Highlights from Nine’s 2017 upfront

Underbelly is back, Nine starts a food franchise, Hamish and Andy and Karl in primetime

In the past six months Nine has gone to market four times with launch events targeted at advertisers and media buyers in an effort to secure and grow its advertising revenue.

As Nine chief executive Hugh Marks reminded Mediaweek yesterday at the 2017 Upfront: “We are in show business and we need to reflect that in our communication with the market.”

Less than six months ago Nine put on a show to launch the rebranded Nine.com.au and that was followed a couple of months later with a midyear Upfront to promise a better second half which Nine has delivered. That was followed closely by Sydney and Melbourne events to launch its biggest-ever Summer of Cricket.

The Australia v South Africe test series shown on Nine's Wide World of Sport

The Australia v South Africe test series shown on Nine’s Wide World of Sports

However, Nine’s biggest advertising event of the year was yesterday’s flashy 2017 Upfront at the Star Event Centre in Sydney. Nine asked a lot of its guests with a 12 noon start with a stand-up lunch followed by a 1pm kick-off for the Upfront which was not scheduled to wrap until close to 4.30pm.

Nine fitted out the Star with a stage that would not have looked out of place on a big-budget variety show with rotating couches, stairs and glamorous backdrops.

Hugh Marks with Nine talent

Hugh Marks with Nine talent

Nine CEO Marks started proceedings promising a whole-of-business presentation which explains how the company is positioning itself for the Nine of the future. “Nine is the most consistent media company year-in, year-out, but we can do better.”

ALSO: What to expect from Nine in 2017

Marks also promised they would start 2017 better than they have for the past few years. Other highlights Marks noted were their growing digital network and the changes they were making to make it easier for buyers to trade with Nine.

“We have embraced non-linear broadcasting,” Marks added, telling the audience that sign-ups for 9Now were over 2.2m.

Hamish Blake, Nine CEO High Marks and Andy Lee at Nine Upfront

Hamish Blake, Nine CEO High Marks and Andy Lee at Nine Upfront

During its close to four-hour marathon, Nine showed off its big stars to the advertisers and the first onstage were Hamish & Andy, partly because they are now one of Nine’s hottest properties, but also because they had to be on air across town at SCA at 4pm. Even though they had just received their best radio ratings report for the year, it was all about TV yesterday for the comedy duo.

“It’s good to be home,” said Hamish Blake, introducing pants-off Tuesday to the audience. “I was told to relax, and this is how I relax,” he explained.

ALSO: Nine.com.au launches newest vertical 9Mums

The rest of the afternoon featured Nine executives and stars from all parts of the business covering news, entertainment, sport and special events.

Programming highlights

Married At First Sight

Married At First Sight

Married At First Sight: The series will get the Endemol Shine treatment and start off the survey year, up against My Kitchen Rules and I’m A Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here.

Australian Ninja Warrior: Rebecca Maddern will host this “ultimate television event” to be produced by Endemol Shine Australia.

Family Food Fight: Another food show and another commission for Endemol Shine Australia.

Hamish and Andy: Busy year for the comedy duo and their Radio Karate production business. They will return to drive for Southern Cross Austereo’s Hit Network and they will also be on Nine with a 12-episode series midyear.

This Time Next Year: Karl Stefanovic in primetime with the show we have all been waiting 12 months to see.

The Last Resort – Love Me Or Leave Me: Another relationship show with couples in a social experiment on a tropical island. What could possibly go wrong – viewers will be hoping quite a bit. To be produced in-house at Nine.

Chopper: Or to give it the full name – Underbelly Files: Chopper. The Screentime team back with Nine doing what they do best – real crime. Another six-part doco series from Screentime for Nine is Murder Calls which looks at six infamous murder cases.

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