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MEDIACOM Marketing Digest 27 April 2004

MEDIACOM Marketing Digest 27 April 2004

27 APRIL 2004


The weekend papers were all abuzz with the notion that TVNZ has plans to start a new TV channel, and has treacherously withheld its frequencies from another group with Auckland regional aspirations.

The idea of an additional channel is, in fact, a no-brainer, given the current excessive levels of advertising demand being experienced by the free-to-air broadcasters. Advertisers have money to spend on the small screen, and if TVNZ and CanWest can't provide sufficient airtime, more and more goes to Prime and Sky.

TVNZ have been trying for a number of years to expand their inventory, most notably with their satellite-based digital plans - which, alas, failed to win government approval. Using the old Horizon Pacific UHF TV frequencies must be a real fallback position for the state broadcaster, given the inherent limitations in likely audience levels. However, some additional inventory is better than none, so we endorse TVNZ's actions.

We disagree with the journalists' viewpoint on programme content, however. The thought of a channel to serve as the repository of charter obligations provides useful fodder for conspiracy theorists, but such a niche channel - limited to the UHF band - would not be attractive to advertisers, and would fail to vacuum up the surplus advertising expenditure which must be incredibly enticing for TVNZ. We prefer to think of our state broadcasters as commercially voracious rather than machiavellian in their intentions.

We also sympathise with the Auckland regional TV group, whose dealings with TVNZ probably served to re-awaken corporate interest in the dormant UHF television frequencies. What's that line about sleeping dogs?


The reality tv virus that has infected free-to-air broadcasters so badly has now spread to Sky. May sees the debut of The Player, a 10-episode Touchdown production exclusive to SKY 1.

10 young men from all walks of life, including students, entrepreneurs, entertainers and self-confessed Casanovas, will live together in a luxury Auckland penthouse apartment. Here, host Nicky Watson will assign them weekly tasks that test their sex appeal, sense of humour, sense of adventure and their right to be named the "ultimate" Player when it comes to the opposite sex.

Each week, Nicky will eliminate one flatmate from the bachelor pad in her search for the winning Player.

The apartment will be equipped with state-of-the-art cameras. There will also be diary cameras for the wannabe Players. The women who become their targets will always be interviewed and given the chance to say what they really think of the guys - comments that could influence Nicky's decision as to who should be eliminated.

From one perspective, the show is a milestone, marking Sky's first foray into locally-produced entertainment television. Until now, Sky's local content has been restricted to sporting events and the occasional news special.

From another perspective, the show is a millstone, dragging Sky down into lowest common denominator trash tv. On the other hand, given that Sky1 is also the home of Jerry Springer, one could argue that nothing much has changed ..


Once upon a time, a 24-hour television event meant Telethon. Now, it's music. Stand by for May mayhem, as TV2 screens the 24-hour music event, National Anthem, live from venues in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Commencing at 7pm on Saturday May 29, and concluding 24 hours later on Sunday May 30, National Anthem is a celebration of New Zealand music, with live performances and interviews from top acts throughout the country - including Dave Dobbyn, Nesian Mystik, Zed, Goldenhorse, Peter Urlich, Dawn Raid and The Chills, among many more.

National Anthem will also help raise funds for the Play It Strange Charitable Trust. Play it Strange, founded by Mike Chunn (former Director of NZ Operations for APRA), encourages young New Zealanders to make and experiment in their own music through mentoring and participatory programmes.

While we don't question the merit of this event, or its worthy beneficiary, we do wonder - is this the inevitable outcome of the recent Idol ratings successes?


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.

Parliament To Go Digital?

Even as the newspapers were expressing their horror at the thought that a new TVNZ channel would be reduced to covering Parliament and other unfashionable topics, Sky Television was tabling a proposal to broadcast all Parliamentary proceedings through the long white cloud via satellite.

Politicians have long dreamed of wall-to-wall coverage of their yawn-inducing meanderings, so this proposal comes as no surprise. And - once a replacement satellite goes into orbit in 2005 - Sky will have sufficient bandwidth to accommodate even the most long-winded politician.

It remains to be seen whether the Sky proposal will simply be accepted and added to the May 27 budget, or whether tenders will be called. Potential contenders could include TVNZ - though, for reasons noted opposite, that wouldn't be an economically-attractive use of their UHF frequencies.

CanWest might make the downtime on C4 available - screaming politicians and rabid rappers are not entirely dissimilar. Telstra Clear might make space available on its soon-to-go-digital cable television services in Wellington and Christchurch - what Aucklanders would want to watch Parliament anyway? Or Xtra could offer a video feed through JetStream - as long as it was subsidised (nobody wants to pay for precious bandwidth squandered on politics).

On second thoughts, the Sky offer is the only one that makes sense.


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Think Small. Think Red.

Directory publishers around the world have been obliged to reinvent themselves to cope with the impact of the internet, and UBD is no exception. APN Infomedia has now revamped its well-known UBD business directory into a smaller, easy-to-use format that will be known as UBD InfoRed.

The InfoRed hard-copy directory reportedly has significant benefits over its predecessor, including additional features such as up-to-date maps, company search sections and trade category sections.

One of the improvements made is to reduce the number of category headings from over 6000 to 1800. The amount of data delivered is expected to remain the same, so it is to be hoped that the indexing will be sufficiently enhanced to enable us to find what we're looking for in the revised edition.

The gathering of listings is well underway, with the first edition of InfoRed due out in December. InfoRed will have an audited circulation of over 35,000.

Companies that qualify to be part of the UBD InfoRed database will also be part of the inevitable UBD B2B website that accompanies the print edition.

Details are still sketchy, but we'll keep you informed as we learn more.

Where Did We Go For Easter? Internet monitoring company Hitwise has reported on the performance of various websites by New Zealand Internet users during the the lead-up to Easter:

As with any long weekend, Easter brought its fair share of entertainment and events. In Auckland the Royal Easter Show ( ) drew thousands of visitors, pushing its website to 28th place in the Entertainment category for the week ending April 10, after ranking 289th less than a month earlier.

The Entertainment category as a whole has been on the rise since mid-March, accounting for 7.18% of internet traffic to All Sites visited by New Zealand internet users for the week ending April 10. Easter proved to be a busy time around the country with the sites for both Warbirds Over Wanaka ( ) and the Waiheke Jazz Festival ( ) breaking into the top 100 Entertainment sites.

Warbirds Over Wanaka, the annual air show in the South Island soared up to 56th placing in the Entertainment category for the week ending April 10, peaking on Good Friday at 38th and climbing to 6th place in the Aviation parent category. According to the Timaru Herald, over 50,000 people attended Warbirds, its popularity reflected in website visits with the average time spent on the site increasing in excess of 5 minutes.

The Waiheke Jazz Festival site proved popular as well, reaching 10th place in the Music category for April 8 and remaining at 16th for the week ending April 10. The site's Clickstream data shows that nearly 40% of visitors then went on to the Ticketek webpage ( ) in the hunt for festival tickets, with another 3.7% visiting Subritzky Line ( ), the operators of one of the Auckland to Waiheke ferry services.


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

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