As Colin Peacock noted in MediaWatch this week, as two X Factor judges were sent packing for bullying and lambasted for having an over-inflated opinion of themselves, a man who has “built his reputation on his ego and on picking on people poorly equipped to defend themselves on air” is getting set to kick off his experimental, multi-media breakfast news show on April 7. And MediaWorks has launched the last phase of its marketing push to get New Zealanders to tune in.
Browsing: Rachel Lorimer
Last week, MediaWorks continued its restructuring process by announcing it would operate one newsroom across its TV, radio and online assets, with Mark Jennings taking on the top role. It also announced the integration of digital across the business and, as a result of these changes, the roles of TV chief executive Paul Maher and head of interactive Siobhan McKenna were disestablished. Chief executive Mark Weldon said there would be no more job losses in TV and interactive. But it’s thought two more long-serving senior MediaWorks staff members are also set to depart: senior legal counsel/company secretary Clare Bradley, who has been with the company since 2000, and chief financial officer and director of technology Peter Crossan, who has been with the company since 1999.
MediaWorks announced yesterday that Paul Henry would host a new show that will be simulcast across TV3 and RadioLive and have “a significant digital component”. Not surprisingly, social media lit up with commentary on the bold decision to give the polarising broadcaster such a prominent role at the expense of his eponymous late-night show, Firstline and RadioLive breakfast. So what’s the strategy? And will it work?
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?
There was a fair bit of chatter in the market last year after the Great Ratings Drop of 2013, something the broadcasters and their research partner Nielsen put down to a range of factors, including an improving economy, a mild winter and changing media consumption habits. Not surprisingly, the broadcasters remained confident that TV was an effective—and cost-effective—option for advertisers. But, in an age of supposed accountability and measurability, why don’t they release minute-by-minute ratings data to the market to prove it?
TVNZ’s new current affairs show Seven Sharp got off to fairly shaky start. So 18 weeks in, how is it holding up? And what has its arrival meant for the 7pm ratings? PLUS: Comment from TVNZ’s new HONCA John Gillespie.
For years, pessimistic pundits have been talking about the death of TV. But TV viewership is still as strong as ever, and ad revenue is standing fairly firm. One thing that has definitely changed, however, is the integration of brands into programming and the ability of social media to light fires underneath content, as evidenced most recently by the launch of the X Factor NZ—and the way broadcasters are now working more closely with marketers and creative agencies to come up with original branded content ideas.
TVNZ and BrandWorld sent their new The Extra Mile masthead into the wild this week, and promptly apologised for hosting the advertorial segment on its news website. And MediaWorks is playing in the masthead sandpit as well after launching a new integrated advertising platform called Focus TV late last month. And, in what it sees as branded content—and what others might see as another example of commerce encroaching further on editorial integrity—the host and TV3’s ex weather presenter Toni Marsh is being called a ‘reporter’.
In property mad New Zealand, The Block NZ was paying pretty low odds to be a ratings winner—and, due to all the opportunities for sponsor integration into the show—some of it comically gratuitous—a commercial winner as well. And while MediaWorks is remaining coy about the ad and partnership revenue the show has brought in, the first season did as expected and drew plenty of Kiwi eyeballs, with last night’s final, which saw siblings Ben and Libby Crawford walk away with a tidy $237,000 profit, gaining an average 5+ audience of 491,600, up from 389,000 in the first episode.
One of New Zealand’s perennial entertainment bugbears is the fact we have to wait a bit longer for our content than many other markets. It certainly doesn’t seem quite as bad as it once was, but, due to the big spoiler known as the internet, the delay is still bad enough to get Coro St fans riled up. And you don’t want to see Coro St fans when they’re angry. So, to try and remedy this national sense of FOMO (and perhaps limit the associated pirating), MediaWorks has unveiled a new sub-brand called Fast Four that trumpets the fact Kiwis will be able to watch some of their favourite shows on-air within a week of their world premiere.
Straight from the starter’s pistol, The Block NZ became TV3’s biggest show of the year. So has it maintained that momentum? How are those cheeky Pluk-ers doing with their mobile app? And what’s TVNZ got in store?
There was plenty of pomp, ceremony and promotional activity to celebrate the airing of the first episode of MediaWorks’ big reality show The Block last night. And the Nielsen TAM numbers have given the network something to crow about.
The Block is going off in Australia at the moment as it reaches the final stages of the current season, and MediaWorks is doing its best to ensure the same thing happens for the first season of the New Zealand version, launching a full-scale marketing assault created by the inhouse team that’s been pretty difficult to miss.
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.
The Block is one of the biggest reality TV shows in the world. In Australia, where the show began, it remains the highest-rated television series of all time, and over 350 episodes have been produced in the UK, USA, Israel, Russia, Romania, Belgium, the Netherlands and Scandinavia. Given New Zealand’s penchant for property, it’s perhaps surprising it’s taken this long to arrive here, but it’s landing soon and MediaWorks is claiming a first for a major New Zealand television series by allowing foundation partners whose brands are integrated into the show the ability to use the stars in commercial campaigns outside the broadcast of the programme.
There’s been a bit of chatter in the media recently about whether MediaWorks will renew its licensing deal with CBS and whether the end is nigh for its flagship current affairs show 60 Minutes. That decision is still up in the air, but what is clear is that 60 Minutes host Mike McRoberts and new arrival Guyon Espiner are involved in a new international current affairs show called Three60 that’s screening on Sunday mornings and is being sponsored by Massey University.
Nielsen has now implemented its new Unitam model, which takes into account both overnight viewing and time-shifted viewing and also features an expanded panel, so it marks a new step in the way TV ratings are gathered in New Zealand. Added to that, the two major broadcasters are both back into full swing and many of the big new and returning shows that were trumpeted at the vastly different new season launches last year are now on the box. So how is New Zealand watching? And how are the new season ratings stacking up?
In defiance of the threat posed by digital to television, MediaWorks is taking a huge risk and premiering one of its top new shows online. As crazy and contradictory as this approach seems, when FOX did the same thing last year, it got some surprising results: despite over two million people watching the show before it was broadcast, it rated through the roof on the night, up 20 percent from its lead-in show Glee, way beyond the network’s wildest dreams.
When Paul Henry was signed up by MediaWorks to host the drive show on RadioLive, there was an understanding he’d be involved in the occasional TV project as well. But aside from an interview on 60 Minutes, the bespectacled cackling offender has been slightly conspicuous by his absence on the telly. That will all change on Friday night when a self- (and dwarf) deprecating skit about his fictional quest to make the autobiographical potboiler What was I thinking into a movie airs on The Jono Project on TV3.
TVNZ and MediaWorks are always competitive, as the rather confrontational comparative promo TV3 ran after the Japanese earthquake showed very clearly. But this was taken to a new level on Sunday when TVNZ sent out a press release saying 60 Minutes had “lost almost half its audience since March and almost 300,000 viewers per week since February”. Embarrassingly, the figures TVNZ used were wrong and, understandably, MediaWorks is none too pleased.
…as Aegis opens a new activation division and Apollo Marketing’s Will Riley gets the plum posting; Graeme Underwood moves across the hall and Rachel Lorimer takes over publicity duties at MediaWorks; Simon Kozak is appointed high priest of The Church; Greg Shand sells his share of Baldwin Boyle Group after 25 years with the company; Datamine finds a managing director in its existing ranks; and Ian Hughes announces some changes at Bigmouth voice agency.