The white-hot run free-to-air broadcasters have had with advertiser demand for their secondary digital channels since 2009 looks set to touch the brakes for the first time this year, although the news might actually be good for TV ad yields.
MediaVest’s latest Media Futures report for 2013 showed expectations among TV
networks for growth in their secondary channels had slowed a little but
sentiment had turned more bullish for growth in the primary channels.
The report, which polled marketing directors from the top 600 national advertisers and media executives, showed 77% of TV executives expected revenue increases on their primary channels. But last year’s result, which showed 100% expected growth in their digital offers, dropped to 73%.
The high demand
for much cheaper airtime on the secondary channels has been bitter-sweet for
broadcasters because of the much lower yields they have delivered.
Starcom chairman John Sintras said the switch to more bullish sentiment on primary channel revenue growth was not out of order.
“What’s happening is the TV networks have had such soft demand for the primary channels last year they are expecting a correction for this year,” he said.
“That’s got to come from somewhere. Also, people have trialled the secondary channels a bit more.
“They were more
cost efficient than the primary channels in the early days. That gap is
starting to narrow. They are still more efficient but not as efficient as they
were early in their introduction.”
Seven Network national sales director Adam Elliott told AdNews he expected revenue gains on the FTA primary channels but that Seven’s digital channels “won’t go backwards”.
“We think our plan to run more sport and more first- run content on 7Two and 7mate will help us ensure revenue won’t go backwards,” he said. “It’s true we’ve definitely got more optimism because of the quality shows on our primary channels. Look at the ratings on the big properties – 1.5 million and two million-plus.
“That’s the sort of stuff that is driving great revenue growth, particularly for us and Nine. The Voice and My Kitchen Rules are good examples of TV driving huge audiences and therefore revenue increases.”
TMS managing director Andrew Lamb said he expected the secondary channel revenue to grow this year because audiences would lift. “Audience growth is pretty healthy for the secondary channels,” he said. “We can’t see any evidence for a slowdown for the digital TV offers.”
This article first appeared in the 08 February 2013 edition of AdNews, in print and on iPad. Click here to subscribe for more news, features and opinion.
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