Despite The Edge radio’s success, trouble was brewing last year as the market for listeners continued to fragment with new platforms entering the market. The Edge faced new competitors in radio, online music streaming, mobile apps and other media.
This painted a grim picture for The Edge, and shareholders, still jumpy from its parent company’s receivership and restructure, were nervous. Advertisers told The Edge that radio, for the most part, served the same purpose as other media properties: as a vehicle to reach the right people. And the opportunity for growth (and the best form of defence) was to develop new content and formats for multiple platforms.
Local competitors were moving beyond historic platforms to new integrated, multi-platform offerings – Spark’s Lightbox is a prime example. But the Edge knew it wasn’t good enough to simply show up on different platforms. Its content, sometimes branded, had to truly entertain, attract and grow audiences to deliver more value to its advertisers. The challenge required new investment in people, content and digital publishing, and greater audience reach.
It also knew it couldn’t accommodate sustained demand for advertising on The Edge radio. It figured its core advertisers, big consumer brands, were a natural fit for TV. So the opportunity to develop a coherent platform offering that connected its advertisers with its audience, no matter where and how they were listening and watching was there for the taking. So it decided to create a multi-platform offering, the most effective way to reach a wider audience for itself and its advertisers.
The result was The Edge TV, a new channel that replaced C4 and included music videos, live music and pre-produced music shows synching across all the main media platforms.
For the first stage of its rollout, it promoted the launch of The Edge TV on The Edge radio and through on-street, social media and online activations, along with a comprehensive trade campaign and launch party with over 300 guests.
After its launch, it rolled out integrated advertising solutions that spanned over all three platforms (radio, TV and online) and introduced interactive social media features and streaming to mobiles and tablets. It ran TVC spots and packages on The Edge TV, which spanned both radio and online advertising. It repacked sponsorships and promotions to work across The Edge TV, radio and its digital assets. It also targeted two new groups of potential advertisers: small budget clients who were looking for cost-effective ways to reach its audience and TV advertisers who wanted to advertise through radio to reach a bigger audience.
It established a new studio and exclusive content (artist interviews, stunts, live and pre-recorded shows). It also introduced New Zealand’s first ever social media music programme, where viewers took total control of the music played and interacted through text, Twitter and Facebook.
The Edge is now a fully converged media platform, which delivers an easy and accessible experience for viewers/listeners and advertisers. The Edge’s latest industry figures show healthy gains for both radio, TV and online audiences, with listeners increasing by 8.6 percent to 465,300 and weekly website page views increasing 46 percent to 266,086.
The Edge TV immediately increased its audience by more than 40 percent, reaching 1.2 million viewers in its first month as well as opening the door to unique cross-media opportunities through radio, web, personal interaction (street and events), and TV, raising its advertising sales by 10.9 percent ($2 million).
The Edge learnt that nothing in business is ever finished. And for the brand to retain its value, it needs to continue following its audience.
“This initiative moved New Zealand media forward by being the first to take the obvious path to extend the brand from radio and digital into television - changing The Edge from a channel brand to an audience brand. They also overcame internal channels in terms of scepticism and changing traditional sales structure.”
iSite Media (Panels To People); TVNZ (Our First Home)