INNOVATION STATION: DUKE DELIVERS ON DEBUT
TVNZ’S newest channel is stirring things up with a bold approach to advertising and reaching the hard to reach and tech-savvy audiences.
TVNZ launched its new entertainment channel DUKE in March, but already its latest offering has made a big impact on the Kiwi media landscape. Just eight weeks in from launch, the fully streamed channel had seen more than 1.7 million viewers tune in*, 25,000 fans click ‘like’ on social media and 30 major advertisers line-up to reach its audience made up of the tech savvy and hard-to-reach 18-39 male demographic. But that’s far from likely to be the biggest impact it makes – TVNZ has made no secret of the fact it’s using DUKE to test out some interesting new ways of reaching audiences and delivering content and value to advertisers.
Within its key male demographic, DUKE has already surpassed established channels like SKY Sport 1, Comedy Central, Discovery, Edge TV and The Box, according to Nielsen TAM ratings for 6pm to midnight – DUKE’S core broadcast hours. TVNZ director of content Jeff Latch puts that down in part to the unique mix of entertainment and sports the channel offers, combining scripted entertainment like Scam City and The Indestructibles, favourite comedies like Family Guy and Brooklyn Nine-nine, with a healthy roster of live sports including the NFL and World Rally Championships. “Most channels that are competing against it are either purely sports channels or, alternatively, they’re specific to a genre,” he says.
“I think that DUKE’S mix is unique in the marketplace. In fact, it’s pretty unique globally. I think that’s why it’s doing quite nicely and peak reach is growing quickly. It’s impressive.”
Latch explains DUKE is geared towards attracting the commercially sought-after male audience because free-to-air
channels in New Zealand, and in much of the world, typically skew female. And because DUKE’S viewership is more weighted towards guys – he anticipates viewership will even out at around a 6040 male-female split – it delivers a “really efficient way” for advertisers to buy the attention of male audiences.
Launching DUKE has given TVNZ a valuable proving ground for some of its more experimental ideas around advertising and the way content is delivered to viewers. What sets DUKE apart from the pack is that it is fully live-streamed and broadcast on air at the same time. For audiences, it’s about meeting their desire to watch content on whatever device is handy – television, smartphone, Playstation, laptop or tablet. “For us as a business, ultimately it’s less about which channels the audience uses to access and interact with our content,” says commercial director Jeremy O’brien, “and just making sure we get out content in front of audiences where, when and how they want to watch it.”
But one of the things that makes the simultaneous online and on air broadcast really interesting is the way TVNZ is using it to test out a total video audience measurement. Audience measurement is a shifting science that has been struggling to keep up with fragmenting media platforms, and using CPM – cost per 1000 impressions – is one way to bridge that gap. O’brien explains that every time DUKE is streamed, a time-stamp feeds back to TVNZ’S servers at 10-second intervals to let them know the stream is still active. By matching the time-stamps with Nielsen ratings, TVNZ can measure the total audience. “Put those two together and you have your first kind of hybrid of a fused audience measure,” he says.
“We think a unified currency and measurement makes it a whole lot simpler for the advertiser to compare and contrast value between mediums.”
Another difference in DUKE is the lighter advertising load – around a quarter of what you’d find on other TVNZ channels. But DUKE doesn’t
limit advertisers to traditional 15, 30 or 45-second spots and O’brien says there’s plenty of opportunity to explore longer-form content-led creative within that space. “We think this platform provides a range of flexibility that we can’t provide across our broadcast channels,” O’brien says. “By virtue of the fact that they are broadcast they have to appeal to a wide audience – and because of the demand in and around those channels, those ad breaks are much more tightly controlled. But there’s a lot more freedom within an environment like DUKE.”
In that sense, DUKE is a bit of an experimental lab. Its targeted, digitally engaged audience makes for the perfect pilot environment for these kinds of experiments, allowing TVNZ to test what works well – and when it does, roll that out more widely.
To discuss DUKE advertising opportunities, please contact: Louis Niven, GM Online Sales firstname.lastname@example.org, phone +64 21 366 333
Clockwise from top left: NBA, The Late Late Show with James Corden, The Indestructibles