Last week at their 2023 Upfronts, Nine announced some changes to 9Now which are of interest to both viewers and advertisers.
These changes have already commenced and some will continue into 2023.
Full HD (1080p/50fps) is now fully rolled out as of last week on all 9Now channels on the app and Connected TVs.
This is a great upgrade for viewers and certainly throws down the gauntlet to rival networks.
Prior to Full HD, 9Now was able to stream in HD / 7020p/ 25 fp.
A new “Start Over” feature is coming in October, which will give viewers the ability to wind back a Live linear broadcast to the beginning. Especially for advertisers, viewers will not be able to skip the ads.
FAST channels (Free Ad-supported Streaming TV), which will be show or content specific, are also coming. These function like a linear channel where you watch shows curated and scheduled, as opposed to Catch Up or On Demand.
Nine is yet to reveal what FAST channels will be on offer, but the US already has over 1,400, with 22 major providers including Pluto TV, Tubi and Roku.
Here is the 9Now release in full:
A new era of live streaming television has been unveiled, with Nine’s digital platform 9Now embarking on a market-leading transformation from the ground up that will reshape how 9Network viewers consume content, as well as offering advertisers groundbreaking opportunities.
In an Australian first for BVOD platforms, 9Now will put users in control of their viewing experience, offering a converged experience that combines the simplicity of broadcast television with the convenience and interactivity of digital.
The viewer-focused upgrade to 9Now will include an innovative new homepage that allows users to dive straight into the live content stream; a game-changing ‘start over’ option that takes viewers back to the start of any live program; personalised household profiles and a new discover page; the introduction of new 24/7 Free Ad-Supported Streaming TV (FAST) channels with exclusive additional content; and interactive advertising experience on connected TVs (CTV) – all offered live in Full HD.
9Now is a significant component of Nine’s Total TV audience, with live minutes growing by 63% calendar year to date.
Nine’s Chief Product Officer, Bec Haagsma, said: “Over the next 12 months, 9Now will completely reshape how television is consumed with a focus on a streaming-first product. With a dynamic homepage transformation, viewers will enter 9Now with live content streaming in Full HD without having to click on a show.
“If viewers miss the start of a program on linear, they can go to 9Now and hit ‘start over’ – a feature that allows audiences to control their free-to-air live streaming experience like never before.”
9Now’s start over feature allows viewers to take content being broadcast live on linear back to the beginning of the show, including ads.
Nine’s Director of Programming and 9Now, Hamish Turner, said: “With viewers migrating to IP consumption, 9Now will increasingly become the destination to consume the best in news, sport and entertainment. We’re ensuring the platform evolves to provide consumers – and advertisers – with the simplicity of broadcast television combined with the high tech and interactivity of digital streaming.”
In an Australian first, all 9Now’s Live Channels will stream in Full HD, 1080p at 50 frames per second with Dolby 5.1 surround sound & closed captions. All advertising will get the Full HD treatment also. With further investment in the live infrastructure and evolved offering of entertainment programming, 9Now will also contain stand-alone, exclusive FAST channels – specially curated to allow viewers to immerse themselves in their favourite program or genre.
The interactivity of 9Now also means new opportunities for advertisers. With an expanded rollout of sponsorship products, 2023 will see the introduction of interactive ‘shoppable’ ads on CTV – allowing viewers to interact with brands on the largest screen in the house and creating immersive buying experiences.
Targeting across 9Now will also be further enhanced. Household location targeting has been added to the platform, leveraging declared postcode data from signed-in authenticated viewers. These segments span capital cities and state-based regional and rural areas, with more granular targeting in Sydney and Melbourne sub-metro areas to be introduced over the coming weeks. A new partnership with Mastercard will also see targeting based on credit card transaction data becoming available across 9Now in the coming months.