A Review of Seven's 2022 Upfront

  • Date 19th October 2021
  • Author Sue Cant
A Review of Seven's 2022 Upfront

Key take outs: 

  • A stellar sporting line up for 2022 which now includes the Commonwealth Games commencing in July
  • Reinventions and returns of some older formats including My Kitchen Rules (MKR), Dancing With The Stars (DWTS) and Australian Idol 
  • A strong ecommerce focus with the launch of the very first ‘click-to-buy’ service of its kind here in Australia with 7Shop, supported with a loyalty and product offer platform 7Rewards – both available via 7Plus 

The Seven upfronts started, like all good upfronts, with a beautiful video entitled ‘Moments That Move Us.’ Emotional snippets from Farmer wants a Wife, the Tokyo Olympics, The Voice, SAS Australia and the AFL played, leaving everyone warm, fuzzy and excited to see what is in store for 2022. 
CEO & MD James Warburton told us Seven had kept their promises made back in the 2021 upfronts to continue to grow and deliver bigger and better results. And this is continuing into 2022 with $30-40m being invested into content and a relentless focus on bringing Aussies closer to the moments that move us. With a dominant slate of tentpoles and a great sport line up, Seven are confident they will be the number one network again next year. 
A big sports bet: Cricket, Footy, Supercars, the Olympics, and the Commonwealth Games 
First thing’s first: Seven’s sporting lineup for 2022 is insane! With a portfolio full of the Cricket, Footy, Supercars, The Beijing Olympics, Horseracing and now the Commonwealth Games starting in July, Seven will be the force to be reckoned with for all sporting enthusiasts. The first Ashes test starts on December 8th as the battle for the Urn commences. And Australia won’t be letting go without a fight – as a Brit and Aussie citizen, I’m keeping quiet on what result I want to see! 
Jessica Mauboy and Guy Sebastian talked to The Voice being the biggest show of 2021: the right show at the right time bringing some much-needed positivity for Aussies as we battled the pandemic. This showed in the numbers. It was the number one show with the highest ratings in six years! Let’s see if they maintain the spot as we come out of the pandemic and start getting outside and away from our screens a little more. Rita Ora also announced an extension to The Voice powerhouse: The Voice Generations, which will be a special event series with two different generations coming together as one act.  
Refresh and Revive: Australian Idol, My Kitchen Rules, Dancing With The Stars 
The rest of the slate was all refresh and revive for old formats, which has historically been a good play for Seven and seems to have worked from an audience point of view. I wonder if we see the from the reinvention of My Kitchen Rules and Australian Idol, both returning after long breaks.   
For over a decade, My Kitchen Rules was the number one show on TV, and it’s coming back for 2022 with a promise of a few new ingredients along the way. My Kitchen Rules isn’t the only icon coming back. Australian Idol, the launchpad for Guy Sebastian and many others, is also on screens again in 2022 after a 13-year break.  
There’s also the return of Dancing With The Stars – absent for three years – with the biggest sequin budget on TV. Seven promised a mix of All Stars and Wildcards, but I’ll just be watching to see Grant Denyer tackle the salsa. Other key tentpoles returning include Farmer Wants a Wife and Australia’s Got Talent. 
But is the audience pool big enough to see new viewers tuning in who have perhaps not seen these programs before? Or will Seven be only pulling on the heartstrings of nostalgia? 
New reality, drama, and entertainment: Apartment Rules, Showtrial, and the Grammy’s 
All new Apartment Rules is being redesigned and rebuilt and will be shoppable for the first time. It does feel a bit too similar a format to The Block, but no doubt Seven will be hoping it delivers as many numbers for them as The Block did for Nine. 
From a drama perspective, the standouts for me were the UK-produced Showtrial, all-new Crime Investigation Australia (the first new investigations in a decade), and Code 1: Minute by Minute (world events seen up close from the perspective of first responders).   
The new kid on the block for entertainment is The Grammy’s that move to Seven in 2022. It joins The Academy Awards, which returns again next year. And of course, there was the usual hero-ing of Home & Away, smashing numbers and continuing to defy all TV audience trends.   
There was a lot of focus on 7Plus, which is unsurprising with the power that it holds. It now has a whopping 10 million registered users, 3 million of them from the Tokyo Olympics in 2020. Seven are hopeful that we will all show the same support for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics and Paralympics. 
New media offerings: 7Shop and 7Rewards 
The final announcement was of the next stage of connecting viewers and brands with 7Shop and 7Rewards.  
7Shop is the very first service of its kind here in Australia, allowing consumers to instantly buy on-screen products that they see while streaming their favourite programs on 7plus. It uses AI and content recognition to identify and tag products in Seven’s most popular programs, allowing consumers to shop for the products they see on screen, be it an Apple iPad featured in The Voice, a swimsuit on Home & Away, or a car driven in Farmer Wants a Wife. 
The other addition to increase engagement with 7Plus is 7Rewards. Seven have partnered with The Entertainment Group (a leader in tech-enabled direct-to-member loyalty platforms and famous for the much-loved Entertainment Book) to bring a new rewards program to viewers. It provides personalised offers that can be redeemed on the spot or saved for later use. Using the data and insights from 7REDiQ, 7Rewards will create unique, customised ad experiences that connect brands to audience, and will also allow marketers to track the end-to-end customer journey and attribution as it happens.  
Seven are positive that the above are both game changers, but I think viewer engagement will need to be the true proof point.  I would still be mindful of the distraction, interruption, and potential intrusiveness that some viewers may feel these two new offerings bring with them. 
From a media trading perspective, Code7 is now VOZ ready across broadcast and BVOD.  And Seven are further evolving the Code7 platform by investing over $40m in the next two years to create what they have positioned as ‘a state of the art, fully integrated CRM and Digital broadcast media trading platform’.  
With strong momentum across data and tech, innovation, ecommerce, and trading technology, it certainly looks to be a strong 2022 for Seven. 
Watch this space for the next instalment; 10 ViacomCBS Upfront on 20th October. 
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