Building an audience: The Block hits its stride, Pluk gets an update and TVNZ reveals local line-up

Straight from the starter’s pistol, The Block NZ became MediaWork’s biggest show of the year. So has it maintained that momentum? How are those cheeky Pluk-ers doing with their mobile app? And what’s TVNZ got in store for its big reality format, New Zealand’s Got Talent

The first episode of The Block NZ reached 655,000 people 5+ and, when consolidated ratings were added in, that rose to over a million for the first week. So it certainly got off to a good start. MediaWorks publicist Rachel Lorimer is of the belief that a new show like this hits its stride around three weeks in as viewers get used to the format and attached to the different personalities. And she says the team’s very happy with the performance of the show so far, with that reach growing to 1,987,000 after eight episodes. 

Last week’s bathroom episodes were the top rating so far for the 25-54 demo, averaging a 12.9 rating (this has yet to be consolidated, but on average it brings up the 25-54 rating by 0.6 rating points). The 25-54 cumulative reach has grown from 353,000 in the first episode to 976,000 in the most recent episode. 

It was also the week with the greatest audience share of 28 percent, with Wednesday getting 30 percent (there is a natural weekly pattern where Wednesdays are bigger than Thursdays). 

“In addition to the TV audience, The Block NZ is one of our biggest Video Ondemand shows,” Lorimer says. “Last week there were 44,769 streams, making it the second biggest VOD show after Home and Away.” 

Research shows that VOD is largely in addition to TV viewing, but because the VOD viewer measurement and the Nielsen ratings are not cross-references, the numbers can’t simply be added together. 

As David McGregor wrote in Idealog recently, live TV is undergoing a rather unexpected renaissance, in part because of the prevalence of social TV or second screening. Reality-based programming generally creates the most chatter and that’s certainly true of The Block (its Facebook page is closing in on 10,000 fans, 73 percent of whom are aged 25-54, and each of the couple’s individual pages has well over 1,000 fans). 

But this relatively new form of engagement is also helping the advertisers. And the main vehicle for that on The Block is audio-recognition mobile app Pluk, which sends information, extra content or offers to users’ smartphones.  

Pluk has recently launched a new version of the app that provides consumers with enhanced performance through the speed of audio recognition, the technology that powers the app.

“We’re very pleased to announce we are obtaining average success rates of 90 percent for our users,” says company founder and chief executive Boyd Wason. “This great result has been proven with the campaigns we’re running throughout The Block NZ producing off-the-chart results, with cumulative total pluks of 10,961 and cumulative total interactions of 10,305 in the first few weeks of the series.”

Based on the response rates and media investment of Pluk campaigns, Wason says these results put Pluk among the most efficient and effective digital media platforms available.

Since its initial launch partnership with MediaWorks in January 2012, Pluk has seen a significant increase in downloads and it is now sitting on 53,500 downloads, up seven percent in the four-ish weeks since The Block campaign has been live. 

Pluk’s country manager Martin Shanahan says there are no campaigns locked down for the other networks just yet, but “that’s only a matter of days away” and it’s also in the process of appointing agents in Australia “who will be continuing the good work Boyd has done over in the market to date”. 

“We’ve got a lot on the boil and working very closely to bring these campaigns to life across all networks,” he says. 

If the water coolers in the half of the year were abuzz about MasterChef and The GC, they’re abuzz about The Block and New Zealand’s Got Talent in the second half. And TVNZ has announced it will screen on Sunday nights at 7.30pm before the second series of high-rating local drama Nothing Trivial at 8.30pm. 

Australian favourite Offspring will follow at 9.30pm to round out the night. But, as a result of this new Sunday schedule, TV One’s flagship current affairs show Sunday has been cut in half and will run for 30 minutes for the duration of the New Zealand’s Got Talent series. 

“TV One’s exciting new Sunday evening line up is a great addition to the schedule and demonstrates our commitment to local programming,” says head of sales, Jeremy O’Brien. “We believe huge shows like New Zealand’s Got Talent and Nothing Trivial will connect with our viewers, ensuring we continue to deliver great results to our advertising partners.” 

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