“This is probably the perfect time to launch a new channel with available audience and no Sport,” says Nine Programming Director Hamish Turner.
With so many Australians at home, and Easter on the way, 9RUSH is ready to unveil its suite of male-skewing, adrenaline reality titles including brand new Top Gear, Gold Rush: Parker’s Trail, Street Outlaws, Live PD, Kindig Customs, Alaskan Bush People, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, and Man vs Wild.
Most will be Free to Air premieres from the joint venture Nine shares with Discovery Channel.
“We started 9Life with Scripps initially but then obviously Discovery bought Scripps,” Turner continues.
“So through that we have had a relationship with them and we’ve pulled content from Discovery ad hoc previously, mainly for our multichannels. But this was an opportunity that came about. Discovery were looking for a partner that would provide the audience with access to their content outside the Pay TV environment.”
“No-one does this sort of content better than Discovery”
Geoff Dyer, Director of Network Scheduling, agrees 9RUSH represents a chance to broaden Nine from a female-skewing network to one that appeals more to males.
“We’re just very excited to expose all of these big brands to our FTA audience. No-one does this sort of content better than Discovery. We had been chasing a lot of this content that we’d just been locked out of, for a long time. So to get access to so much of it was just a fantastic result,” he says.
9RUSH will launch on Channel 96 at 7.00pm on Sunday April 5, drawing upon spectrum that had been allocated to the former Your Money multichannel (previously Ch. 95).
New Top Gear which just happens to feature Andrew “Freddie” Flintoff (Australian Ninja Warrior) is the launch title.
There will be themed nights with block programming repeated throughout the day.
Sunday: Best of British Motoring (Top Gear, Million Dollar Car Hunters, Salvage Hunters)
Monday: Buried Treasure (Gold Rush, Bearing Sea Gold)
Tuesday: Survival (Man vs Wild, Running Wild with Bear Grylls, Naked & Afraid)
Wednesday: Rust to Riches Cars (Diesel Brothers, Misfit Garage, Kindig Customs)
Thursday: Outlaw Cars (Shifting Gears with Aaron Kaufman, Street Outlaws)
Friday: Cops (Cops UK, Live PD)
Saturday: Off the Grid Living (Homestead Rescue, Alaskan Bush People)
“Discovery produces this style of content in very clear themes”
“The good thing is Discovery produces this style of content in very clear themes, so it was easy to group the content up and create thematic nights,” Dyer says.
“They are repeated in blocks through the daytime. We obviously have to be aware of classification laws. Some of this stuff is M so we have to play around that a little bit. But we supplement it with other content that we have on our books as well.”
“At the moment, the 9Now audience is very heavily female, mainly from shows like Married at First Sight & Love Island,” he says.
“But having a big swathe of content that’s tied specifically to men increases your footprint across the across the board, and obviously for advertisers more men 25-54.
“There will also be content that isn’t on the linear channel.”
“We’ve got over 1000 hours of content that will sit as VOD content on 9Now. The way the deal works is you have in-season stacking, which is connected to the linear play. Then you’ve also got the opportunity to extend those rights.
“There will also be content that isn’t on the linear channel. On 9Now we’lol target more niche clusters in that world. You might see some science or conspiracy stuff that doesn’t have a home on 9RUSH.”
However Nine also talked down competition with other male-skewing multichannels 7mate and 10 BOLD.
“7mate started with a lot of A&E content that is the ‘True Reality’ space but they have broadened out into a lot more movies to prop up the schedule. You won’t be seeing movies on 9RUSH,” says Turner.
“We’re not really trying to compete with 7mate or BOLD”
Dyer added, “We’re not really trying to compete with 7mate or BOLD, it’s just about providing another another stream of content for FTA audiences.”
So far 9RUSH is confined to metropolitan markets, and there are no plans as yet to add to the Foxtel platform.
“It won’t be on Foxtel. Last time we checked there was a pretty hefty fee against putting your channels on Foxtel. So it’s somewhat cost prohibitive,” Turner concedes.
“For regional we are yet to work out how that plays out. We’ve got it on metro first, and then we’ll look at rolling it out further down the track.”
9RUSH launches on Channel 96 at 7.00pm on Sunday, April 5.