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MEDIACOM Marketing Digest 14 September 2004

MEDIACOM Marketing Digest 14 September 2004

Free Commuter Rag Hits Auckland It's the hottest concept in the newspaper business in recent years, and it's about to hit Auckland as Fairfax respond to the Herald's Sunday aspirations with their own competitive thrust into NZ's largest market.

AucklandMax, a crossbreed of magazine and classifieds, will be given away free each week, targeting the 80,000-plus people who Fairfax research identifies as travelling into Auckland daily for work or business.

Designed as a quick 20 minute read, with bite-sized consumption of lifestyle issues, from food to fashion, shopping to sex, AucklandMax covers "the latest news, trends and gossip as well as reviews of the best restaurants, bars and gadgets". Add in hot job listings and you've got a quick handle on the content.

The Fairfax target readership: 18 - 34 year-old urban professionals who are hard to reach by traditional media, have high disposable incomes, and work, shop and play in the central city area.

Launching in October, AucklandMax will be distributed extensively throughout Auckland's CBD, via vending machines, in cafes and bars, key retail outlets, gyms, and other high foot traffic areas for younger readers. Business and residential box holders within the CBD will also receive copies of AucklandMax.

Copies will also available in Wellington and Christchurch to capitalise on younger professionals who want to assess job opportunities in Auckland - and, no doubt, to create a future market for WellingtonMax and ChristchurchMax!

Free commuter papers have been around internationally since at least 1995. The concept was, and remains, a simple one - if the cost of distributing a newspaper is equal to subscription revenues, then remove the cost of one and the other can follow. Advertising provides the income - so long as the paper provides the eyeballs.

The argument for commuter newspapers can be summed up in three key thoughts:

* Firstly, people have less and less time in their daily lives to read newspapers and yet the number of pages in traditional newspapers continues to increase - so less of the newspaper is read and fewer of the advertisements seen. * Secondly, the demographic profile of newspaper readers is predominantly ageing and male and traditional newspapers do not therefore reach as many of the people who make the most frequent consumer purchasing decisions as other media. * Thirdly, people do not believe everything they read and seek objective news coverage elsewhere (in other words, don't put your perspective under the control of a single newspaper editor)

These free commuter editions have come under fire from newspaper purists, for precisely the reasons that make them popular with younger readers:

* Short and sweet articles, without indepth analysis. * Too much focus on ephemera ("the goss"). * Too bright and colourful ("gaudy").

Offshore, many free commuter papers are published daily. Our population is unlikely to be big enough to sustain such an offering for the foreseeable future, but a twice-weekly schedule is not out of the question.

In fact, we suspect that Auckland will be blessed with a second option sooner than anyone thinks. Typically, free papers that challenge an entrenched competitor usually get a rapid response from the incumbent, by way of a competing title.

Watch the streets - it could get a bit messy out there.

Battle Of The Bulge We are what we eat. And what we've been eating in recent times has been food driven by convenience rather than health and nutrition.

Earlier this month, the key participants in the food chain - food producers, distributors, retailers, marketers, advertisers and the media - acknowledged that obesity is a major risk to public health, and have signed up to the precedent-setting NZ Food Industry Accord, working collaboratively to tackle the problem.

The mission: to do everything possible to encourage the creation and promotion of commercially successful products and services that will make a positive contribution to the health of New Zealanders.

Lip service or a real commitment? The participants have the clout (if they share the determination) to make this a real JFK moment. When the late President committed his nation to "put a man on the moon in this decade", it provided a common goal that united a nation.

The three health goals that signatories have committed to contribute significantly towards:

* To reduce obesity * To improve nutrition * To increase physical activity

The projections are alarming. Left unchecked, the NZ population will experience terminal bloat.

Size does matter. Shrink and grow rich.

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Online AdSpend Revealed In a few short days, Online Advertising Spend figures will be added to those media already measured by Nielsen Media Research, as the internet goes mainstream.

AdSpend data is being gathered from the major NZ website operators, converted to ratecard equivalents and then made available as a combined spend figure, drillable down to advertiser and product level.

The project has been underway for some time, and the data made available from September 20th will date back to January 2004.

We have some preliminary data, covering the first six months of 2004, and can reveal that:

* Total AdSpend across the monitored websites for the first six months was in excess of eight million dollars.

Top spending categories were:

* 24% Travel * 19% Investment, Finance Banking * 14% Computers * 7% Government Depts, Services, Community * 7% Leisure & Entertainment * 4% Automotive * 4% Foodstuffs

Savvy direct marketers picked up on the fact that online marketing can be measured and turned into Cost Per Lead and Cost Per Sale metrics some time ago (circa 1994). However the traditional advertising community is a curious old thing, and generally requires some industry-standard numbers before it starts to spend up large. Not for us the tree that falls in the forest with no-one watching.

So, now that the data is there, we confidently predict that the totals will start to grow, as what can be measured can be used as an argument for competitive response!

Which is, of course, why the online community is ready and eager to participate in this whole project!

Prime News Clones Itself Prime Television has announced that it will re-broadcast its live 5:30 News bulletin at 7pm on weeknights, starting September 27.

The 5.30pm start time for the current offering was an excellent strategic move, enabling Prime to be "first with the news". Unfortunately a news bulletin at 5.30 is simply too early for the bulk of Auckland commuters. Repeating the bulletin at 7pm makes a lot of sense.

We'd prefer to see a revitalised bulletin at 7, with perhaps the first segment refreshed and updated; but a simple repeat reflects the production realities: the Prime bulletin is produced in the studios of Sky News Australia, in a short window of opportunity during the broadcast day. To create a new or amended bulletin wouldn't yet make financial sense, especially given the current ratings of the show (generally ranging around the 1% level during weeknights).

We always thought that 7pm was the ideal timeslot for a news programme, given traffic realities. We're about to see if the timeslot does actually work. Over to you, Suzy.

The Tower Of Blabble As marketers, we're always trying to read the minds of our consumers. What are they thinking?

Enter Blabble ... a comprehensive service that tracks, evaluates and groups the thoughts of over 2 million blog* authors. Blabble tracks the opinions of web authors, an important new form of public opinion.

Blabble offers:

* Raw Thoughts - This searchable area allows users to see exactly what people are saying about their product/service. * Phrases - Blabble creates and orders common phrases people have used to describe a particular product. * Time Count - Allows users to see how many people talked about a product by hour, day, week, month and more. * Tone - A high level look at how pleased people are with a product/service.

What are people talking about today?

About Movies, here's what's in vogue (with an average ranking):

* Napoleon Dynamite 5.61 * Princess Diaries 2 4.09 * Alien vs Predator 4.22 * Bourne Supremacy 3.53 * Little Black Book 3.64 * Anchorman 5.18 * The Manchurian Candidate 3.62

We know you can't resist finding out what's hot or not (inevitably US-centric, at least for now). So head on over to and sign up to their Custom Research offering. It's in beta mode, so it's currently free. Cool tool - and the price is right!

*What's a blog? An online diary or column, to all intents and purposes. Where have you been?

New Owners, Business As Usual In a move that further consolidates the global advertising industry, Britain's WPP Group said on Monday that it has reached an agreement to purchase Grey Global Group Inc. of New York (our parent company).

Grey's advertising agency businesses will be run as an independent unit within the WPP group of companies. Our own Mediacom will seize the opportunity to leverage the combined clout of ourselves and the other WPP media operations!

So - business as usual for Grey, more muscle for Mediacom. Cool.

ABOUT MEDIACOM MEDIACOM, with offices in 80 countries (and now part of the WPP Group), 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 $13 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.


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