In an Australian first for BVOD platforms, 9Now will put users in control of their viewing experience, offering a converged experience combining the simplicity of broadcast TV with the convenience and interactivity of digital, Nine announced at its 2023 Upfronts today.
The viewer-focused upgrade to 9Now will include a new homepage that allows users to dive straight into the live content stream; a “start over” option that takes viewers back to the start of any live program; personalised household profiles and a new discover page; the introduction of new 24/7 Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST) channels with exclusive additional content; and interactive advertising experience on connected TVs (CTV) – all offered live in full HD.
9Now is a significant component of Nine’s Total TV audience, with live minutes growing by 63% calendar year to date.
Nine’s chief product officer, Bec Haagsma said: “Over the next 12 months, 9Now will completely reshape how television is consumed with a focus on a streaming-first product. With a dynamic homepage transformation, viewers will enter 9Now with live content streaming in full HD without having to click on a show.
“If viewers miss the start of a program on linear, they can go to 9Now and hit ‘start over’ – a feature that allows audiences to control their free-to-air live streaming experience like never before.”
9Now’s start-over feature allows viewers to take content being broadcast live on linear back to the beginning of the show, including ads.
Nine’s director of programming and 9Now, Hamish Turner, said: “With viewers migrating to IP consumption, 9Now will increasingly become the destination to consume the best in news, sport and entertainment. We’re ensuring the platform evolves to provide consumers – and advertisers – with the simplicity of broadcast television combined with the high tech and interactivity of digital streaming.”
In an Australian first, live sport now streams in HD at 50 frames per second with Dolby 5.1 sound. All advertising will also stream in full HD. With further investment in the Live infrastructure and evolved offering of entertainment programming, 9Now will also contain stand-alone, exclusive FAST channels – specially curated to allow viewers to immerse themselves in their favourite program or genre.
The interactivity of 9Now also means new opportunities for advertisers. With an expanded rollout of sponsorship products, 2023 will see the introduction of interactive “shoppable” ads on CTV – allowing viewers to interact with brands on the largest screen in the house and creating immersive buying experiences.
Targeting across 9Now will also be further enhanced. Household location targeting has been added to the platform, leveraging declared postcode data from signed-in authenticated viewers.
These segments span capital cities and state-based regional and rural areas, with more granular targeting in Sydney and Melbourne sub-metro areas to be introduced over the coming weeks. A new partnership with Mastercard will also see targeting based on credit card transaction data becoming available across 9Now in the coming months.
Additionally, Nine announced it will complete its Australia-wide broadcast news network in 2023 with a flagship 6pm bulletin dedicated to Tasmania.
The hour-long 9News Tasmania bulletin will be produced by Nine and broadcast by Nine’s Tasmanian affiliate, live from a new Hobart studio seven days a week.
Nine’s director of news and current affairs, Darren Wick said: “As Australia’s largest news organisation, Nine is committed to telling the stories that matter most.”
“This flagship bulletin will be produced and presented by Tasmanians, for Tasmanians. As one of Australia’s fastest-growing markets, with diverse industry and expanding sports scene, we couldn’t think of a better time to expand Nine’s news, sport and weather offering, giving the Apple Isle the live and local news they deserve.”
WIN news director, Stella Lauri said: “We are committed to providing regional Australia with the best news and we look forward to offering WIN Tasmania viewers a bulletin, seven nights a week, dedicated to their state and their stories.”
The 9News Tasmania 6pm bulletin will launch in early 2023.