Customer Profile

Nine Network is one of the largest free-to-air broadcasters in Australia, operating four OTA channels across five markets, as well as a streaming video platform, 9Now, which allows viewers to watch programs from Channel 9, 9Go!, 9Gem and 9Life on demand, whenever and wherever they want. 

Nine Network - Best of Digital. Best of TV. Image of newlyweds on a tv screen.

Business Challenge

The traditional model of spot-based ad trading worked well for Nine Network when the company operated a single over-the-air channel. But doing business became a lot more complicated with the rollout of three additional broadcast channels, along with a streaming, on-demand video platform.
As viewership became fragmented across channels and platforms, the process of monetizing content became labor intensive, and the reliability of TV audiences and delivery of advertiser campaigns became a considerable challenge.
Nine decided they needed a new way of doing business.
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“GamePlan has allowed us to achieve a good efficiency against our inventory and a better sales result. ”
Warwick Sharp, Director, Sales Operations, Nine

Design Considerations

Ease of Integration

Add optimization capability without a back-office rip and replace. Implement a cloud-based, modular solution that easily integrates into multivendor environments with existing business systems through open APIs.
Monetize inventory without over-delivery. Deploy a system that dynamically adjusts to changing conditions, such as alterations to program schedules and updated viewership predictions.
Speed and Scale
Achieve optimum results in minimum time. Leverage the flexibility of the cloud with a solution capable of booking more than 9,000 commercials per minute based on 2.5 million optimization calculations.
Audience-based Buying
Make a gradual move to impression-based ad models that offer more surgical options for targeting viewers. Deploy an ad inventory optimization platform that blends spot- and audience-based campaigns.

Technology Solution

Believing that audience-based buying was the solution to their problems, Nine chose to customize a system that would enable them to make headway toward their 2020 vision of platform-agnostic trading. Their groundbreaking 9Galaxy automated TV trading platform was launched in 2017.
9Galaxy automates the buying and selling of Nine’s television inventory and uses proprietary modelling technology to help better predict television audiences. Starting with linear television at launch, Nine integrated their digital video sales in February 2019. Today, about 35% of Nine’s inventory is audience-traded through 9Galaxy.

A core component of 9Galaxy is Imagine Communications’ GamePlan, a cloud-based and fully modular booking optimizer that integrates easily into multivendor environments through open APIs.

GamePlan enables Nine to accommodate ratings predictions changes throughout the life of a campaign. When changes occur, a spot previously placed for a specific demographic may no longer be the most effective placement. In this case, the placement is canceled, with campaign targets adjusted and fed back into the optimizer.

Nine also uses the RightSizer capability in GamePlan to address campaigns that are overdelivering on ratings targets by a certain percentage. The least efficient campaign spots are canceled until the campaign delivery is reduced to within the desired percentage range.

portrait of Stephen Kyefulumya
“Imagine’s GamePlan offers the most advanced inventory optimization capabilities and a proven ability to deliver on our evolving roadmap at our desired pace to fulfill our 2020 vision of making all inventory available for advertisers and brands in an automated way that delivers supreme value and reach.”
Stephen Kyefulumya, Group Director, Commercial Products, Data & Business Solutions, 9Technology

Business Value

While many broadcasters want to move to impression-based ad models to more strategically optimize their inventory, most markets are built so heavily around “the spot” that it’s not as easy as flipping a switch. The latest update of GamePlan blends spot- and audience-based campaigns, enabling media companies to gradually ease brands toward impression-based buying.

With GamePlan, Nine was able to add audience-based optimization capability alongside their in-house traffic system without a back-office rip and replace. Using GamePlan as the engine for automated ad placement in 9Galaxy, Nine is now optimizing ad sales across five major channels and five major markets and moving toward a platform-agnostic future.

Nine has deployed a system that dynamically adjusts to changing conditions, ensuring all opportunities are monetized without over-delivery. Campaigns are managed every night to be sure they are on track to deliver results for the advertiser, and even last-minute campaigns can be planned simply, accurately and effectively.
By moving away from spot-based sales, Nine is helping media agencies remove 80% of the workload associated with trading TV. Their groundbreaking solution has enabled Nine to monetize their audience no matter how viewers are consuming content, relieve the transactional burden of cross-platform trading, and give advertisers renewed confidence in their investment in television.
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