Ratings for Married indicate why Nine really wanted Australian Open

‘We always sat there very, very envious of the Australian Open tennis as a promotional platform.’

In a new Mediaweek podcast (available here), Nine program director Hamish Turner tells Mediaweek’s James Manning about how the Australian Open tennis has helped power Nine’s Q1 audience.

“We always sat there very, very envious of the Australian Open tennis as a promotional platform and how it works so well just because of the demographic composition.

“That profile lends itself to our broader entertainment programming. We were very happy we were able to chase the tennis and secure it. It has definitely paid dividends from both a performance perspective and a platform for the rest of our shows.

Hamish Turner

Turner recalled for us how the Married At First Sight franchise has grown to the audience magnet it is now:

“It is obviously is a show that started in a very different place. We had three series that followed the more traditional ob doc format, which came from Red Arrow. We took four couples over six to eight episodes, married them, sent them on honeymoons, and then worked out whether they wanted to stay together or not.”

That version of the format built an audience, but it was not a big enough crowd to start Nine’s year as advertisers would have liked up against Seven’s then all-conquering My Kitchen Rules.

“We had a real issue at the beginning of our year. We looked around [at alternatives] and our director of television Michael Healy said, ‘Look, we’ve got Married At First Sight there, is there something we can do with that?’

“The series was originally produced internally and we took it to Endemol Shine Australia to develop and see what they could do.

“They increased the episode numbers and turned it into more your traditional strip show. That included dinner parties and commitment ceremonies.

“It’s been a three year journey with that show. We saw it take a big jump last year and it’s continued on its way this year. It is very noisy and has really captured the national conversation and has continued on a growth trajectory.

Married has now taken over from My Kitchen Rules as the number one show all people. I know I did it that last year, but it has done it much earlier this year.

“From a demographic breakdown, it is just absolutely thumping the competition and delivering some amazing streaming numbers on 9Now.”

Turner noted how the show generates much chatter on socials, fills much airtime on breakfast radio and online, including maybe 20 articles daily at the Mail Online!

Listen to the podcast there.

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