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Mediacom Marketing Digest - 19 July 2005

Mediacom Marketing Digest - 19 July 2005

ODT Digital Revamp

Newspapers around the globe continue to agonise over what to do about the internet. Some papers post their whole content online for all to see, happy to spread their gospel far and wide. Others share only a sampling, the better to lure you to their print edition. That journal of record, the Wall Street Journal, shares its entire content - but only with paying subscribers. The New York Times publishes its current content online free for registered members but charges for archived stories.

Dunedin's Otago Daily Times, which previously sampled key stories online, is now revamping its digital offerings. Promised but not yet available: an assortment of the top news stories of the day in easily accessible format.

Available now (currently free to those who go through the joys of registration): the Digital Edition, featuring scans of the pages in the print edition; and the Digital Archive, providing access to the last ten issues of the paper. These latter offerings are designated premium products, eventually slated to attract a subscription. Although the ODT is a morning paper the web content won't be updated until 5 to 6pm each day, presumably to protect circulation revenues.

It's a dilemma. Publish your content freely online and you risk destroying your current business model. On the hand, hide your content behind scans, registrations and subscriptions and you can't be googled so new readers won't find you - the Wall Street Journal has become increasingly invisible to internet search engine users. As more and more of Generation Web turn online for their news fix, newspapers are being forced to choose between tomorrow-based tactics and protectionist policies for today's dead-tree readers.

Yeah, we know, we know - newspapers will survive the web, they've already outlasted the supposedly terminal effects of radio and television. But the rite of passage is going to be painful.


Q4+7=?

Television New Zealand has released its latest ratecard, covering the fourth quarter of 2005 as well as January 2006. The key statistic we all want to know: there's an average 7% peaktime rate increase across the four months, with individual programme pricing either unchanged or up a maximum of 10%. This increase, as usual reflecting demand rather than performance, is in the midrange of expectations created by TVNZ earlier in the year.

With the exception of Desperate Housewives -- which made a dream debut last night for TV2, achieving a 58% channel share and a 27 rating for their core 18-39 audience -- the programming content pre-announced for Q4 is decidedly ordinary, so advertisers will continue to struggle to reach their targets as 2005 draws to a close.

Brighter news on the offpeak front, with afternoon rate reductions on the way. The unfortunate experiment with a programming block for children on Television One is still not delivering, so rates are down 82% in that zone across Q4, although TV One ad rates for the rest of the afternoon are down just 8%. TV2 kids' morning programming will cost 50% less, kids' afternoon time down 41% and the rest of the afternoon down 37%.

Booking deadlines for the period October 2005 through January 2006: Friday August 5th. Talk to us for more details.


Te Reo PlaySchool

The classic BBC children's show Play School is being re-versioned for Maori Television after BBC Worldwide Asia Pacific licensed format rights for the programme to Maui Productions. The 260-episode strong series will start in September and will screen daily Mondays through Fridays.

Play School's whanau will feature all the show's characters; Hamuti Tamuti (Humpty Dumpty), Pea nui (Big Ted), Pea paku (Little Ted) and Timaima (Jemima).

Don't those early memories come flooding back?

PVR Update

As we continue the countdown towards Christmas and the arrival of Sky's Personal Video Recorders we remain on high alert looking for examples of the impact of the technology on TV households. Latest addition to the collective wisdom: a three-month UK study by MEC MediaLab, who gave 20 households the ultimate consumer goodie, a PVR, and watched what happened.

Three types of viewers were under scrutiny: Hardcore viewers, for whom TV was a religion; Moderate households, less dependent on the medium; and Selective viewers, light television consumers. Key findings:

* Viewing changed dramatically for Hardcore viewers. They were the first to get to grips with the technology and found more bells and whistles than the other two groups. They also demonstrated a disproportionate drop-off in ad viewing through their use of the PVR.

* Mums loved the technology because it put them in control of their children's viewing schedules. Some families said that controlling their TV schedule was bringing them back together to watch their favourite programmes.

* All the households fast-forwarded ads during recorded programming. However some only did so when confronted with a "bad ad".

* As other studies have found, sponsorship cuts through ad avoidance techniques. Viewers looked for heavily branded screen shots, break titles or programme trailers as a signal to stop fast-forwarding.

Overall conclusion: while PVRs don't kill the 30 second commercial completely they do make it necessary to develop additional branded entertainment strategies on top of straight commercial advertising.


Be Freya, Be Very Freya

An email from a desperate friend sends journalist Samantha Dempsey to Marin County north of San Francisco to investigate The Daughters of Freya, a cult that believes it has the solution to the world's problems. But she soon finds out there is more to the cult than meets the eye.

The story is told through emails exchanged by the characters. But instead of reading the emails in a book, they're delivered straight to your inbox, four or five a day over the three weeks it takes for the mystery to unfold. A 'real-time' email mystery delivered straight to your inbox.

You can't turn a page to find out what happens next ... you have to wait for the next email to arrive.

A fascinating new narrative form - made possible by the internet - and an idea bound to be stolen any time now by creative marketers. You read it here first.

To encounter the mystery of The Daughters Of Freya, go to: http://www.emailmystery.com


The Future Is Here

Beginning September the 6th, the US public broadcaster PBS will make available - exclusively over the Internet - broadcast television's first entirely downloadable series, featuring PBS technology columnist and industry insider Robert X. Cringely's interviews with personalities from the ever-changing world of technology. NerdTV will be available for download from www.pbs.org/nerdtv .

The 13 one-hour shows will be made available on a weekly basis after the launch date and all previous episodes will continue to be available through the NerdTV Web site. NerdTV viewers are actually encouraged to download and copy the shows, share them with friends and even post them on their own Web sites - all legally.

Viewers will be able to choose which content or format they download to their computer: MP4 video of the whole program, MP4 video of "juicy" excerpts (for a more general audience wanting just a nugget) and MP4 video of the "nerdy" excerpts (for a more technical audience wanting just a nugget). In addition, a variety of audio-only formats will be available, including AAC, MP3 and ogg vorbis (whatever that is).

It's about time.

PS Sorry If You Missed Us

Sorry if we've been conspicuous by our absence. The compounding effects of Annual Leave and Sick Leave conspired to silence the presses over the past few weeks. But we're back!

************************

ABOUT MEDIACOM MEDIACOM, with offices in 80 countries, is one of the world's largest and most respected independent media planning and buying organisations.

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.

ENDS

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