Discovery has finally revealed the first of its ambitious plans for New Zealand audiences, along with a 70 percent increase in local content, the launch of two new channels and expanded news offering. StopPress spoke with the network’s Glen Kyne ahead of the announcement to find out what this all means for Kiwi advertisers.
2022 will see Discovery deliver the most ambitious programming slate in flagship channel Three’s history. The move comes some 12 months after Discovery bought MediaWorks’ free-to-air television business, and a resulting period of easing in to the local market. Glen Kyne, Senior Vice President and General Manager ANZ, attributing the slow rollout of its market strategy to a “big internal transformation”, including a new ANZ leadership team.
“In the past year we’ve moved from what was previously MediaWorks infrastructure to Discovery infrastructure. And, if you just think about the size of the organisation and the types of systems and infrastructure we use, that’s a really big internal effort. We’ve had a shift in culture and built leadership teams. So, we’ve been working as hard internally on what we look like, and how we present ourselves as we have on the strategy that you’ve seen announced today,” says Kyne.
Discovery’s market strategy will include an investment in local productions that will deliver a 70 percent increase. Viewers can look forward to brand-new programmes including much-loved foodie Nadia Lim taking audiences inside her rural life in the all-new ‘Nadia’s Farm’, a deserving New Zealand town gets a new look in ‘My Town Makeover’ and Kiwi lives will be transformed when they undergo an extreme home decluttering journey in ‘Sort Your Life Out’.
Three will also bring back the much-loved ‘Masterchef NZ’ for the first time in six years. Audiences will see other returning series, including ratings winner ‘TheMasked Singer NZ’ and the long-anticipated ‘Dancing With The Stars NZ’, along with smash-hit ‘Match Fit’, the compelling ‘Patrick Gower: On series’, ‘David Lomas Investigates’ and an all-new ‘7 Days’. DIY show ‘The Block’ will also return for its 10th season when audience favourites from past seasons return for a second chance.
“Content remains at the heart of what we do and it’s exciting to be part of a global creator that itself is growing exponentially around the world. In 2022, viewers can expect our most compelling local production slate ever along with more of Discovery’s great international formats and talent,” says Kyne.
When asked what he feels is currently lacking in the local television market, Kyne says New Zealand is comparatively well served, but that his team has a strategy to focus on what more Discovery can offer. “[This strategy is] to deepen, strengthen, and broaden the amount of local production that we have on a channel like Three. And, with new channels, bring rich genres of new content into New Zealand while creating scale and diversity in our portfolio.”
In March next year, Discovery will launch two new free-to-air TV channels, first Gusto and later Rush.
Gusto will launch as New Zealand’s fourth primary free-to-air channel in March, transforming the former Choice TV, to offer Kiwis ‘A Better Everyday’ with both local and international entertainment content and the latest news from Newshub. Rush will offer viewers high-energy shows across the popular survival and adventure genres including motoring, and off-the-grid living.
“Gusto is very much in that 40-50-year-old demographic, and so viewers can expect the best of British drama, documentaries, food content and powerful movies. Rush is broader, slightly leaning on the male focus, 25-50-year-old target, positioned as a companion channel to Bravo and the type of content that’s going to be on there. Your action, adrenaline-filled, adventure formats, motoring formats and so on. It’s going to be a lot of action and excitement.”
So, what’s informed Discovery’s decision in terms of that 70 percent increase in local production? Kyne simply says the need for diversity of content. At the same time wanting to align this content with what is commercially attractive to advertisers. So, a balancing act between content Kiwis have seen before and formats unfamiliar to them.
“When you think about a channel like Three, it’s a premium general entertainment and news channel. So, content has to be very commercially attractive to work on that channel. When you look at the genres that we talked about today, they range from the traditional favourites, ‘The Block’, ‘Dancing with the Stars’, to bringing back ‘MasterChef NZ’ but also new formats like ‘Track’, which was also really important to us. We wanted to bring formats on screen that New Zealand hasn’t seen before. When I first saw the concept of ‘Track’, I thought it was hugely exciting. We haven’t seen before a format where we have people dropped into beautiful New Zealand landscape, and have to escape.”
To be commerciality successful Kyne says that the broadcaster didn’t want to rely solely on Discovery based formats either. “We felt it was really important that we went out to the production community at large and said, ‘Hey, have you got great ideas that you think are going to work for New Zealand? And can we help you get those stories told on screen?’”
Ultimately, Discovery want to create, and improve reach for its advertising partners. “We’re growing our audience reach with the country’s largest and most diverse mix of free-to-air and pay TV channels and building a more compelling ThreeNow and advertisers will reap the rewards of our first-class local content, growing viewership and powerful brands including the new Gusto and Rush.”
Next year, Discovery’s news and current affairs offering will also expand by introducing ‘Newshub Live at 8pm’ on Gusto. Another major news shake-up will be to ‘AM’ where Melissa Chan-Green will join Ryan Bridge as co-host of the new-look production.
“We are seeing ‘AM’ in growth year-on-year, which is phenomenal. So, we’ve put a lot of money into further growing this product, including a new set to achieve a really visually attractive product on screen.
“Our challenge now is how do we get news out to consumers where they are, and wherever they like it, whether it’s on television or a mobile device.”
New channels and more content obviously offer more and diverse opportunity for advertisers to get across various audiences. StopPress asked Kyne what’s new and exciting that Discovery is doing for advertisers to offer them greater access to its audiences.
He says: “I think the biggest thing is simply the 70 percent increase in local production because increasingly we see advertisers and brands wanting to get inside our content. They don’t just want the 30 second spot. And, so this is a phenomenal opportunity for them.
“The other thing that our team is working on is – and one of the benefits of Discovery is that we’re part of a global organisation – accessing global capability. Our global, advanced advertising team is starting to work on how we deliver connected TV audiences. So those audiences that are watching our content via an IP screen, big screen, typically, how do we deliver an equivalent advertising experience to linear and to their audience? And so, that’s something our team is working on, and will be delivering to market next year.”