Around the world, advertisers are trying to involve their audiences in the marketing, whether it’s Wendy’s love songs, Airbnb’s Hollywood & Vines, Newcastle’s crappy crowdsourcing or, locally, Give it a V and Feel Tip Top. TV shows have long talked about doing the same, and many of them have taken fandom into the realm of social media. But increasingly it seems broadcasters are not content with audiences passively absorbing content and are trying to convince them to get involved. So how’s that working out for them?
Coming at a cost of $3.2 million, TVNZ and NZ on Air, along with major sponsor Toyota, have invested heavily in New Zealand’s Got Talent. And after the first episode of the international format show aired last night, that investment looks set to pay off, as it was the highest launch for a New Zealand entertainment/reality show in the past seven years.
It’s getting to the business end of the digital switchover and there’s just four months to go until the first two regions—the West Coast and Hawke’s Bay—pull the plug on New Zealand’s analogue TV signal. So Freeview has launched a campaign with its new agency True starring Pio Terei that aims to capture the 16 percent of homes still to make the leap to digital–and to convince them to choose the newly pimped out Freeview platform rather than its nearest competitor, the soon-to-launch Sky/TVNZ joint venture Igloo.
MediaWorks TV has confirmed it will be not be renewing its output deal with CBS and is instead shifting the funds into the creation of local content. And Sky’s free-to-air channel Prime has taken over the rights and signed up for its first ever output deal.
Sparks are already flying over TVNZ’s decision to replace TVNZ7 with a ‘plus one’ time-shifted channel that repeats TV One content, with United Future leader Peter Dunne calling it an insult to the intelligence of New Zealand viewers. And he may have something else to complain about because Greg Partington’s The Shopping Channel has, after two years of planning and a few hiccups along the way, finally got the green light and will feature on Sky channel 18 from 1 October.
When we asked TVNZ’s head of digital Eric Kearley in early November whether TVNZ was working with Sky and would launch a set-top box before the digital switchover, he flat out said no. But last night Sky and TVNZ brought out the big PR guns and officially launched “New Zealand’s worst kept secret”, Igloo, the mid-play TV network that offers both pay and free-to-air channels. And while there’s plenty to shout about with the new offer, there are still questions lingering about its modus operandi and whether MediaWorks will play nice.
StopPress believes the free-to-air RWC broadcasting orgy between Maori Television Service, TVNZ and TV3 is likely to be investigated by the Commerce Commission on the grounds of anti-competitive behaviour.