FreeviewPlus shows streaming doesn’t have to be a chore

Tiny mobile screens. Precarious cables traversing a room. Shared headphones and a laptop in bed. All familiar scenes to anyone who has delved into online streaming. And while any of these examples are acceptable in certain circumstances, a new campaign from Freeview NZ shows there are some advantages to the bigger television screen, particularly when watching a show with someone else.
Featuring comedian Chris Parker (who made his name in Hudson Hall and No More Dancing in the Good Room) intruding on the streaming activities of efforts of range of Kiwis, the new campaign aims to show that it’s still possible to have the convenience of usual TV experience when viewing online content. 

Freeview general manager Sam Irvine says that the biggest challenge for the new campaign was breaking through to consumers who might be inclined to dismiss the new service as just more of the same for Freeview.

“Obviously, Freeview has been around for a number of years, so for some people there’s a feeling that they already know everything we have to offer,” Irvine says. 

“We needed to find a way to simply and effectively communicate the point of difference for FreeviewPlus. The fact that it gives you ‘on demand on your TV – subscription free’ had to be front and centre.”

The campaign was developed by TVNZ Blacksand and will roll out on television on 28 February, followed by a series of ‘how to’ videos online. 

Additionally, Freeview will also be running in-store executions at electronic stores.

“Unlike most of the other providers of on-demand content, you don’t see a lot at point of sale, so we’ll have that,” says Irvine.

Irvine says that the aim of the new campaign is to extend the reach of FreeviewPlus beyond early adopters, the majority of which have been younger males since the service launched in July last year
“FreeviewPlus is still in its early days, but we would be tracking pretty close to the adoption rates of other technologies. We set a target of 100,000 in the first year, so we’re going to be pretty close to that.” 

While the early adoption of the service has been among young men, Irvine says that women are in fact greater consumers of on-demand content—meaning that there’s a significant growth opportunity in attracting more women to the service (it’s also worth noting that 67 percent of Kiwi households already use Freeview—the precursor to FreeviewPlus—on at least one device).

Another important target market lies in attracting middle New Zealand to the service. 

“Never forget that TV is still a lean-back experience for a lot of people. They’re not as engaged with it as they are on a smartphone or a tablet. A lot of people just come home and channel up or channel down.”

Irvine says the aim is to convert these consumers into Freeview users, in a bid to create a robust platform “that will be used widely in the future”.

The importance of this initiative to the local broadcast market is reflected in the willingness of competitors to make it work. 

“The way I describe the model is that it’s ‘co-opetition’ – it’s cooperation among competitors,” says Irvine.  

“The shareholders have done a great job of developing a join venture that’s enabled the whole free-to-air industry to compete with these big global players.”

This type of cooperation is also reflected in the media companies working together to form KPEX on the programmatic side. 

The globalised online market has led to a blurring of borders, meaning international players often compete in regional markets. And to ensure that they have enough scale and investment to compete, local players need to band together. And FreeviewPlus hasn’t only won the support TVNZ and MediaWorks. 

“We also have good support from other service providers like Prime, Choice, a bunch of smaller Asian channels and shopping channels,” says Irvine. “We’ve got over 20 linear TV services and four radio now available in Auckland.”

All these broadcasters are funded by advertising. And this is important, because the demands of clients are changing. 

In the past, a promotional blast through a media channel would’ve been acceptable; however, these days, clients expect greater targeting and efficiency when handing over their money. And the real value of services like FreeviewPlus lies in giving traditional broadcasters a means by which to meet this client need.

“In the future, you’ll be able to target individual homes using this technology,” says Irvine.

On an individual level, TVNZ is already working toward this by requiring customers to subscribe to TVNZ OnDemand, making it possible for advertisers to target certain demographic groups. 

And with FreeviewPlus moving in a similar direction, it seems likely the targeting conversations that pervade the online ad buying market will soon become more common in TV as well.


TVNZ Blacksand
Jens Hertzum – Executive Creative Director
Jamie Lawrence – Writer/Director
Shannon Addison – Creative Director
Haley Booth – Project Manager
Kayla Radich – Integration Executive
Bridget Bolton-Riley – Producer
Giverny Teves – Production Coordinator
Adam King – Director (How To Videos)
Charlotte Corrigall – Graphic Designer
Gary Young – Editor
Third Party
Dave Cameron – Director of Photography
Spid – Photography
Angus Kerr – Art Director
Sam Irvine – General Manager
Bel Wang – Marketing Manager
Tim Diprose – Technology Manager


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