In October last year, advertisers and industry members kicked back with choc tops and popcorn in the HOYTS Cinema at Sydney’s Entertainment Quarter. Upfront season is always rife with big announcements and Seven’s was no different, unveiling the news that they were partnering with NBCUniversal to bring Australians a new free-to-air channel for reality and true crime: 7Bravo.
Australia’s newest free-to-air channel officially took to the airwaves on January 15th, bringing audiences a lineup of shows including Real Housewives, Million Dollar Listings, and Girls Trip.
The channel will also cover events, the first being the 65th Annual Grammy Awards which will be broadcast on 7Bravo via E!
Ahead of the launch, Mediaweek spoke to Seven’s director of content scheduling, Brook Hall, and NBCUniversal’s programming and acquisitions director, APAC, Caroline Cleland about 7Bravo’s on-demand power and what the new channel means for advertisers.
This isn’t the first time that Seven and NBCUniversal have worked together, however 7Bravo is the biggest project of the partnership. The pair say that the stars had aligned for both businesses, making now the right time to go ahead with the new channel.
Hall: “Seven and NBC have had different partnerships for a long time – we always have relationships with big studios, and NBCUniversal are one of the biggest global studios and producers of content in the world.
“As a network, we’ve got news, sport, and our broadcast tentpoles are our anchors. But really, you need another piece – and that’s having a global pipeline of a range of content.”
Cleland: “The time was right, the partnership came together courtesy of the renegotiations at the time of NBCU’s business across Australia. It was great to be able to do more business with Seven.”
It’s not just on-air that 7Bravo will stand out for Seven, as Hall says that the channel is unique behind the scenes as well.
Hall: “It’s not an internal Seven setup. NBCUniversal have gone about putting the schedule together – they are the expert with this content.
“7Bravo is probably a bit different to a lot of other DT channels in this market. Free-to-air has this main focus on just the primetime hours – and of course, that’s where some of the new primetime content will be, but 7Bravo is made for 24 hours. Some of those key brands like The Kelly Clarkson Show and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon are airing in the daytime.
“We’re looking at the whole picture of this channel, not just on broadcast linear primetime, but broadcast through the whole day and on demand.”
As 7Bravo officially launches on free-to-air, it has simultaneously found a home on 7Plus. The pair say that they anticipate on-demand to play a significant role in the success of the channel.
Hall: ”Some of our channels skew more broadcast friendly and less on demand. I would imagine in this Australian market that out of every multichannel, 7Bravo will be the highest indexing for content on demand of all of the channels.
“Looking at the lifecycle of all this content and the Bravo channel itself, there’s going to be a lot of focus on the on-demand, as well as the traditional broadcast ratings for us.”
Cleland: “VOD will be a big driver for this channel. Ultimately, we’re looking for the channel to compete well in the DTT space and to bring our highly committed and engaged audience. That is a great space for advertisers, and complements the Seven suite of channels.”
When it comes to those advertisers, Hall says that 7Bravo is “going to be highly indexed for women 25-54 and women under 50,” making it the missing piece of the puzzle – “completing the circle,” Hall says – at Seven. At the same time, Cleland points to the opportunity to advertise beyond the channel itself.
Hall: “Seven is the leading network in the primary channel – we’re big, broad, with many different genres. In the DTT space, we’ve got 7Mate which is a very powerful on-brand channel for targeting younger males, and 7Two is targeting an older demographic. If we were to point somewhere that we don’t have completely covered in the DTT space, it would be the women 25-54, we don’t have a channel targeted specifically at that space – and that’s where this content comes in.”
Cleland: “We have E! Live from red carpet events that will be airing on 7Bravo, they’re a great opportunity for advertisers in the fashion and beauty space, and extending content across digital platforms as well. We also have our influencer marketing, which we call the Friends of Bravo. That involves working with key local content creators under specific categories to make connections between brands and our audience for advertisers.”
The Australian launch is not the first time NBCUniversal has brought the Bravo brand to APAC: Bravo has already found free-to-air success across the ditch. Bravo launched in New Zealand in 2016, providing a blueprint of what the teams behind the Australian channel can expect.
Cleland: “The success of Bravo New Zealand has given us enormous learnings. We’ve taken those learnings, and we have the confidence that this content can stand up in the free-to-air market – particularly in on-demand. That content just works extremely well.”
Hall: “You always look for similar viewing markets, and any extra data you can get to give yourself more assurance that this is going to work. We know it works everywhere around the world, but the fact that there is a similar set up in a market that’s very similar to us – and that it’s roaring over there – is just another point of confidence for us in this market.”
Top Image: Brook Hall and Caroline Cleland