Seven to expand digital offering for Australian Open tennis

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Australian Open Tennis 2017 Live Stream Seven Network will launch a paid digital service for its coverage of next year’s Australian Open, as the free-to-air television broadcaster locks in major sponsorship deals for the grand slam tennis tournament.

The 7Tennis app will live stream 619 matches across the summer, which includes the Australian Open, Hopman Cup, Fast 4 and Sydney International, for mobile and online.

The 7Tennis paid or “freemium” option will offer live streams in HD, on-demand replays of selected matches, and less advertising for a one-off $9.99 fee.“This has all been in response to consumer feedback,” Seven chief digital officer Clive Dickens told The Australian.

“We in the content industry have got to do a better job of listening to our consumers and that’s what we’re doing.”Seven has signed on major sponsors including ANZ, Blackmores, Kia, Bunnings APT and Industry Super Funds, with the top-tier packages believed to be worth $2 million-plus.

Broadcast television will still account for about 90 per cent of the revenue, and 95 per cent of the audience, from Seven’s Australian Open coverage.

It will be Seven’s third year of televising across all platforms for the tournament and the network also gained experience from its coverage of the Rio Olympic Games in August.

Seven chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette said the network’s experience with Rio and previous Australian Open tournaments had provided proof of the effectiveness of its multi-platform advertising offering.One lesson from those previous events had been that advertising messages should be tailored to different screens, Mr Burnette said. “Creative needs to change depending on what screen it’s on and depending on the style of the creative,” he added.

“If it’s brand-led, that can generally have a longer life across screens. If there’s a specific message it needs to change based on the screen size.”

ASTRA, the industry body representing subscription TV platform Foxtel, was critical when it emerged Seven would offer a paid service for its Rio coverage.

ASTRA chief executive Andrew Maiden said in June that Seven’s plans for the paid service highlighted the “absurdity” of anti-siphoning regulation that ring-fenced premium sport for free-to-air networks at the expense of Foxtel, owned by The Australian’s publisher News Corporation and Telstra.

Mr Dickens said that all tennis matches broadcast by Seven would be available for free, and the paid component simply offered consumers extra features.

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