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ThinkTV: How New Zealand's television collective is tracking nearly one year in

Nine months into Think TV, we ask chairman Glen Kyne to reflect on what New Zealand’s first television collective has achieved in the last year and what we can look forward to in 2019.

By Caitlin Salter | December 14, 2018 | news

Launched in March this year, ThinkTV is a collaboration between New Zealand’s main television players: TVNZ, MediaWorks and Sky TV. The aim is to use it as a collective voice for the industry to celebrate the scale and effectiveness of television as a medium. Born as a retaliation against the notion that traditional television is on the way out, chairman Glen Kyne says that couldn’t be further from the truth.

ThinkTV’s website works as its hub, featuring a range of insights about TV including who’s watching it, which platforms it is being watched on and what devices people are watching – among other insights.

Building up the database of online resources and giving television advertisers reliable information about the benefits of the platform is the aim of ThinkTV.

According to Nielsen data included in ThinkTV’s ‘Fact Pack’, 3.35 million New Zealanders or 77 percent of the population watch television every week. It’s figures like this that form the heart of ThinkTV’s message:

“The original mission of ThinkTV was to separate fact from fiction around TV. We wanted to remind buyers of television of its comparative strengths and the fact that it delivers the strongest ROI of any media. We’ve done a lot of independent research to really make that resonate.”

L-R: Paul Maher, Rawinia Newton and Glen Kyne

In the last nine months, the main goal Kyne and fellow board members Paul Maher and Rawinia Newton had for the collective was to get that initial message out there. So far, Kyne says, the feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.

The three board members are backed up by subcommittees combining teams across the three networks. There is a trade marketing subcommittee, a research subcommittee and a PR and communications subcommittee.

Getting competitors MediaWorks, Sky and TVNZ to align and collaborate has been the first major achievement of ThinkTV, Kyne says.

“Collaboration has been really strong across the networks, and our teams have worked together so well. It is a real beacon for the media industry.”

He’s also proud that the initiative has managed to align agencies and spark conversations within them. The natural next step is to ensure the message is in the heart of advertisers. One of the big hold-ups to spreading the television message is data surrounding other mediums shared without context.

Demonstrating a thriving and healthy media that’s trusted by advertisers requires a number minimum rules of entry, Kyne says. Things like non-skippable ads, transparency, user data safety and being able to command attention and keep it are crucial elements to make advertising on any platform enticing.

And according to ThinkTV, television lends itself to these qualities better than any other media does.

“Facebook and Google for example, often fail to meet some of these milestones,” Kyne says.

Last week marketing professor and columnist Mark Ritson wrote in The Australian that media analysts Ebiquity had shared results of Facebook video advertising research in London earlier this month. The results suggested that the number of impressions for a video are actually far fewer than what the social media giant claims. The results showed that, despite reporting more than five million impressions for a Facebook campaign for a large client, only about 133,000 of those claimed impressions were valid and viewable.

Moreover, just 57,000 were watched with audio to the halfway point and only 35,000 of them (less than one percent) viewed the video in its entirety.

Widespread duping of advertisers on online channels is something that Kyne believes couldn’t happen in television because data is readily available from independent sources.

“A lot of online insights are not entirely truthful and we want to be able to jump on that and draw the comparison back to TV. If there is one thing we [ThinkTV] can improve on it is jumping on global research and giving it a New Zealand context.”

Dr Karen Nelson-Field

As part of The Benchmark Series, ThinkTV commissioned Dr Karen Nelson-Field to conduct an independent, large-scale, in-home study into how people really engage with advertising across different platforms and devices. Nelson-Field, the founder of The University of Adelaide’s Centre of Amplified Intelligence, also compared TV against other environments such as Facebook and YouTube.

Her findings showed that the amount of ad coverage on a screen had a strong correlation to attention and sales impact – TV screen coverage proved to be 10 times that of Facebook and three times that of YouTube. According to the research, advertisers get the greatest impact from ads playing out on 100 percent of the screen and on devices and platforms where the view-time is longer – meaning television can deliver better advertising, sales and business results.

“It was a slight pivot on our strength of television message,” Kyne says. “TVCs are 100 percent viewable on a large screen and the power of the big screen image compared to viewing on a small screen is huge.

“The findings also showed that TV ads command greater attention of longer and the market really resonated strongly on that. There’s a lot of excitement for the next phase of Karen’s research.”

Looking ahead to next year, Kyne wants to incorporate more events such as the Nelson-Field series into the ThinkTV calendar – to further cement ThinkTV’s place as a strong advocacy body in the market.

As well as events, ThinkTV plans to work on evolving audience measure for television next year. Early in the new year a new content rating system will be released, which will allow ThinkTV to take content measures from platforms like TVNZ OnDemand and generate a rating compared to a linear audience. Which is important because it is clear people are still watching their favourite TV content, just in different ways and on different devices than before.

Kyne says one of the most important challenges in the next year is to lift ThinkTV’s PR and communications capability.

“It’s not that I think we do a poor job, but when things break you want to be able to jump on them straight away and respond. I’m really keen for us to continue to engage beyond the agencies, to the advertisers so we can get our message to as many people as possible.”

Kyne’s main message to television advertisers is simple: don’t give up on television.

“TV is proven to be the most effective brand builder and the most cost-effective option. Continue to embrace it and remember the marketing fundamentals haven’t changed as much as the industry has fragmented.”

Glen Kyne's Top TVCs 2018

Domestic TVC

“I love this TVC for a few reasons. It has spectacular production value and a cinematic approach to storytelling. Every time you watch you can’t help but feel the joy of the win, and great brands should spark an emotional response. It creates a sense of possibility that exists in all of us.”
International TVC

“This message is powerful and also relevant to New Zealand. It demonstrates our need and commitment to support local communities, characters and retailers. They are the backbone of our society and an area I am passionate about.”

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