A CHANG­ING CHAN­NEL

De­spite dig­i­tal ad spend con­tin­u­ing its lead over tele­vi­sion, the medium is still very ef­fec­tive when used well.

New Zealand Marketing - - Adestra -

The first ever tele­vi­sion ad cost a whop­ping $9. It was for Bulova watches and was broad­cast in 1942 dur­ing a base­ball game be­tween Philadel­phia and Brook­lyn.

And no doubt, re­turn on in­vest­ment at an event of that scale wasn’t too shabby ei­ther.

Now, the cost of a tele­vi­sion ad is gen­er­ally in the thou­sands, given the pro­duc­tion costs in­volved.

And while at one time, this ex­pen­di­ture was more than jus­ti­fied con­sid­er­ing TV had most house­holds’ un­di­vided at­ten­tion, view­ers have since dwin­dled as au­di­ences have scat­tered their at­ten­tion over dif­fer­ent en­ter­tain­ment plat­forms.

So, nat­u­rally ad­ver­tis­ers have re­sponded to this, shift­ing much of their ad spend over to dig­i­tal plat­forms.

But, that’s not to say TV should be dis­counted. De­spite the dom­i­nance of dig­i­tal over TV in terms of ad spend, TV still makes up a large slice of the ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enue pie.

Ac­cord­ing to the Ad­ver­tis­ing Stan­dards Au­thor­ity’s (ASA) 2017 New Zealand Ad Rev­enue Re­port, broad­cast tele­vi­sion brought in $566 mil­lion, with an ad­di­tional $25 mil­lion from dig­i­tal TV rev­enue (in­clud­ing on­line stream­ing plat­forms).

This means broad­cast TV rev­enue has risen from the 20152016 results, where it brought in $580 mil­lion (in­clud­ing dig­i­tal TV rev­enue). And while the growth isn’t huge, it’s still sig­nif­i­cant in a fierce and clut­tered me­dia cli­mate.

To com­pare with its main com­peti­tor, dig­i­tal, dig­i­tal-only chan­nels brought in $785 mil­lion, but in­clud­ing dig­i­tal ex­ten­sions of other me­dia (like ra­dio, news­pa­pers, TV), dig­i­tal reached a record $923 mil­lion in rev­enue, up from $891 mil­lion in the pre­vi­ous results.

TVNZ com­mer­cial di­rec­tor Paul Ma­her says smart mar­keters un­der­stand TV’S power and are mov­ing spend back to tele­vi­sion.

“Some lost their way for a while but we’re see­ing them re­turn to the fold. Global mar­ket­ing lead­ers Proc­ter & Gam­ble and Unilever over the past 12 to 18 months have moved money back to TV, recog­nis­ing the im­por­tance of scale and mass reach to build brands and the equal im­por­tance of brand safety.”

Stronger to­gether

In re­sponse to the swift rise in dig­i­tal, New Zealand TV broad­cast­ers have been work­ing to­gether to cham­pion the in­dus­try and show ad­ver­tis­ers that there are still plenty of rea­sons to in­vest in tele­vi­sion.

This is best ex­em­pli­fied with the launch of Thinktv by TVNZ, Me­di­a­works and Sky TV, who are us­ing it as a col­lec­tive voice for the in­dus­try to cel­e­brate the scale and ef­fec­tive­ness of the medium.

Thinktv’s web­site works as its hub, fea­tur­ing a range of in­sights about TV in­clud­ing who’s watch­ing it, which plat­forms it’s be­ing watched on and what de­vices peo­ple are us­ing to watch it, among other in­sights.

An an­nual ‘fact pack’ on Think TV’S web­site (us­ing data from Nielsen), pur­ports that in a week New Zealan­ders (five-plus) spend an av­er­age of five hours and 44 min­utes watch­ing TV/ video con­tent on­line across all de­vices, com­pared to 18 hours and 12 min­utes of tra­di­tional broad­cast TV.

It also states 2.5 mil­lion New Zealan­ders (five-plus) watch broad­cast TV per day, which amounts to 57 per­cent of the pop­u­la­tion.

So, it’s fair to say there’s still an enor­mous amount of New Zealan­ders watch­ing tele­vi­sion.

The sim­pler the bet­ter

Me­di­a­works chief cus­tomer of­fi­cer and Thinktv chair­per­son Glen Kyne says the ben­e­fit of hav­ing this re­search in the lo­cal mar­ket is that it is help­ing to ed­u­cate and in­form ad­ver­tis­ers.

“Be­fore Thinktv was in ex­is­tence, we were ex­posed to the self-serv­ing mes­sag­ing pro­vided by the dig­i­tal dis­rupters and there is no ques­tion there was a large in­vest­ment into dig­i­tal and this came at the ex­pense of many plat­forms in­clud­ing tele­vi­sion,” he says.

But he says broad­cast­ers are now in a po­si­tion to counter this. “[And] to en­sure that TV, across its many dis­tri­bu­tion points, in­clud­ing dig­i­tal, con­tin­ues to de­liver un­par­al­leled ef­fec­tive­ness for ad­ver­tis­ers, and con­tin­ues to grow its share of ad­ver­tis­ing rev­enues.”

Ma­her agrees, say­ing too many ad­ver­tis­ers are un­aware of the per­for­mance facts around TV.

“Too often the weight of mar­ket mes­sag­ing sits around the death of TV, the facts are that TV is still un­matched in terms of reach, un­matched in terms of ef­fi­ciency and

em­pir­i­cal ev­i­dence sup­ports the fact that TV re­mains un­matched in de­liv­er­ing re­call and sales re­turns.”

Think TV has in­vested in re­search to val­i­date its claims, and Kyne says stud­ies con­ducted by mar­ket­ing an­a­lyt­ics re­searcher Ebiq­uity, TV de­liv­ers the great­est re­turn.

“Ebiq­uity worked with real ad­ver­tis­ers across dif­fer­ing cat­e­gories, sales data and me­dia plans to prove that for ev­ery $1 spent on me­dia, TV de­liv­ers the great­est re­turn.”

Stream­ing tears

It’d be im­pos­si­ble to write about tele­vi­sion with­out men­tion­ing the ele­phant in the room, you guessed it, SVODS.

Nielsen’s most re­cent Con­nected Con­sumer Re­port tells us 1.2 mil­lion New Zealan­ders have ac­cess to a Net­flix sub­scrip­tion, equat­ing to ap­prox­i­mately 434,000 house­holds across the coun­try.

This is sig­nif­i­cant, as af­ter its launch in De­cem­ber 2015 only 684,000 New Zealan­ders had the ser­vice, so it’s al­most dou­bled its reach.

It’s big­gest sub­scrip­tion SVOD com­peti­tor, Light­box now reaches 810,000 New Zealan­ders, ac­cord­ing to its an­nual re­port.

But, the ma­jor broad­cast­ers in New Zealand also have their own on­line stream­ing plat­forms. TVNZ On­de­mand has 1.8 mil­lion sub­scribers, and Sky TV has around 824,782 ac­cord­ing to its 2017 an­nual re­port (though down 27,897 from the year pre­vi­ous).

And though no sub­scriber num­bers were avail­able for Three­now, Kyne says it's ex­pe­ri­enced strong growth.

“18-24 months ago, across Three­now we ex­pe­ri­enced strong au­di­ence growth and we had about five per­cent of our au­di­ence live-stream­ing our con­tent across a myr­iad of de­vices,” he says. “Fast-for­ward to to­day and that num­ber has grown to roughly 30 per­cent of our au­di­ence live stream­ing.”

Ma­her says Net­flix is a com­peti­tor in terms of view­ing, but is not in terms of ad­ver­tis­ing.

“For us, and for other New Zealand pub­lish­ers, the key com­pe­ti­tion at a plat­form level is Youtube and Face­book.”

He says this is why it’s im­por­tant for the ma­jor lo­cal play­ers to come to­gether to en­sure that facts of TV’S ef­fi­cacy, brand safety and viewa­bil­ity are pro­moted in the mar­ket.

“TV’S per­for­mance in these ar­eas is sig­nif­i­cantly greater than Youtube and Face­book. We’re able to work closely with lo­cal ad­ver­tis­ers to cre­ate op­por­tu­ni­ties that tell their sto­ries that hit the mark with view­ers.”

You can’t beat a good story

On this note of sto­ries, there’s been talk in the in­dus­try that brands are re­turn­ing to great sto­ry­telling through TVCS.

Lotto is one brand that has fo­cussed sto­ry­telling in its ads for a while now, a stand-out ex­am­ple of this is its long-run­ning ‘Imag­ine’ cam­paign, in­clud­ing ads like ‘Pop’s Gift’ and ‘Mum’s Wish’ by DDB and The Sweet Shop, and most re­cently ‘Ar­moured Truck’, a story about friend­ship by DDB.

Lotto’s chief mar­ket­ing of­fi­cer Guy Cousins told Stop­press he be­lieves its brand ob­jec­tive will be achieved by telling sto­ries that view­ers love.

“We’ve told some great sto­ries in the past…and it was clear that we had to go back to great sto­ry­telling. It’s too easy to bom­bard peo­ple with mes­sag­ing, but these days peo­ple have the op­tion to just screen out. So it’s ac­tu­ally more in­cum­bent on us to tell fan­tas­tic sto­ries.”

DDB chief cre­ative of­fi­cer Da­mon Sta­ple­ton says the idea brands are re­turn­ing to TVCS de­pends on who you ask.

“I would say that there there’s a lot of peo­ple that are too wor­ried about the pic­ture frames in­stead of the pic­ture,” he says. “What ever­body is ob­sessed about is be­ing ev­ery­where and con­nect­ing in a mil­lion dif­fer­ent ways but peo­ple aren’t look­ing at the prod­uct.”

He says the rea­son he thinks Lotto ads cut through, is that they’re a fair trade off for the con­sumers’ time.

“If you see a few thou­sand mes­sages per day they won’t watch it just be­cause it’s there. you have to make things peo­ple are go­ing to con­nect with. Whether that’s through TV or other chan­nels, that’s ir­rel­e­vant.”

Hunch man­ag­ing part­ner Michael Goldthorpe agrees with Sta­ple­ton, in that the re­turn to sto­ry­telling through TVCS is hard to mea­sure.

“It's hard to quan­tify in an in­dus­try awash with opin­ions and con­flict­ing met­rics. But that’s cer­tainly my per­cep­tion – and my hope. Ad­ver­tis­ing is about ce­ment­ing mes­sages into mem­ory to drive brand pref­er­ence and ul­ti­mately sales. Noth­ing ce­ments me­mories like a good story, well told.”

Ru­fus Chuter, for­mer man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of FCB Me­dia, says me­dia chan­nel se­lec­tion should al­ways be based on the spe­cific au­di­ence and busi­ness ob­jec­tives.

“It isn’t a case of hav­ing ‘first choice’ me­dia,” he says. “What’s clear is that TV re­mains a hugely valu­able plat­form for de­liv­er­ing emo­tive con­tent with the scale, im­pact and ef­fec­tive fre­quency re­quired to cre­ate mean­ing­ful busi­ness im­pact.”

While tele­vi­sion au­di­ences have dropped off, there’s still a huge amount of New Zealan­ders watch­ing TV each day and it re­mains an ef­fec­tive medium for vis­ual sto­ry­telling.

Its po­si­tion­ing is summed up quite well in a quote from Steve Jobs from the early 2000s, who said:

“The most cor­ro­sive piece of tech­nol­ogy that I’ve ever seen is called tele­vi­sion – but then, again, tele­vi­sion, at its best, is mag­nif­i­cent.”

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