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MEDIACOM Marketing Digest 2 March 2004

MEDIACOM Marketing Digest 2 March 2004

2 MARCH 2004

PRIME TELEVISION

In a television environment characterised by rampant, unjustified inflation, Prime are a breath of fresh air. They have actually lowered their advertising rates for the May-August period!

The rationale? Prime want better control of their inventory and pricing, and are taking out the fat that was usually discounted away in any case. They want their rates to be much closer to the real revenues they're generating across their schedule.

As a further part of the process, Prime are also banning bonus from the 5.30pm - 10.30pm peak zone, and are making all bonus time pre-emptible.

While we applaud the thinking behind this move - and especially the lowering of rates - we are concerned that Prime will not be as flexible under this new rate regime as they have in the past. If all peaktime is sold on a paid basis, their ability to absorb short-term bookings may be substantially restricted - especially in the current high-demand environment.

Prime are also showing significant audience growth year-on-year - for example, in January their channel share more than doubled (was 2.3%, now 5.2%) for their primary All People 25-54 target. If this growth trend continues, advertising on Prime will become more and more attractive, especially at these lowered rates.

For the record, Prime's new peaktime rate averages - this year compared with the same month last year -are as follows:

* May down 20.3%

* June down 14.7%

* July down 13.9%

* August down 4.6%

Bookings are now open, on a first-come, first-served basis. We suspect that Prime will sell out of their most valuable properties far more quickly than they have predicted, creating a whole new set of problems (=opportunities?).

TELEVISION

Interesting shenanigans on Sunday nights of late. Three Sundays ago, TV3 switched from its strategy of scheduling movies in the 8.30pm timeslot, for the totally understandable reason that they were losing out to TV2's blockbuster titles and (to a lesser extent) to Sky's Premiere Movies. As an alternative, TV3 unleashed their top gun, CSI, in the Sunday night timeslot.

The result: TV3 surged from a 22 share on the 8th of February to a 42 share on the 15th. TV2 dropped from a 37 share to a 33 share for its first-run screening of The Mexican.

Fast-forward two weeks, and TV2 has suddenly unleashed ER in the Sunday night timeslot. Coincidence? Maybe. But ER could only manage a 27 share, while CSI grabbed 46% of the available 18-39 audience.

Looking ahead, TV2 have resumed movie nights, while TV3 are unleashing Sunday Night Football now that the Super 12 is underway. But we've just witnessed a brief skirmish of the sort that used to be commonplace in the early years of TV3.

Ain't competition wonderful? We just wish it would extend to serious slash-and-burn tactics on advertising rates ...

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MAORI TELEVISION

Maori Television will launch on Sunday 28 March, broadcasting on the former Sky News frequency on UHF, as well as on Sky Digital Channel 33. A broadcast sample tape has been airing on the digital channel for some time, and a test signal is now available on the UHF frequency to help people tune in.

Maori Television plans to present Maori issues, thoughts and values and see the world from a Maori perspective. It is positively Maori, by Maori and for Maori - and also for the whole of Aotearoa.

Programmes will be in both te reo Maori and English, and subtitles will make Maori Television accessible to everyone.

According to the channel, the planned programming content includes:

* Daily language learning programmes

* Innovative magazine, youth and music shows

* Tamariki and rangatahi education programmes

* Important taonga - archival footage, some of it never before seen

* News, sports and current affairs from a Maori perspective

Programming and advertising details will be made available at the channel's official launch, next Wednesday, March 10th. We'll share our views once we've had a chance to take it all in!

LORD OF THE RINGS

Following on from yesterday's 11-Oscar clean sweep for THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING, we note that the New Line executives responsible for marketing the epic, Russell Schwartz and Rolf Mittweg, have been named among Advertising Age's Entertainment Marketers Of The Year.

According to the March 1st issue of Ad Age, New Line focused on the emotional drama of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King to lure back fans of the first two films and broaden the audience to those who hadn't yet latched onto it.

"Our campaign wasn't about bigger and better," said Russell Schwartz, New Line's head of domestic marketing. "It was about the story and characters. This was the most emotional, the most human, of all three movies. There was a very big promise of resolution, and that's how we positioned it."

To create a sense of finality and urgency, Mr. Schwartz and his team came up with the tagline "The journey ends."

After the first two movies brought in a whopping $660 million domestically, few Hollywood watchers predicted Return of the King could top that. It did. Return of the King has outpaced both previous films in the trilogy, taking in more than $345 million at the U.S. box office alone, and still counting.

From a marketer's perspective, the journey isn't yet over. The eleven-Oscar blitzkrieg is enough to spur a whole new interest in the motion picture while it's still in cinemas ("If you've just seen it once, you haven't seen the whole picture"). Then there's the video/DVD release (September?), the Special Edition DVD release for Christmas - and then the trilogy Boxed Set!

But wait - there's more. There's still a strong buzz that Peter Jackson is keen to add The Hobbit to his repertoire, and New Line are reported to be attempting to clear the rights. Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the Shire ....

MEDIACOM

Toffee Pops - Now Available In Gold

We acknowledge with pride the success of our sister company Grey Worldwide at Friday night's Direct Marketing Awards, winning two Golds for the multi-media campaign for Griffin's Toffee Pops Smooth Mint. MEDIACOM planned and executed the media components of this campaign, which received Gold Awards for Lead Generation and for Integrated Campaign.

As described in the Awards notes, both electronic and conventional media were used to gain registrations, encouraging people to sample the new Toffee Pops Smooth Mint flavour in the workplace. This was a far more effective and cost efficient approach than campaigns using only traditional media and in-store sampling.

The Toffee Pops Smooth Mint variant launch engaged and delivered 32,500 registered chocolate biscuit consumers in 6 days. All previous campaigns using traditional sales promotions had generated no more than 1000 registered chocolate biscuit consumers. The campaign was designed so that each participant would need to share the Smooth Mint experience with workmates. This increased the number of people impacted to a minimum of 111,836.

At the same time, market share rose to the highest in two years - 22.4% up from 14.8%. All variants within the Toffee Pops range grew in volume and Toffee Pops Smooth Mint achieved a record 6% trial rate for a biscuit 12 weeks after launch. This is the highest figure ever recorded for a biscuit variant launch.

The combination of conventional and electronic media generated an average click-through rate 363% greater than the industry average. The cost of the click-through rate was 69% less expensive at $1.55 versus the industry average of $5.

Our congratulations to all those involved in this campaign. Awards are definitely in vogue in this week's issue!

ABOUT MEDIACOM

MEDIACOM, with offices in 80 countries, is one of the world's largest and most respected media service companies.

We create media solutions that build business for a wide range of local, regional and worldwide clients.

With $10 billion in global billings, a commitment to strategic insight, total communications planning, tactical media brilliance and tough but creative media negotiating, MEDIACOM provides unsurpassed value in today's chaotic media marketplace.


Published by MEDIACOM (NZ) LIMITED, P O Box 3369 Auckland New Zealand, Phone 09 914 4940 Fax 09 914 4903 Editorial Comments or requests: newsletter@mediacom.co.nz To subscribe to this newsletter, please send an email with SUBSCRIBE in the subject line to subscribe@mediacom.co.nz

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