Several weeks ago, Lightbox released research claiming that one in five people were likely to drop their Sky subscription following the Rugby World Cup. From the outset, it seemed Lightbox was having a go at Sky and looking to win subscribers from the paid TV broadcaster. And although Lightbox chief executive Kym Niblock said the emphasis on Sky was simply a by-product of the research, there's no ambiguity in terms of who Lightbox is referring to in its latest TVC.
Featuring a classic television voice-over speaking to comedian Jackie van Beek (who currently stars on TV3's Funny Girls) sitting in her suburban abode, the ad makes a series of clear references to various elements that could be understood to typify a standard subscription TV contract:
"It began at a time when watching TV could cost as much as raising a small child," booms the voice. "Some paid for billions of channels they didn't want and still had to watch ads ... It was a world in which you could only watch TV in one room, or two rooms, but extra charges applied ... Some people were locked in and it was expensive to leave."
The deliberate decision to target Sky could be attributable to the fact that the team at Lightbox sees an opportunity in targeting a demographic that is already comfortable paying for content, but who might be shopping around for something more affordable.
“Moving away from Sky TV to an SVOD provider or to free services such as YouTube means there is $100 or $150 (per month) which can potentially be freed up," Niblock previously told StopPress. "These folk are making decisions on what they think is right for their families.”
But Lightbox's recent advertising doesn't only focus on the affordability of its offering. It also aims to position the service as a form of television—and this was clearly evident in the spot Lightbox released in October.
Niblock says the rationale underpinning this approach is largely because of the insight that consumers simply see video content as TV, regardless of where it is.
"They just talk about TV," she says. "It's all TV to them. As long as it's on a device, it's television. We use the term SVOD just to refer to whether it's free or paid, really. I don't think they see TVNZ television shows as any different to those offered on-demand. And on-demand isn't any different to Lightbox other than having to put your credit details down. They just call it TV."
And in an effort to promote the service to a broader demographic, Lightbox has been running a campaign on Facebook featuring another comedian Brendon Green, who shows his mum what Lightbox is all about.
Comedian Brendon Green explains Lightbox to his mum
Comedian and sweetiepie Brendon Green does his Mum a solid and helps her sign up for "Lightbox", whatever that is. Learn more: http://bit.ly/1OZNcF8Posted by Lightbox on Thursday, October 29, 2015
Brendon Green shows his mum all the ways to watch Lightbox
Did you know Lightbox is available on Dougals and p sticks? Learn more: http://bit.ly/1l6LVzIPosted by Lightbox on Friday, November 6, 2015
On the topic of semantics, Niblock also says it's necessary for those in the SVOD industry to present so-called binge-viewing in a more positive light.
"I think there's a big debate to be had around what binge-viewing actually means," she says. "Binge-viewing almost has a bit of a negative connotation, because bingeing on anything is bad because it implies a lack of control. But actually what we're talking about is an experience akin to reading a good book. Nobody thinks it's bad if you sit down and read a book from cover to cover. So how is it different if you sit down and watch two or three episodes of your favourite show. Clearly, if you're going to watch 20 episodes of something on the go that's probably not a good thing, but we need to start thinking about how we relay the fact that binge-watching isn't necessarily a bad thing. The language around it is probably something we need to start finessing and thinking through a little bit."
Last week, when the phrase binge-watch was declare word of the year by Collins Dictionary, Lightbox celebrated the word by sending out a release in which Niblock spoke about how on-demand TV services had empowered viewers.
"What binge-watching starkly reveals is that the traditional TV model has changed," Niblock said. "Consumers are increasingly empowered and expect the products and services they consume delivered on their own terms, to their own schedules and to the devices they choose.”
According to the Ericsson Costumer Lab report, 87 percent of viewers across the globe binge-watch (defined as watching more than one episode of the same show) once a week, a further 60 per cent of SVOD subscribers binge watch at least once a day and 93 percent binge view at least once a fortnight.
List of shows Lightbox subscribers are most likely to binge-watch:
2. Breaking Bad
4. Mr Robot