As brands aim to ensure consumers' see their ads on TV rather than take the time to make a cup of tea, go to the toilet, check their phones or push fast forward, they're inserting themselves into TV shows and creating new content platforms. And that means integration is becoming increasingly important—and adding more to the coffers of the world's broadcasters. But it's a fairly new development and it's a rapidly evolving sphere, so TVNZ has kicked off a restructure of its Media Solutions and Insights team "in order to deliver better solutions to clients".
A source from inside TVNZ informed StopPress that there were big ructions and a few sad faces inside the division because staff had been asked to reapply for their jobs. But TVNZ said it's a positive move and there will be no reduction in headcount.
"We’re making some changes to the way we organise and resource our Media Solutions and Insights team in order to deliver better solutions to clients. There will be no reduction in the number of people working in the team but broadly speaking, roles will be more senior and more specialised. Some people will need to apply for the new positions but a number of roles will stay much the same and in those cases we’ll be able to confirm people straight away – they won’t have to go through an application process. We’re keen to hold on to talented people within the business. We’re still working through this process so it’s too early to say whether it will result in any redundancies."
The source said the restructure was potentially linked to some operational issues in the department, but TVNZ says that's not the case and says the changes have been driven by client demands and the arrival of new staff (in addition to relatively new general manager Lyndsey Francis, who arrived from Total Media, Jonathan Symons was appointed general manager, data and insights; Lynley Kirk-Smith was appointed head of marketing; and Yael Milbank took on the general manager of digital sales role).
"The new senior sales staffers we’ve brought on board have given us a fresh perspective, particularly around what our clients and customers want from us and how we can best respond, and there’s no doubt that has influenced our thinking."
TVNZ said the changes aren't being driven by cost savings, given there's no reduction in headcount. But it is on a mission to make more money for the government, and when asked if there had been departures from other areas of the business, as rumoured, it said: "We need to keep pace with our fast-evolving media world. As a result the way we resource our business is under constant review. We will always look for ways we can work smarter, cut back on costs and better position ourselves for the future. Change is a given".
TVNZ said the Media Solutions and Insights team, which works across sponsorship, production funding (like The Mix, Telecom's 'Tech in a Sec' and Mitre 10's 'Easy As') and programme funding (like Purina Pound Pups to Dog Stars), continues to be a strong growth area for the business and "it presents a huge commercial opportunity for us as it's in hot demand with Kiwi advertisers and agencies".
It didn't specify the contribution it made to TVNZ's total ad revenue, but back in late 2012, head of sales and marketing Jeremy O'Brien, who was head of the Media Solutions team prior to taking that role, said it had grown over the past three or four years in terms of revenue and while selling ads still made up the bulk of TVNZ's revenue, he was very keen for this kind of activity to increase. As an example, he pointed to SMG Red from Seven Media Group, which made up around seven to nine percent of the network's total revenues. He admitted TVNZ wasn't quite at that level, but he was confident it would make up seven to eight percent of TVNZ's total revenue in the next couple of years (the last financial statement showed total operating revenue of $202 million).