Nine and 9Now will become the home of new Bravo titles as part of a new deal with NBCU.
9Now will dramatically expand its unscripted reality library to include E! and Bravo shows, as well as hundreds of hours of scripted comedy and drama from the NBCUniversal catalogue. Nine will also get first-pick of 3 series titles from LA screenings, and retain rights to new and classic feature films from Universal Pictures and DreamWorks Animation.
“We’re trying to shift 9now from being a pure catch-up to an entertainment destination,” Director of Programming Hamish Turner told TV Tonight.
“With these type of brands we can start shifting that perception. That’s what this this deal is fundamentally about: providing the audience with a greater depth and richness of content.”
Nine will be able to utilise key content on either Nine, 9Now or Stan, but Turner says a renegotiation of their current deal with NBCU theatrical and library movies was possible after Foxtel renegotiated their deal with the US giant.
Nine will be the free to air home for Bravo titles including The Real Housewives franchise, Below Deck, Million Dollar Listing New York, Botched, Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Hollywood Medium with Tyler Henry and secure broadcast premiere rights for new Bravo series commissioned from 2020 onwards and such as Family Karma.
“We’ve had this content on 9Life but it was really restrictive in terms of the VOD rights we had. We could only get it for seven days. Now we’re getting season stacking, plus 28 days …we’ll get a whole lot of back catalogue, E! and Bravo content, which will give us box sets on the platform. We’ll use those as marketing opportunities to push to new seasons that are coming onto both linear and 9Now,” Turner said.
The window for titles which premiere on Foxtel before playing on Nine will shrink from 24 months to 6 – 9 months.
“We’re unashamedly positioning ourselves as the free alternative. 100 percent of Australians can get 9Now and they don’t have to pay any money for it.”
Describing the increased competition in streaming as “an arms race for content”, he added, “We’re not trying to turn ourselves into an SVOD service. We still have a relationship with linear whereby having a schedule and dropping it once a week is not a bad thing from my perspective. Because you get an audience coming in each week and you try and hit them with ads. So it actually extends the journey.”
In the all-important scripted area, Nine gets Resident Alien (pictured top), produced for Syfy, with an alien who crash lands on Earth, then poses as a doctor while he awaits a rescue.
“It’s really quirky. Very funny, very dry, but will be something that you probably won’t have seen in that Nine world before,” Turner suggests.
“The other one that I’m really liking the look of is Duncanville. It’s an animated comedy from Amy Poehler and Mike Scully (The Simpsons).
“It launches February 12.”
Nine also gets legal drama Bluff City Law starring Jimmy Smits, while Suits spin-off Pearson will screen on 9Now from Sunday December 1, although it was cancelled after one season.
Having 9Now to complement Nine’s linear channel means the network has more capacity to keep fans happy should a show not succeed on air.
“Grand Hotel we launched at 8:30 but we knew it probably wasn’t going to be sustainable there. But we dropped them all on 9Now. So we use it as a promotional platform. Back in the old days, we used to take it off air and you’d never see it again, because you didn’t have that ability to utilise it on your platforms. Now, we would never just take something off without giving the audience the opportunity to then engage on 9Now,” he explains.
“That’s been a conscious decision. Obviously, you’ve got a different playing ground, you’ve got expectations from audience and also, there are tighter costs. We can’t afford to just bump and dump.”
Film titles from Dreamworks & Universal Pictures include Bourne, The Fast and the Furious, Back to the Future and Shrek franchises plus new movies Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, Yesterday and Downton Abbey (feature).
But while Turner was upbeat about the expansion of 9Now as a free service, he was also unapologetic about how the content can drive advertising revenue.
“This is really about us going after that money from YouTube and Facebook which we’ve lost, effectively. It’s come out of TV, and has gone to them. Facebook in particular, has a real lack of transparency around their numbers,” he noted.
“This money’s gone, and we want to back, so what we’re doing is expanding our BVOD offering and this is the first phase of that expansion.”