Last week, at their 2023 Upfronts, Nine announced some changes to 9Now that are of interest to both viewers and advertisers.
These changes have already started and some will last until 2023.
Full HD (1080p/50fps) has been fully rolled out on all 9Now channels since last week.
This is a great upgrade for viewers and certainly throws down the gauntlet to competing networks.
Before Full HD, 9Now could stream in HD/7020p/25 fp.
A new “Start Over” feature is coming in October, allowing viewers to rewind a live linear broadcast to the beginning. Especially for advertisers, viewers cannot skip the ads.
FAST (Free Ad-supported Streaming TV) channels, which will be show or content specific, are also in the pipeline. These work like a linear channel where you watch curated and scheduled shows, as opposed to Catch Up or On Demand.
Nine has yet to reveal which FAST channels will be offered, but the US already has over 1,400, with 22 major providers including Pluto TV, Tubi and Roku.
Here is the full 9Now release:
A new era of live streaming television has begun, with Nine’s digital platform 9Now ushering in a market-leading transformation from the ground up that will reshape the way 9Network viewers consume content and deliver game-changing opportunities for advertisers.
In an Australian first for BVOD platforms, 9Now will put users in control of their viewing experience, delivering a converged experience that combines the simplicity of broadcast television with the convenience and interactivity of digital television.
The viewer-focused upgrade to 9Now will include an innovative new homepage that allows users to dive right into the live content stream; a groundbreaking “Restart” option that takes viewers back to the beginning of each live broadcast; personalized household profiles and a new discovery page; the launch of new 24/7 Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST) channels with exclusive additional content; and interactive advertising experience on Connected TVs (CTV) – all live in Full HD.
9Now is a significant component of Nine’s overall TV audience, with live minutes growing 63% year-to-date.
Bec Haagsma, Nine’s Chief Product Officer, said: “Over the next 12 months, 9Now will completely transform the way television is consumed with a focus on a streaming-first product. With a dynamic homepage transformation, viewers enter 9Now with full HD live content streaming without having to click on a show.
“If viewers miss the start of a show on Linear, they can go to 9Now and click ‘Start Over’ – a feature that allows audiences to take control of their free-to-air live streaming experience like never before.”
9Now’s restart feature allows viewers to bring content streamed live on linear back to the start of the show, including commercials.
Hamish Turner, Nine’s Director of Programming and 9Now, said: “As viewers shift to IP consumption, 9Now is increasingly focused on consuming the best of news, sports and entertainment. We ensure the platform evolves to offer consumers – and advertisers – the simplicity of broadcast television combined with the high tech and interactivity of digital streaming.”
For the first time in Australia, all 9Now live channels will be streamed in Full HD, 1080p at 50fps with Dolby 5.1 surround sound and subtitles. All advertisements also get the Full HD treatment. With further investment in live infrastructure and an evolving range of entertainment programming, 9Now will also include standalone, exclusive FAST channels – specially curated to allow viewers to immerse themselves in their favorite show or genre.
9Now’s interactivity also means new opportunities for advertisers. With an expanded rollout of sponsorship products, 2023 will introduce interactive “shoppable” ads to CTV, allowing viewers to interact with brands on the largest screen in the house and create an immersive shopping experience.
Targeting via 9Now will also be further improved. The platform has been enhanced with household location targeting, which leverages declared zip code data from logged-in authenticated viewers. These segments include capital cities and state regional and rural areas, with more precise targeting to the Sydney and Melbourne metro areas slated to roll out in the coming weeks. A new partnership with Mastercard will also see targeting based on credit card transaction data become available through 9Now in the coming months.