Nine’s sales boss on pop-up emporium, tennis, Your Money, Love Island

• Michael Stephenson tells Mediaweek: ‘It has been a great year for Nine’

As Nine closes its Big Ideas Store this week, Nine Entertainment Co’s chief sales officer Michael Stephenson has told Mediaweek Nine has had more than 500 people through the door at the Oxford Street pop-up emporium.

During that time Nine has presented three insights studies relating to auto, relationships and homes.

“We have decomplicated the data story and given advertisers insights into how they can use our data infrastructure for their benefit. It has been a fantastic two weeks,” said Stephenson on Sky News Business.

Stephenson said the research tried to tap into cultural connections and cultural insights – “things that are happening in popular culture”.

The Great Australian Dream Reimagined looked at how home ownership is becoming more and more challenging for particular target demographics. We have uncovered insights that will help advertisers connect more effectively with that target.

Women In Auto looked at the role females play in the purchase of new cars and how marketers should communicate to that particular audience.

“The third piece of research was around relationships – Love Is The New Battlefield – and the changing way in which relationships develop. It looks at the role of popular culture, in particular broadcast television via Married At First Sight and Love Island, in helping people to understand what a relationship today looks and feels like.”

Stephenson noted those two properties do very different things for Nine. MAFS is a big property reaching a mass audience that starts off the year so well for Nine.

Love Island is a smaller, more targeted reality show for a younger demographic.

Sophie Monk and the Love Island contestants

“We will look back in a week’s time when Love Island finishes its six-week run and see that it has been a defining moment in terms of how we commission and make content for specific audiences.

“With Love Island half of the audience is being delivered via on demand or a live stream to a mobile device. It’s targeted to 16- to 39-year-olds who are very valuable to advertisers because they are increasingly difficult to reach.”

Love Island Australia kicking sales goals for Nine
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“It has been a great year for Nine,” Stephenson remarked. “We have invested a lot in people to make sure from a commercial perspective we have specialists in particular areas of growth. That is premium content and the ability for brands to tell stories in premium content and programmatic advertising and video. As a result of the investment with people into those areas, all of those revenue lines for Nine are growing.”

Stephenson said the use of data to understand the audience being attracted across Nine properties is critical. “Having the technology to be able to engage with those audiences via advertising is becoming more and more important.

“At 9Now we do ask people to register and as of today we have 6.4m Australians who have done that and are engaging with our content. That is valuable for so many reasons.

“One of which is we are moving into a world where addressable television is becoming more important, and having a unique and signed-in user is critical.”

Married At First Sight

With the audiences engaging in so many ways, Stephenson noted the changing face of ratings. While OzTAM and its FTA owners are measuring across different platforms, he said the way the data is being presented will be changing.

“Live, linear, overnight ratings are just one metric. OzTAM is measuring the consumption of content on mobile devices in the same way TV audiences are measured to give us one common currency.

“That will be a great leap forward in this country and we will lead the world.

“You will see the aggregate audiences being communicated as a broader currency in the back half of this year through OzTAM.”

When asked about the Nine/News Corp Your Money JV, Stephenson welcomed the partnership and noted there was real value in creating content for highly targeted audiences.

“The FTA channel with its other distribution platforms will allow consumers to access business news, finance and luxury lifestyle content. For advertisers they will be able to target the difficult-to-reach high net worth individual.”

When asked about Nine’s deal to get the Australian Open for 2019, Stephenson said it was something they will get to market very quickly.

“We have been working on the tennis for quite some time and we have engaged with all our major partners and sponsors and we will be in market over the next two to three weeks.

“It is an incredible thing for Nine to have a female-friendly platform to launch into Married At First Sight and our 2019 year.”

Top photo: Nine’s Michael Stephenson on the Mediaweek set at Sky News Business with Helen Dalley and James Manning

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