With the Christmas lights being strung up, the year is beginning to wind down – however, it’s full steam ahead for Seven and the team behind BVOD platform 7Plus.
To speak about the strategy behind the platform and what’s coming in 2024, Mediaweek caught up with Brook Hall, Seven’s director of content scheduling, and Andrew Green, head of 7plus content and acquisitions.
When asked what, exactly, it is that’s bringing audiences into 7Plus, Green said “It’s a combination of factors. We try and cater for as many different genres and demographics as we can.”
Green: “Obviously, we have to broadcast content that drives a decent amount of audience, but then we have a big library of content that provides something for everyone – but our main target is 18 to 49 year old females. We’ve found ourselves a bit of a niche in that area, and we push hard into that zone. It’s mostly with dramas, which have proven to be really successful for us, the majority being US drama that you probably haven’t seen on BVOD platform for free before.”
When selecting shows for 7plus, Green said that the key lies in making sure that it is a show that data proves will make it worth bringing onto the platform.
Green: “We tend to focus on broad appeal programmes, away from niche audiences. That’s where US and UK dramas come in, which have historically worked really well for Australia. We’ve used them to get a feel for things, see if it’s something that we think would fit our target audiences, and if so, we’ll go for it.”
Partnering with Databricks
Earlier in the year, Seven’s 2024 Upfront unveiled the company’s partnership with Databricks – one of the world’s leading cloud, data and AI companies – that uses AI to drive contextual, relevant advertising experiences for its audiences.
When asked what the partnership would mean for users, Hall said that the tech is used in a way that users will not even notice.
Hall: “The one big thing that I think we’ve done really well on 7plus is the user is not quite aware that everyone has their own unique homepage experience. Whilst we curate a lot of that content and feature content around our broadcast pillars, we’ve got such a vast library that it would be physically impossible if we were doing it as one unified experience.
“The biggest thing is expanding on that personalisation, so that what you come to see is using all of that data to give a unique experience. We think the formulas are quite good at matching that, and what we’ve seen is month-on-month 20% growth on our audience as people are coming in.”
One of the other highlights of the Upfront was that in 2024, Seven will be bringing the AFL and cricket to 7plus with the introduction of full digital rights.
The AFL rights will kick in with the Brownlow Medal and the AFL Grand Final in 2024, followed by the AFLW and then the full 2025 season. Seven’s digital rights to cricket start in October 2024, with Test matches, Women’s Internationals, BBL and WBBL running on 7plus for the first time.
Hall: “People think of Channel Seven, and they think of news, big tentpoles, Home & Away, and they think AFL and cricket – that hasn’t touched 7plus yet. 7plus has been powered without those two giant sports.
“We’re going to have basically 52 weeks a year of these big premium sports driving the viewers. We’re very excited that we’ve got that regular user base coming to stream those sports for free.”
When it comes to the major tentpoles, the pair also point to Big Brother Uncut as an example of 7plus exclusive shows that are drawing in audiences.
Hall: “I think that that’s a great example for when people go, what’s the difference between broadcast and digital? Ideally, you just want the best content, and digital gives you a lot of opportunities to play. We’re not limited to a time, so how do we give more control to the user in regard to when they want to watch?
“Big Brother is a great example of where we’ve got specific things going on broadcast, and it’s a big streaming play. It doesn’t always have to be one or the other – it can be a combination. This show is a combination of where we’re placing it and the audience is finding it.”
Green: “Changing with the times! It doesn’t have to be on at 10:30pm on broadcast, you get it now as a digital exclusive and people are pouring into find it.”
With 2024 just around the corner, Green said that there will be more content on the horizon for 7plus viewers.
Green: “We’re going to have about 4000 hours of new content coming to 7plus next year, from a range of different distributors. We taking the Farmer Wants a Wife United States series, which is the first season of that. We’ll have Farmer Wants a Wife Canada – which they rebadged Farming For Love. Those are a couple that we’re pretty excited about, so we’re hanging out for those ones.”
Top Image: Brook Hall and Andrew Green
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