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News Plus 13 Oct 2021 - 4 min read

The Comeback Kids: Seven revives more old formats, flags 13m logged-in viewers, goes full funnel with in-show e-commerce, strikes first Salesforce Media Cloud deal for trading

By Paul McIntyre - Executive Editor
Kurt Burnette, Sonia Kruger, James Warburton

Seven boss James Warburton (right) with Kurt Burnette and Sonia Kruger: "Our competitors have become more desperate to make claims of ratings leadership.”

About 5,000 people tuned in yesterday to see a plucky Seven reclaim its rights as the broadcast ratings leader for 2022, hint at bullish forward advertising demand through to the March quarter and all but close the gap on Nine’s 14 million logged in users next year by adding 3 million registered viewer IDs via the 2022 Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games. It's bidding to become a “full marketing funnel” media house.

What you need to know:

  • Seven has turned up the dial on programming and ratings dominance for 2022, reviving more old ratings winners after success with The Voice and Big Brother. MKR and Australian Idol are next.
  • It now has 10 million logged in users and will add another 3 million from the Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games next year. But Seven will focus on daily active logged in users as its key metric, up 47% since the Tokyo Olympics to 640,000.
  • It’s attempting to bring performance and e-commerce conversion to TV’s traditional high ground of brand awareness and consideration, with buy options for products and brands in and around shows.
  • Forward bookings into the March quarter are above 2019 comparators.
  • A $40m technology investment into a new trading platform with Salesforce Media Cloud is the first here and Seven is working on the global product with the tech giant.     

The ambition is to make the screens of Seven shoppable.

Nicole Bence, Network Digital Sales Director, Seven West Media

Funnel visions: Warburton's content plus commerce play

Seven West Media CEO James Warburton was “completely mentally stable” quipped Sonia Kruger in her opening lines for Seven’s 2022 Upfronts presentation yesterday as the broadcasting boss flagged an aggressive start to 2022 before the official ratings season begins. 

Emboldened by its success in reviving old formats like the The Voice and Big Brother, Seven returned to the archives with announcements it will bring back one-time ratings powerhouses like My Kitchen Rules (MKR) and Australian Idol.

The broadcaster is clearly confident about its content slate for next year which appeared more bustling than that served up by rival Nine in its early Upfronts presentation for 2022 last month.

“We will be the number one network in total people and will be the number one network in under 50s,” Warburton told his virtual viewers in the ratings wash-up for this year. “We're the only network that has increased our share in 25-54, 16-39 and under 50s. And, of course, total people. Our competitors have become more desperate to make claims of ratings leadership.”

Outside its content slate, Seven touted plans to become a 'full marketing funnel provider'. It's an in-show e-commerce play, as the network attempts to fuse television’s long-held credentials for building brand awareness and purchase consideration with the lower end of the funnel and close the loop. Seven calls it cultural commerce – and has even surprised itself with the booming consumer use of QR Codes.

In a bid to capture the Covid-influenced rise in online purchasing, Seven is embedding e-commerce capabilities inside its content, allowing viewers to purchase what they see on screen from fashion to power tools. 

7Shop deploys AI and content recognition software to identify and tag products in Seven shows and allows people to buy what they see.    

“The ambition is to make the screens of Seven shoppable,” Seven’s digital advertising head Nicole Bence told Mi3. “It gives you the opportunity to have the big brand moment, but then also drive through to purchase. The technology currently works on Seven Plus but will be live across linear by the end of this month.” The idea is good but brands will have to grasp different creative ideas and e-commerce strategies for it to work.

The ID race – and putting the data to use

Linked closely to its e-commerce and breakout “brand experience” initiatives in and around its programming, Seven is chasing Nine for logged in user IDs. It added 3 million from its blockbuster Olympics coverage this year and Seven’s Chief Revenue Officer told Mi3 the broadcaster expected to add another 3 million next year from its Winter Olympics and Commonwealth Games Coverage – those two events would deliver about 60 per cent of Seven’s blockbuster Olympics audience. Beyond the headline numbers, however, Seven's key focus is on growing daily active logged in users, which are up 47 per cent after its Olympics coverage to 640,000 currently. 

Seven’s audience team are now using individual viewing behaviour and profiles to promote shows and new formats. The surge in men who signed up to Seven during the Olympics, for example, have been targeted for launches like SAS. 

“You’ve got attention, you’ve got action and you’ve got attribution,” Burnette said.  “All of that throws off data we are able to share with brands.” That includes a new 7Rewards program for logged-in users which incentives and rewards viewers to consume more content with a deal struck with the Entertainment Book pushing personalised offers across dining and travel. 

Ad bookings "off the charts", Salesforce deal done

The slew of initiatives from Seven comes as forward bookings across its linear and digital assets into the March quarter are up single digits for broadcast and double digit for digital over pre-Covid comparators in 2019. 

“The lead booking cycle is off the charts,” Burnette said. “If that's any indication, it's going to be exactly as we've all expected and discussed. We also understand that we've got to see how the rest of the year unfolds but again, the early signs are really, really strong.”

Seven also announced it was the first Australian media company to align with the Salesforce Media Cloud, which it is also working with the tech giant to develop globally. Seven is pouring about $40m into the new linear and digital trading platform.   

“It's the biggest technology initiative that's ever been undertaken at Seven,” Burnette said. “It will help make trading, buying faster and bring all of these new elements we’ve announced together.”

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