fbpx

Are Kiwis changing the channel on TV?

Our New Zealand television landscape has shifted greatly due to local and international advancements. Here, we asked some of our industry leaders their thoughts on the changing sector, and what they think the new decade will bring.

LOOKING AHEAD AT THE NEW DECADE, WHAT WILL BE THE BIG THING OF THE 2020S?

Jo Mitchell – Director of marketing, McDonalds

The biggest ‘thing’ may well be just keeping up with the pace of change affecting marketing – we are tasked with owning the relationship with the customer to drive profitable sales, so choosing how to stay relevant and well connected, build trust in our brands and products, and not get lost in a sea of messages, will require a reinvention of thinking, processes and beliefs to stay ahead of the curve.

How marketing best invests to best reach our audiences will be an ongoing challenge, using the right data to create insights to unlock opportunities, developing the right products, creating great communication campaigns and content, understanding and leveraging a growing multitude of media channels and measuring the right results, all within an increasingly complex world and one with growing guidelines, rules and regulations.

Keeping up with the pace of change will mean staying curious, encouraging our teams to be open to see learning opportunities, and ensure marketing’s and agency partners stay relevant and well connected to the reality and challenges of New Zealanders.

Cassie Roma – Previous Head of marketing, The Warehouse Group

In the decade ahead we will see a cultural shift, a reckoning of sorts, when it comes to media consumption and the ways in which consumers take back the control over where, when, how and why they consume the content they consume. The smartest and most resilient of brands and creatives will realise that distractions and interruptions aren’t the way to win over a person’s heart, rather becoming a local or native of online and offline communities will be the flex.

In my heart of hearts I’d love to predict that the world starts to find joy in creating great content for the sake of adding value to others and growing true connections over attempting to hack algorithms or to hack humanity itself. Moving from a ‘primacy of profit’ to a ‘primacy of purpose’ strategy in marketing and beyond will see consumers and brands growing together in a mixed media landscape that is already awash with inconsequential and powerful marketing alike.

IT’S BEEN SAID THAT FREE-TO-AIR TV IS A MIRROR INTO NEW ZEALAND’S SOUL AS LOCAL PROGRAMMING REPRESENTS US. COULD THIS BE UNDER THREAT IF AN OFFSHORE BUYER PICKS UP MEDIAWORKS’ TV?

Regan Savage – Marketing director, Trade Me

I reckon the key here is not so much the ownership, but the appetite to create local programming. Both major free-to-air networks have invested heavily into local programming of all genres in recent years, because (1) good quality local content rates its socks off; and (2) major overseas networks don’t create NZ content so it creates a point of difference for local players. If a new owner bought MediaWorks purely for its role as a content distributor, schedules could easily be padded out with cheaper overseas content, and the goal would be to leverage the ThreeNow database.

However if MediaWorks was bought based on a desire to create a product that more people want, then new local content would likely be part of that. Otherwise why wouldn’t we all just watch Netflix and Neon-Box (or whatever Lightbox + Neon will be called)? TVNZ has shown it’s possible, with a great OnDemand platform and the right content, to beat the overseas SVODs in terms of NZ eyeballs.

What’s really interesting right now is how the M&A people working on MediaWorks are digesting the emerging details around TVNZ/ RNZ, which could be viewed as either the death knell for commercially viable free to air TV in NZ, or else a great new opportunity. It seems to me the biggest drivers in the future of local programming are being weighed up in the Beehive, and also how NZ on Air funds those with the desire to tell NZ stories.

HOW DO BRANDS GROW AT A TIME WHERE REACH, VIEWABILITY AND CONSUMER ENGAGEMENT ARE BECOMING MORE CHALLENGING?

Ally Young – Brand chapter lead, Spark

The biggest ‘thing’ may well be just keeping up with the pace of change affecting marketing. We are tasked with owning the relationship with the customer to drive profitable sales, so choosing how to stay relevant and well connected, build trust in our brands and products, and not get lost in a sea of messages, will require a reinvention of thinking, processes and beliefs to stay ahead of the curve.

How marketing best invests the marketing budget to best reach our audiences will be an ongoing challenge – using the right data to create insights to unlock opportunities, developing the right products, creating great communication campaigns and content, understanding and leveraging a growing multitude of media channels and measuring the right results, all within an increasingly complex world and one with growing guidelines, rules and regulations.

Keeping up with the pace of change will mean staying curious, encouraging our teams to be open to see learning opportunities, and ensure marketing’s and agency partners stay relevant and well connected to the reality and challenges of New Zealanders.

DO YOU THINK THIS COULD BE THE YEAR OF #STUFFME?

Simon Bird – Head of strategy and measurement, PHD

“The current state of TV in NZ reminds me a little of a tale of two cities:

The best of times and the worst of times. For viewers we now have access to more content than ever but it’s harder to decide what to watch or to find out where to watch it. For marketers TV continues to fragment and ratings drop but we now have AV giving us new data feeds and more interesting ways to use ‘TV’. For FTA TV it just looks like the worst of times – neither TVNZ or Mediaworks is making any money.

In terms of predictions for the next year or so the influence of Cambridge Analytica story will almost certainly influence the proposed ‘mergers’. A conjoined TVNZ/RNZ is currently under discussion and the Stuff/NZME merger will end up in front of the commerce commission again soon enough. There’s a chance that both proceed, although if we see a change in government the former becomes less likely and the latter more.

If they both proceed we might end up with two ad funded FTA channels and enough money for both to be profitable. If a MediaWorks buyer already had a catalogue of content profitability, it becomes much more achievable, leaving a modified TV2 to own local content.

Sky in 2020 won’t change much but with more competition for sport and the loss of Disney content it has a tough ride ahead. There seems little point in talking about streaming services in a marketing magazine but clearly their numbers are on the rise. Netflix will eventually offer an ad funded option but probably not this year. So the 2020 NZ TV market is not as strong as it used to be but still one of the most powerful marketing channels available.”

Justin Mowday, Chief executive officer, DDB

A thriving local media market is crucial to our industry, ensuring brands have a way to reach mass audiences. A healthy level of competition is also crucial to ensure no one player can dictate pricing or terms that disadvantage marketers. Right now, it looks like NZ broadcast operators are only just surviving rather thriving, so we will definitely see some mergers/sales/collaboration to create scale and help reduce cost bases. We should also expect the cost of advertising on broadcast TV to increase gently over the coming years (NZ TV airtime is currently amongst the cheapest in the world), which will be painful but probably fair.

But while a lot of attention is being paid to the large free-to-air broadcasters and legacy media houses, I’m more excited about the new media options that are emerging and offering a whole array of exciting opportunities for brands and audiences. This has potential to be the thriving local media market we need. Podcasts, mobile marketing, apps and in-app services, new-breed news websites, content partnerships, events, experiences and more. The ways we can communicate, but also now interact and fully engage consumers through a huge array of new channels, gives us whole new playing fields to illicit an emotional reaction from people (which we know is the most powerful way to drive brand preference and action). Sure, it’s trickier to achieve a large-scale audience instantly, but the depth of impact you can get is also worth valuing.

While many are talking about the ability of traditional media to achieve mass audiences and remain viable, we’re not too bothered. Great creative agencies can produce ideas that demand an audience, using a range of new media options to do so. We created a sperm bank that found an audience of hundreds of millions. We developed an AI that frustrated scammers across the globe, reaching millions. We built New Zealand’s most famous laundromat. Great ideas have the power to find an audience.

IS THERE ROOM FOR PAID SPONSORSHIPS IN THE PUBLIC BROADCAST SPACE?

Hilary Kgan Kee, partner and head of strategy – Motion Sickness.

In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have paid sponsorships in public broadcasting. But it’s very clear that we don’t live in a perfect world (I mean, have you watched the news lately…). Public broadcasters have a very important purpose – to serve otherwise under-served communities, to bring light to issues and topics that otherwise would go unaddressed, and to provide a trustworthy, unbiased source of information. The reality is that there are limited funds available to our public broadcasters, and sometimes worthy projects aren’t given the green light – and sometimes, paid sponsorship can fill that gap. I think this is particularly relevant in a New Zealand setting, where we have a relatively small but diverse population. Our broadcasters don’t necessarily have the same resources as the BBC, but they still have important stories to tell.

In a situation where paid sponsorship does occur in the public broadcasting space, I think there are two key things that are really important to maintain – transparency, and impartiality. It’s important to remember that while many of us are exposed to the ins-and-outs of paid sponsorship in our day jobs, the average viewer or listener will remain somewhat unaware of what it means and how it works. With strong leadership, a strong sense of organisational purpose, and an empowered team who are encouraged to uphold their editorial integrity, I think that this can be navigated successfully. Not a public broadcaster, but I think an example of homegrown paid sponsorship done right is The Spinoff. They’re transparent with how they’re funded, and they don’t seem to let their funding model get in the way of their purpose.

So ultimately, In my opinion as both a ‘maker’ of content and an avid devourer of it, if I have to choose between the sanctity of public broadcasting and important stories getting told and seen, I’m choosing the latter.

DOES THINKTV HAVE A BIG JOB AHEAD?

Paul Maher, Chairman Think TV

ThinkTV has a big job in the year ahead – but it’s one we’re excited to go out and tackle.

At its core, ThinkTV exists to help advertisers get the very best out of commercial TV. With more options than ever before and the facts surrounding where to place marketing spend getting murkier, ThinkTV is focused on dispelling myths and sharing information about the power of TV, and that’s something we’ll continue to do in 2020.

This year, we’ll keep advocating for the TV sector because we believe it provides the most efficient and effective solutions for our clients. At the end of the day, TV is the only medium that provides advertisers with mass reach, the ability to build emotional connection and the power of long-term recall. You can’t Google a brand you don’t know, and you won’t ask for a product in a shop if you don’t remember it.

The competition has moved from local to global and we want New Zealand brands not just to survive, but to thrive as the competition heaps up. As a relatively new industry body, there’s a lot of assumptions to interrogate and a lot of new research to showcase. At the end of the day though, we’re motivated to connect advertisers to more of their customers and with that as our focus it’s going to be a great year.

FOLLOWING A CONDITIONAL AGREEMENT TO BUY LIGHTBOX, SKY HAS PLANS TO MERGE THE STREAMING SERVICE WITH ITS EXISTING NEON OFFER. COULD CONSOLIDATION BE THE WAY FORWARD LOOKING AT THE NUMBER OF STREAMING SERVICES IN NEW ZEALAND ALONE?

Delina Shields, head of marketing – Vodafone NZ

“Globally we are seeing an expansion of streaming services with many major television networks launching services. This follows an accelerating trend of customers switching from paid TV to online streaming of their preferred content as mobile and broadband services get faster and more reliable. Disney+ is just the latest in what will be a number of new streaming options for consumers, as more and more companies see the success of Netflix and want to tap into the new way of content consumption.

Kiwis are already used to a high level of fragmentation of media targeting niche groups of consumers, particularly when it comes to radio stations and magazine titles. With global studies suggesting the average consumer will pay for three to five streaming services, I feel there is still room for further streaming services here – both mainstream such as Netflix and more targeted like Disney+ or sports streaming. 

An expanding market always opens up opportunities for consolidation, however I believe we will still see more streaming service providers in the future. The more interesting question is what impact this will have on terrestrial and cable television and how services will adapt to accommodate this future. Content aggregators are particularly popular, where services such as VodafoneTV make it easier for consumers to receive content from a variety of sources – including streaming providers – and view it via the one platform. I expect to see this type of service becoming more in demand with the increase of both streaming services and consumer expectations to view their favourite shows when and where they want.”

Kristal Knight, creative director – Saatchi & Saatchi

It seems to me that when it comes to streaming services, punters have very little brand loyalty or often even awareness of who operates which platform – we’re all just content chasers. We go where the good telly is.

So consolidation makes a lot of sense – the more good content is in the one place, the greater the chances of keeping that audience loyal to the platform. And as a punter, the idea of consolidating the number of subscriptions I pay for each month and the time I spend app-jumping for the thing I want to watch is very appealing

However, no one platform will ever hold all the best content (and nor should it) so it seems to me that what might in actual fact be of most benefit to customers is an aggregator platform to step in and pull together the content customers want from various services and manage the subscriptions through one single account.

From an advertising point of view, this new world of premium paid-for entertainment is, in no uncertain terms, slamming the door in the face of the dear old TV ad. To me, this creates a real creative challenge and opportunity for brands to earn their way into this rarefied world. Co-creation, clever product placement, or by becoming true creators themselves, leveraging the long form format and offering this captive audience entertainment truly worthy of their precious evening couch time.  

About Author

Comments are closed.