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Mediacom Newsletter May 2004

18 May 2004

We've observed from time to time that television advertising is somewhat in demand (mild irony intended). As a consequence, we urge you to take note of a few forthcoming dates that will affect your ability to transact business in the second half of 2004.

Specifically:

* Next Wednesday, May 26th, is the TVNZ cancellation deadline for August TV time. Any changes you wish to make to your existing holdings need to be considered and implemented by that date, both to avoid penalties and to take advantage of any additional airtime that may come available. * The September-December 2004 TVNZ ratecard details will be released on June 8th, and applications for airtime need to be made before Friday 25 June.

We all take it for granted that prices will be increasing once again - the only question is by how much.

Time for some reader interaction. We invite you to submit your own guesstimate of the average TVNZ peaktime rate rise percentage (covering the period Sept-Dec 2004), along with a sentence/paragraph justifying or denouncing the rate inflation. We'll include the results as we go along, as sort of a Virtual Super 12% (or Virtual Super 25%, if you're a pessimist).

The lucky winner, come June 8th, will receive a special Broadcasters' Calculator (no minus key, total increases exponentially every 15 minutes) - or, at least, a bottle of sparkling sponsor product! But the real prize is bragging rights.

For the record, previous rate increases were:

* May up 16.2% TV1, 16.8% TV2 * June up 16.7% TV1, 16.8% TV2 * July up 12.5% TV1, 11.7% TV2 * August up 28.4% TV1, 13.2% TV2

Send those entries in today to newsletter@mediacom.co.nz. And don't forget that accompanying sentence/paragraph telling us what you think of this rampant tvflation.

PS Please indicate if you want anonymity for your comments - at least until spot allocations are made!

Making It Easy For The Media Travel Alberta is a good example of an organization that's making it easy for the media to write about their product (which happens to be a destination, but the lessons demonstrated are applicable for most any organization). At their website, you'll find some really neat ideas, including:

Alberta Facts: Key facts that would help any journalist assemble a story, including such facts as: * Name of the Premier of Alberta * Name of the Prime Minister of Canada * The Capital of Alberta * Capital of Canada * The Area of Alberta - 661,185 sq. km (255,303 sq. miles) * Coordinates, Width, Length, Terrain, Climate, Population * Alberta Resources/Industries * and other essential trivia, such as the Provincial Flower(Wild Rose), the Provincial Bird (Great Horned Owl) the Provincial Mammal (Big Horned Sheep) and the Provincial Tree (Lodgepole Pine).

Perhaps more usefully, the site also offers: * Story Ideas * "Pre-Written Stories" (which is perhaps the neatest description we've come across, for promotional articles that you hope someone will reprint in their publication!) * Various itineraries and planners for travel writers * Media Visit Request (info required if you're aiming to visit Alberta), including:

* an indication of the medium's editorial policy, and how this affects any degree of sponsorship of your trip. * Audience Profile/Circulation Details, including: type of medium, medium's audience, demographics and geographic coverage. * Likely Feature Content/Story Line/Theme * Your Commitment to Publish/Broadcast (the degree of commitment secured in advance of trip, e.g assignment letter, etc. and estimated date of feature appearance. * Advertising Value of Feature * Specific Services Requested (assistance required in order to fulfil media visit objectives). Include the following: attractions/sights/activities required/interviews, etc.

* And other services "to assist you in the research and development of your stories", including:

* Media liaison * Electronic and printed media information * Images in several formats * Publications * Video footage * Story Concepts

All good inspirational ideas, and a concept well worth adopting as part of your website strategy!

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.

Sunday Magazine Re-Invented Those of us with long memories will remember SUNDAY MAGAZINE, an A4-sized glossy magazine which had a brief existence in the late eighties as a free insert in the three Sunday papers of the time. Alas, that publication lasted less than a dozen issues, and was quickly consigned to the ink-stained graveyard where magazines go to die - joining such illustrious oldtimers as Thursday, the Weekly News and far too many others.

Now, the SUNDAY MAGAZINE title has been resuscitated for a publication delivered free with your Sunday Star-Times - though this time the mag is likely to stick around a lot longer, given that the publishing company (formerly INL) is now owned by Fairfax, who have extensive Australian experience publishing newspapers accompanied by magazines.

In another first, Sunday Magazine will be produced by the Fairfax Magazines division (publishers of Cuisine, OnHoliday et al.), operating in co-operation with the Fairfax Newspapers arm. It would be fair to say that such cross-pollination would have been anathema to former INL management, who were newspaper people to the core.

The new magazine will be targeted at the existing Sunday Star-Times readers - tending towards the affluent acquirers and liberal sophisticates. At this moment, the editorial style is skewing towards female tastes, despite the fact that men represent 53% of the current Sunday Star-Times readership.

The intention is to entice more women to linger with the Sunday read, but we urge caution. Women are well-served by traditional magazine options, and so are advertisers trying to reach those targets. The male magazine reader, however, is a more elusive beast, and a magazine with the circulation strength of the Sunday Star-Times (210,519 audited copies each week) could offer a powerful new option for male-seeking marketers. We just hope they don't blow it by being too overtly feminine.

First issue of the new Sunday Magazine is due June 13, with a booking deadline of June 1st.

WE WELCOME NEW SUBSCRIBERS Please forward this newsletter to colleagues or friends. All we ask is that you forward the whole newsletter, not just excerpts.

Txt 1 Prnt 0. International editors and publishers warned last week that nontraditional communications - such as cell phone text messages - are rapidly outflanking radio, television, and print media because of their immediacy and proximity to the public.

In a two-day meeting to stimulate newspaper readership among the young, publishers from the Los Angeles Times, USA Today and the New York Post exchanged views with European media leaders on shrinking newspaper circulation and the European and American media scene.

The growing "thumb generation" posed the greatest new challenge to traditional media, with cell phone text messages conveying news, rumours and gossip, said Pedro J. Ramirez, editor of Spain's El Mundo.

That challenge was evident after the March 11 train bombings in Madrid that killed 191 people and injured more than 2,000 others, just three days before national elections.

Nina Calarco, editor and publisher of southern Italy's Gazzetta del Sud, said information spread through cell phone messages contributed to Socialist candidate Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero's election as Spanish prime minister.

"The (Jose Maria) Aznar government in Spain was unseated by a shower of telephone text messages, an alternative to the traditional print media, which was initially repeating the government line that the train bombings should be blamed on Basque terrorism instead of al-Qaeda," Calarco said.

The bombings since have been blamed on an alleged Moroccan-based Islamic extremist cell with possible links to al-Qaeda.

Zapatero's Socialist Party was accused of calling a massive rally in Madrid the night before the March 14 elections on short notice by having people spread the word through cell phone messages.

"This is a communications circuit very difficult to control but easy to manipulate because it's as if every citizen had a printing press at home," Ramirez said. "And whoever wants to insert himself into the chain can make an exponential effect during crises.

"It can be ephemeral, but in Spain it had a great effect".

In New Zealand, the texters are divided from the text-nots by what is largely a generational divide - those who believe that the opposable thumb was not evolved purely for texting are typically older than Generation Txt. And it would be very easy for the mature marketer to overlook the power of text.

But Kiwis send an average of eight million texts a day, which makes for a pretty powerful medium, even if largely untapped from a commercial perspective.

As third-generation technology comes online, and pxts start to move, expect more commercial exploitation - and some curious new revenue models.

ENDS


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