SBS Food.

Ross told Mediaweek he would like to see 7Food punching a bit harder. “There is room for improvement.”

Part of the problem could be its MPEG4 delivery. “It can be harder for older televisions to pick it up. 7Food is incredibly young skewing and that is indicative of people who have newer televisions.

“We can do a better job of explaining to people how they can get that channel.”

Listen to the complete unedited podcast featuring Seven’s Angus Ross with Mediaweek’s James Manning

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