Talk: it’s back (in Canterbury)

In this edition of Michael Carney’s Marketing Week:

  • The Radio Network bows to the demands of aggrieved Cantabrians
  • Is it time to inspire more domestic travel?
  • The TV shows in the US that didn’t make it to the next season.
  • Get your survey on

Southern Discomfort

For as long as we can remember, Cantabrians have demonstrated a fierce local pride, significantly more so than most other areas of New Zealand, and that local spirit is in evidence once again with the latest announcement from the Radio Network.

At the beginning of this year, TRN’s Christchurch NewstalkZB station switched from part-local to full-network talk content. If you’re as cynical as we are, you’d agree that uninformed comment could just as well come from anywhere in New Zealand as from Christchurch.

Apparently not. The locals revolted – and that revolution was reflected in both ratings and revenue. So now TRN is bringing back local: longtime Christchurch broadcaster Mike Yardley will return to hosting a Christchurch talk show from 8.30am to 12noon from 21 June 2010.

We’ve been a longtime critic of the homogenisation of radio – a small number of programming strands, carried everywhere – but we’ve also recognised the commercial realities of such moves. All things being equal, inane mutterings accompanying the latest Beyonce masterpiece might just as well be networked as local. But talkshows, it turns out, do allow at least a modicum of input from locals – and, in Christchurch in particular, said locals are keen to have their say (and not shy about expressing their disapproval if such freedoms are denied).

More power to the people!
Home Sweet Home

Those of you of a certain age may recall a New Zealand Government tourism campaign, a long time ago and far away, that urged Kiwis “Don’t leave home till you’ve seen the country” – a drive for domestic tourism at a time when foreign tourism was still relatively limited. Frankly, at the time New Zealand didn’t have a lot to offer any tourists, domestic or otherwise: our tourism facilities were not yet 100% purist, they were 99% desperately under-developed.

We’ve moved on somewhat since then (all thanks to ‘Lord of the Rings’ and ‘Xena Warrior Princess’, of course) and international tourists now pour into the country, eager to sample the many extreme and exotic offerings that Aotearoa delivers. But what of our own people? When we travel domestically, do we view God’s Own Country through the rose-coloured Oakley sunshades of the international traveller or are our lenses more of a yellow-jaundiced tint?

The Ministry of Tourism has just released a whole new Domestic Travel Survey, which checks up on Kiwi travellers in their journeys through our land. According to this new data series, in 2009 we Kiwis took 31.4 million daytrips and 16.7 million overnight trips within New Zealand.

And what did we do on these glorious New Zealand adventures? Not a lot.

For the overnight trips, we were away an average of 2.9 nights each. We spent $98 per day trip and $121 per night on overnight trips, making us the last of the big spenders.

The most popular activities we undertook on our travels were dining (29 percent), visiting friends and relatives (28 percent), shopping (22 percent) or doing nothing (13 percent). Talk about boring, Trev.

And what about those activities for which New Zealand is justly world-famous (at least in the L&P sense)?

Snow sports accounted for just one percent; a similar percentage represented hunting/shooting; and just 0.52% of domestic travellers’ activities was for canoeing, kayaking or rafting. And what about those truly iconic Kiwi attractions such as Dolphin Watching? 0.1 percent. Bungy jumping? About the same, one in a thousand of us. Whale-watching? Less than half that, 0.042 percent. Paraponting? Just a tenth of the whale-watching total, 0.004 percent.

Looks like the time is right for an update of that classic domestic tourism message: “Don’t leave home until you’ve actually sampled some of the unique offerings our country has to offer”. Okay, not quite as catchy as the original, but its heart is in the right place.

Ave atque Vale

This is the week when the US networks unveil their new series, the shows that they hope will bring fame and fortune in the 2010/2011 season. We’ll have details on the new season offerings next week, but for now let’s say a few farewells. You already know that Lost is making its final appearance, but it’s also goodbye to:

Despite his best and ongoing efforts, arch-villain Sylar couldn’t wipe out the assembled superheroes; but a previously unknown supervillain (‘Nielsen’) has done the job instead. In its first season, Heroes was a runaway hit: the pilot episode generated 14.3 million US viewers,  with the season high topping out at 16.03 million viewers for episode 9. By the end of Season four, alas, the show was hovering around 4.5 million viewers.

Law & Order
After 20 seasons on air, NBC has finally thrown this show out of court. Don’t mourn its passing, however. The show’s stablemates remain  on the air, and we’re expecting “Law & Order: Los Angeles” to be announced for the new season.

The quality of Mercy may not be strained, but the ratings were; the show won’t be back for a second season.

Despite the inclusion of our own Cliff Curtis, this show’s vital signs were never that healthy; now it’s flatlined.

The great blackout we’ve all been waiting for on FlashForward has turned out to be the show’s demise. Despite the expectations set for the show’s final episode (still two weeks away in the US), we’ll be denied a satisfactory resolution. Perhaps in the follow-up novel …

After six years in production, this series concluded with its 100th episode (which screened in the US in March).

Ugly Betty
After three successful seasons screening on Thursday nights on ABC in the US, the show was moved in its fourth seasons to the Friday night death slot amid protests from its fans. A move in 2010 to Wednesday wasn’t enough to save the show and ABC announced its cancellation earlier this year.

Jack Bauer has definitely been a busy man. But now he can finally get some sleep. After eight days/seasons, the clock has finally run down. Except for the movie currently in development, of course.

Next week: the new stuff on the telly.

State of The Nation

Bill English has his Budget; Santa has his List; we have our bi-annual State of The Nation presentation. It’s our very own update on the latest trends, analysis and forecasts for New Zealand organisations, covering:

  • The Economy
  • Consumer Attitudes & Expectations
  • Government Initiatives & Legislative Issues
  • The Media
  • Advertising
  • Technology
  • Retailing
  • New Products & Services
  • Opportunities
  • Global Trends & Their NZ Implications

This is a highly valuable roundup of what’s happening, and what to watch out for, in the New Zealand marketplace. The report and presentation will be available from mid-June. We’re now inviting expressions of interest (on a first-come, first-served basis) from those who would like to have it presented to themselves and/or their clients by report author/editor Michael Carney. Just drop us an email to [email protected].

Reminder: Survey for Marketers

As we mentioned last time round,we’ve put together a survey on the current state of the New Zealand marketplace, in which we invite those of our readers responsible for marketing activities within their organisations (client-side, please) to partipate.

Participants will receive a complimentary copy of the report’s findings, to help them with their own marketing plans for the rest of 2010 and beyond. The survey will take about ten minutes of your life and will investigate your views on:

  • The Current State of the NZ Economy
  • Economic optimism for the short and medium term
  • Marketing Expenditure Trends
  • Marketers’ Concerns
  • Marketing Challenges and Opportunities

If you’re a marketer, please go now to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/marketingexpectations

Many thanks in anticipation. We’ll report on topline results in due course.

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