Nine’s head of content production predicts the upcoming 2019 season of Married at First Sight will again be a true cross-platform juggernaut that will see its audience lift from the strong lead-in provided by the Australian Open in January.
Speaking about the launch of Nine’s 2019 content slate, Adrian Swift, Nine’s Head of Content Production and Development, pointed to the fact that Married at First Sight is the “water cooler” show that dominates the national conversation at the start of every year.
“2018 was by far our biggest season of Married a First Sight and I don’t think we quite saw how big it was going to be,” said Swift. “There’s always that moment that you walk into the supermarket and every single magazine has Married at First Sight on the cover.
“You can’t plan that, but when it happens it’s a wonderful thing.”
Swift noted that in 2018 the show was a juggernaut, averaging 1.7 million overnight viewers, but when time-shifted and 9Now viewers were included this grew to 2.4 million per episode, making it the biggest reality franchise of 2018.
“Last year was by far our biggest season and we hope the next season will be even bigger and better,” said Swift.
“I think what makes Married at First Sight such a ‘water cooler’ is that although the cameras are there, the show is real. Our experts spend a lot of time matching people who genuinely want to meet a partner. Most of the people who approach us have tried dating apps, they have met people at parties and tried all other types of dating, but they believe our experts can find the right person for them.
“What is at the core of the show, and what people really love about it, is that it’s real.”
The senior Nine executive also noted that for two years running, Married at First Sight has consistently been the biggest TV show in the digital video space, broadcast video on demand (BVOD).
“Married at First Sight is the biggest show in digital video on 9Now and in short form. The number of people making other programs around the show made Married at First Sight much bigger than it actually was.
“As a piece of digital content it was massive, as a piece of television content it was massive, and it was probably equally big in both environments. What we love is that as well as the content within the show there was also other content were able to put out, which people engaged with. It wasn’t ancillary content, it was genuinely part of the Married at First Sight experience.”
2019 will be the first year Nine has the Australian Open leading into its annual program slate, and Swift says this will provide a strong platform to grow the audience for the new season.
“The Australian Open is really important because the audience for tennis is much closer to the audience for Married at First Sight, so it’s much more logical,” said Swift.
“We think these audiences will marry up, and the way people experience the show and are tantalised means they will really enjoy it.
“At the core of our show is people who are genuinely in love, and despite the fact that controversy tends to follow loving relationships we think it’s a really safe place for brands. This is telling the story of how young people find love in 2018-19 and the things they bring into a relationship, how they interact – the romantic temperature of Australians today. We think it’s a very safe environment.”
Asked what viewers and advertisers could expect from Married at First Sight in 2019, Swift noted that the show would have some fresh twists and turns.
“In 2019, we have another 10 couples, 20 singles who are putting themselves in the hands of our social experiment. It will be a collection of people from all over Australia and we have a few new twists and turns.
“It will genuinely replicate the experience of spending time with someone. What we do is to try and replicate the first year of a relationship – two people finding each other, discovering each other, and then seeing how their lives together could potentially play out, all in the space of three months.
“I think people will enjoy both the people who are joining the experiment and the form the experiment takes in 2019.”