When two become one: TVNZ goes hybrid with its ad selling for Duke

TVNZ’s commercial director Jeremy O’Brien has for some time asserted the opinion that audiences should be sold the same way across platforms and he’s taking the first steps to achieving this with the launch of male-skewed channel Duke which will be broadcast on linear TV and streamed online simultaneously from Sunday.

In the previous edition of NZ Marketing magazine, O’Brien said the marketing industry desperately needed a collision between currency measurement and data we use for audiences.

“For too long the industry has struggled with misaligned currency – tarps versus measurement, misaligned definitions of audiences – people versus browsers and misaligned standards across the methodologies to capture and report who is watching what and when,” he said.

Well, just two months later O’Brien’s putting his money where his mouth is, and has implemented a strategy to sell advertising across to-air television and the online streamed television for Duke.

“This is very much trying a whole lot of new things. For us, we are trying to think outside the box and do things a bit differently, which we have the benefit to do with a more targeted channel. And at the end of the day, when you play around with [channel]one and [channel]two we are taking risks but this channel is new so we have a chance to try new things and learn and take things a bit broader.”

The traditional television model hasn’t changed for over 20 years, he says. “ … and what we are hearing with the market is trading online is really attractive so we are making sure we continue to evolve with the needs of the market, and this is one step towards that.”

The channel will simultaneously be distributed via linear TV and streamed online (a first for the broadcaster), and TVNZ is incorporating something of hybrid model to its ad-selling approach. 

A linear television ad slot will be combined with a CPM (cost per impression) approach for the online stream, meaning that advertisers will only be required to pay for the number of people who have tuned in.    

O’Brien says it will start off with no more than four minutes of ads per hour and the duration can be anything from a 15-second format to a “four minuter”.

“First and foremost we are selling one video audience across TV and online. We are trying the CPM model with this channel so we are selling audience impressions and we are talking with agencies about having potential around the audiences,” he says.

“Nielsen have given us fixed potential and we can merge the measurement of that Nielsen panel with the time stamp we use through the stream initiated online.”

Obviously on-air is measured the normal way, he says. “But with online and live-streaming every time a stream is initiated we send a time stamp to the device and it pings back every 10-seconds and it looks at whether what we scheduled out through our system matches with the time stamp and gives a complete view of the audience watching online.”

This method gives advertisers more options, he says.

“[This is] something markets have been looking to do for a while and it enables us to go out to advertisers and essentially allow them to have a combined method for on-air and online,” he says.

“A benefit of CPM is transparency around what advertisers are paying for, so they pay for the impressions we deliver and we are in broader conversations with marketers about taking the approach more widely.”

He says the feedback so far has been good. “We have had some really good feedback but this gives us a small case to iron out any potential challenges and issues if we look to expand it further.”

O’Brien also addressed the criticism TVNZ has received from creating a male-skewed channel.

“The reality is any strong brand stands for something, and this stands for a place that’s more interesting for guys. And it doesn’t mean it’s a channel that females aren’t going to watch, it just means we are more serious about what we stand for and when the audience comes to it they shouldn’t be surprised as to what they get.”

He says a more targeted channel is more attractive to advertisers.

“We are trying to be clear that it’s a targeted channel and it helps us be really strong about what kind of proposition we put out there and we think that audience is a really attractive audience for advertisers and one that’s traditionally hard to reach.”

He points out that Carl’s Jr is not specifically targeted towards females, but females can still enjoy it and he says Duke is no different. “It is a place where the content is more interesting for guys, just like magazines where you might have Women’s Day or [a magazine more targeted to male readers].”

He says there has been strong interest from advertisers. “The first few weeks [after it was announced]some advertisers came in early and wanted to take advantage of a new opportunity.”

O’Brien also mentioned a big partnership that will be announced within the next couple of days. “We have had some really strong interest and we are going to see a few different things happen on the channel.”

Duke launches this Sunday at 6pm. The channel will include sports, action films, The Late, Late Show with James CordenFamily Guy and others.

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