TV networks fine tune promotional line-up

With all three commercial networks running aggressive promotional campaigns for their flagship programs this year, marketing has become an increasingly important flank in how they woo viewers.

For the past few years, Seven has been the stand-out for its cunning marketing program, especially in the lead-up to the start of the new TV year. But this year, the other two networks have lifted their game. “All the networks have done an outstanding job and we’re really happy with them,” Maxus chief operating officer Mark McCraith told AdNews. “Normally it’s just one or two who’ve gotten it right but this is the first year in a long time where they’re all organised. They know it’s important and they’ve all learnt from each other.”

Ten chief executive and former Seven alumnus James Warburton may have appropriated some of his former employer’s techniques. Ten worked the promotion of its new programs into its coverage of the Hoffman Cup, with themed cross-promotional asides for Elementary, MasterChef: The Professionals (MCP) and Mr. and Mrs. Murder.

Elementary’s debut audience of 1.23 million viewers was a win for Ten, with the campaign for the show playing up the appeal of the two lead actors, something the network has replicated for Mr. and Mrs. Murder.

McCraith also praised the marketing for MCP, pointing to a particular creative execution in one medium which cleverly referenced a promotional execution in another medium.

UM chief executive Mat Baxter said he’s noticed an increased marketing presence from Ten, especially in out-of-home with MCP. In addition to winning over viewers, he said an aggressive push from a network indicates confidence to the trade market in a particular program.

Seven’s heavy investment in promoting My Kitchen Rules (MKR) has already paid big dividends. Just two weeks into the series, the competition reality program has hit three consecutive nights above the elusive two million viewers mark.

Seven chief sales and digital officer Kurt Burnette credited the network’s publicity department: “They are the best in the business. The way they develop promotions is very specific.” He said the network focused on promoting a handful of its programs – MKR, the cancelled US series Last Resort which the network still has high hopes for, and Downton Abbey – rather than a broad selection.

Nine has been pushing its returning local tentpole series The Voice and Underbelly as well as new overseas programs Arrow and Parade’s End.

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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