From the outset of the announcement that the Paul Henry Show would run concurrently across TV and radio, MediaWorks made clear its intention to drive its audience share in the morning slots, which have until now been dominated by NZME on the radio side and TVNZ on TV.
One of the most intriguing ratings battles that this has brought lies in the fact that Paul Henry, whose show is being broadcast on RadioLive and TV3, will be going head-to-head with Newstalk ZB's Mike Hosking.
In the most recent radio survey results, released in October last year, Newstalk ZB was one of the strongest performers for NZME, particularly in Hosking's slot. And given the strength of Hosking's ratings, NZME's general manager of talk Dallas Gurney singled out the host as a star performer whose cross-channel prowess was integral to the future of radio.
“We’re not just about a transmitter in the field," he said at the time. "Someone like Hosking is on radio, he’s on TV and he’s also a regular columnist on the Herald.”
Now, with the arrival of Henry in the morning slot, MediaWorks has essentially confirmed that it will not be giving NZME or Hosking a free ride with the morning slot.
But NZME isn't simply sitting back and spectating the arrival of Henry. For the first time in ten years, Newstalk ZB has released a TVC, which is somewhat unsurprisingly voiced-over by Hosking.
The ad was released over Easter Weekend and draws attention to the history of Newstalk ZB as a reliable news source that has been around for generations.
Over the course of the ad's 60 seconds, a series of news-related scenes play out while a sombre Hosking provides something of an ode to consistency of Newstalk ZB in reporting the news:
"There's a conversation going on. It's a conversation that will never end. Newstalk ZB is right at the centre of it all, where we've always been, connecting you to what really matters. To the issues you care about. To the debates you want to be a part of. We keep pushing, asking the hard questions, seeking clarity and, ultimately, resolution. We never sleep, because your conversations never do. So, if you want to be in the know, join us in the now."
Gurney says the advertisement is reflective of the station's positioning.
“We have a world-class line up of talent on Newstalk ZB," the talk general manager says. "In addition to being entertaining, Newstalk ZB is thought provoking and challenging. This ad reflects what the brand is and I'm very happy with how the advert has come together."
Gurney adds: “It has been some time since we have produced an advert but with a series of changes announced last year and our world-class lineup of talent, the timing seemed right. The Newstalk ZB listener is discerning and interested in hard-hitting news as and when it happens, consequently the TVC will air on TV One, Sky TV and across our extensive NZME assets as well as pre-roll on our own content."
Hosking is of course no stranger to ratings battles. In late 2013, he stepped onto the panel of a struggling Seven Sharp and has since steered the show to solid ratings in a time slot also occupied by MediaWorks' John Campbell.
Campbell is however very different to Henry, and it will be interesting to see how Hosking performs against his new competitor. The early result of this battle will only be revealed when the NZME-funded radio survey is released in May (and then again when the official industry-backed survey is released in October).
In the interim, TVNZ and MediaWorks will no doubt be keeping an eye on Nielsen's daily TV ratings, the first of which are set to be released on Wednesday morning.
Credits for campaign:
Executive Creative Director: Tracey Fox
Senior Copywriter: Graham Stride
Marketing Brand Manager: Anna Kemp
Newstalk ZB Content Director: Dallas Gurney
Production Company: Satellite Media
Producer: Sarah Kinniburgh
Director: Adam King
DOP: Jake Bryant