MediaWorks head of marketing Katie Mills, a 15-year veteran of the company, has called the Newshub launch the biggest in MediaWorks history.
Kicking off last night to coincide with launch of the Newshub app and first television broadcast of the revamped 6pm bulletin, the campaign is running across the full remit of the media company’s available channels as well as external, digital and outdoor locations (the use of digital outdoor will see the campaign creative updated with the latest news stories).
“We want our audience and customers to experience the accessibility of Newshub across our platforms and to demonstrate the coverage of this country’s largest multimedia company to deliver all of the stories,” says Mills.
This objective is clearly evident in a series of four TVCs, which draw attention to the sports, health, local and global coverage set to be facilitated through the revamped service.
There’s a slick, almost international feel about the creative, and it certainly gives a nod to the approach employed by the BBC, which served as one of the inspirations behind the formation of Newshub.
The spots were developed in-house by the MediaWorks creative team under the creative direction of Anthony Farac, who isn’t ashamed to admit it was an intimidating project to take on.
“When Katie first mentioned the scope of Newshub and what they were hoping to achieve, I thought, 'this is a monster', a pretty complex monster with massive potential,” he says.
“Simplifying the idea/experience was key. Clean, simple, smart design with bold colours and icons that sat easily across all platforms was integral to creating an easy space for a broad audience to navigate. Hopefully we nailed it.”
Farac isn’t alone in hoping the campaign resonates with viewers and encourages them to tune in to the news service.
Journalists at the media company had a tough 2015, which included the departure of John Campbell, the cancellation of 3D and a consistent stream of media reports on how MediaWorks wasn’t interested in journalism or current affairs shows.
Now, with a massive investment in the flash new studio and new brand, MediaWorks is betting big on turning this perception around, not only among viewers but also staff members.
“The team are invigorated and excited by the launch of a fresh, innovative news brand that gives you the news you want, when you want it,” says Mills. “The road to this campaign launch has been a hell of a ride but without fail, the eye is on the prize and that includes making sure we have an approach and commitment to a news service that is dynamic, accessible and something our audience will enjoy because it has been absolutely developed with them in mind.”
At the end of last year, 3News (the precursor to Newshub) was losing touch with this audience and pulled in only 71,400 viewers aged 25-54—over 100,000 below the 183,400 who tuned in to watch OneNews.
From a commercial perspective, the evening news plays an important role in terms of pulling viewers in and keeping them tuned into a specific channel. So, in addition to serving as an important advertising timeslot, it can also have an impact on which channel viewers choose to watch later in the evening.
But pulling viewers away from OneNews will require MediaWorks to offer something very different.
Until now, the pair of news shows have looked and felt much the same with a pair of hosts reading the day’s top stories—largely a summary of what was covered online—from a teleprompter. However, Mills says the aim is to introduce something new and more engaging with Newshub.
“It’s a completely different manifestation of news for MediaWorks and for New Zealand, representing the integration of our television, radio and our digital services – all in one Newshub,” she says.
“Newshub Live at 6pm and Newshub Late are just two of the features of our Newshub service. Because this service is driven out of one Newshub, the app will be a key feature on keeping Kiwis updated outside our television bulletins.”
The app will, throughout the day, keep Kiwis updated on the news stories being broken, and this could (provided that enough users download the app) drive traffic to TV3 in the evening.
“Our news audience demand that we are first, fast and accessible, and that we get inside the headline to the heart of the news,” says Mills.
“I think this will be most apparent when we experience the next breaking news event and Newshub’s reach across the app, digital, radio and the 6pm bulletin will provide the most comprehensive delivery of news this country has ever seen.”
Whether it’s a case of viewer curiosity or genuine interest in the news programme, Newshub enjoyed a very strong launch.
“485,600 (5+ cume) Kiwis tuned in to the first Newshub Live at 6pm bulletin, a 25.6 percent increase on the average daily February 2015 cumulative audience,” says MediaWorks communications manager Amy Prebble.
“The bulletin secured a 6.8 rating and a 26 share. Outside of Auckland, Newshub Live at 6pm experienced a 31 percent increase in 25-54 (cume) audience, and a 40 percent increase among Auckland viewers (25 – 54 cume), compared to the February 2015 daily average.”
And as further evidence of how important the 6pm news bulletin is to later shows, MediaWorks was able to parlay this audience into current affairs show Story.
“For the first time, Story beat Seven Sharp in 25-54, securing a 5.7 rating and 16.3 share, versus a 5.3 rating and 15.4 share.”
This uptick was also seen online, with visitors to the site growing 32 percent and video streams increasing by 48 percent compared to Auckland Anniversary Day last year.
While promising, these stats provide little beyond evidence of a good launch—something that can quickly be forgotten if the numbers aren't maintained. So, for now, the onus really rests on MediaWorks and its consolidated team of journalists to build from this good base and deliver on the promise of offering something that the nation’s many other news services don’t provide.
Creative credits list:
Head of Marketing: Katie Mills
Creative Director: Anthony Farac
Art Director: Andrew Bunyan
Art Director: Juita Tambunan
Marketing Manager: Will Seal
Marketing Assistant: Kieran Jull
DOP/Camera Op: Ado Gershaw & Matt Hunt
Drone Operators: Reel Factory