Nine’s Hamish Turner talks The Block and the future of BVOD

TV Ratings

“It really touches the zeitgeist of what we’ve seen in the last two years.”

This past Sunday, all three of the commercial free-to-air networks launched new primetime tentpole programming. As per most years since 2003, Nine’s The Block came out on top with the highest linear overnight metro audience average, while also being #1 in all key demos.

Mediaweek spoke with Nine’s director of 9Now and programming, Hamish Turner, about the success of the show and the future of BVOD at Nine.

Speaking of the success of The Block, Turner said that the show usually builds momentum as it goes and people start engaging with the contestants, but the results have been helped by a dose of early drama.

“We had a fast start with the walkout – which was a surprise – but we knew it would be interesting for the show. Luckily, there are always willing blockheads ready to jump in at a minute’s notice.

It really touches the zeitgeist of what we’ve seen in the last two years. People have thought about how they want to live their lives and how they want to work, and a lot of people have chosen either sea changes or tree changes. We are seeing that as being aspirational, and people are reacting to that with the content as well.”

the block

The early success of The Block in 2022, is just that: early. Regardless, Turner said he is very encouraged by the results so far.

“The pleasing thing this year is that when you look at that total TV numbers, we are up 30%. Episode two was up 38% year on year, and BVOD is up 93.5% which is huge growth in terms of that digital footprint. When you look at those overnights and linear ratings, they are 834,000, up 33% year on year. The picture starts getting better when you start adding in the BVOD impressions and regional numbers. Regional viewers have really responded this season with that location.”

Turner said that The Block has an impact for Nine that goes beyond its TV ratings, much like one of the network’s other hits, MAFS.

“We have two shows that punch well above their weight in terms of linear footprints in The Block and MAFS. It enables us to have those tentpoles at the right time of the year.

“It gives us a foundation on the schedule which then enables us to provide greater opportunity for those shows at 8:45pm – shows like The Hundred and After the Verdict. It gives you a great platform to launch those shows and increases the time people spent on the platform effectively.”

The Future of BVOD at Nine

When asked about the future of BVOD, which has experienced a high growth rate for Nine this year, Turner said that it will play a huge part for the broadcaster moving forward.

“This is twofold: chasing a digital audience who may have cut the cord and providing them with the best user experience possible. Then, also being able to convert that audience who have got connected TVs and to ensure that free to air is the place that they are tuning into first.

“A lot of work that we’re doing is ensuring that free TV more broadly is front and centre. A lot of the manufacturers are trying to create different gateways into the content, and I would imagine that those gateways are really driven by commercial outcomes. For us as an Australian TV industry, that creates Australian content and Australian jobs. We want to do everything to ensure our relevancy is maintained.”

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