Fraser focuses on small screen for Freeview

It’s a long way from the Sundance Film Festival, but, hey, a man’s gotta eat, so big directorial gun Toa Fraser has decided to take on his first ever advertising project, a series of new commercials for Freeview and TBWA\TEQUILA.

Primarily targeting older viewers, empty nesters throughout the country and adults with young families who are still watching analogue television, the 30 and 15 second advertisements (the series will be launched through the year), feature a new khaki-clad character called Steve. Apparently he’s “the ideal sales person to teach the country about all the benefits Freeeview provides,” and, after Cheryl and Jim, it seems to be another foray into the use of a quirky figurehead so successfully employed in TBWA\’s work for 2degrees.

Youtube Video

Youtube Video

The playwright turned director received international acclaim for his film No.2, which won the coveted Audience Award at the Sundance Festival, and then went on to direct Dean Spanley, which last year won seven Qantas Film and Television Awards.

“He was the perfect choice for us and we’re flattered he’s chosen to work with Freeview,” says Sam Irvine, Freeview’s general manager. “All his film work is characterised by a uniquely Kiwi tone and voice, and we wanted to replicate some of that with the four commercials he has shot.”

Film Construction was responsible for the work and Roi McGregor was the producer.

The last batch of household figures from 30 June, 2010, showed that a total of 419,945 Kiwi households or 26.1 percent of homes are now Freeview enabled.

Broadcasting minister Dr. Jonathan Coleman announced yesterday the digital switchover will take place in 2013, and the analogue frequencies will be sold off to telco companies to increase rural broadband speeds for what it estimated to be around $100 million.

Media soothsayer Michael Carney had this to say about the move away from analogue TV a while back.

A quick check with Freeview tells us that (at last quarterly count) 23 percent of us have Freeview-capable sets or set-top boxes in our home; and around 48 percent of households are now 100 percent digitally served by Sky.

We can’t quite add the two figures together and conclude that 71 percent of the country is now digital-ready, because many of those Sky homes have gone Freeview as well. Our own estimates suggest that the real number is closer to 60 percent.

In other words, by our calculations 40 percent of Kiwi homes are still resolutely analogue. The Ministry of Culture and Heritage is apparently indulging in some more robust digital tracking analysis, quantifying the real numbers of luddites and bleeding-edgers out there, which we may find out in a month or so. Till then, we’ll stand by our calculator.

By the time the Government announces the analogue switch-off date, we’re picking that total digital penetration will be around the 75 percent mark. It’ll probably take another three or four years to get above 90 percent and minimise collateral casualties of the analogue kind when the final vacuum tube is unplugged.

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