BOTW: Why are we waiting for Total TV data?; Retail media agenda revealed; Media stocks' big week
Welcome to Best of the Week, mostly written on Friday at beautiful Sisters Beach, after a classic 24 hours of Tasmanian summer. The fleece is back on, and the depleted water levels have risen nicely. It looks like we won’t have to send for the tanker this year after all.
Today’s writing soundtrack: Bruce Springsteen - Only The Strong Survive. With The E Street band back on the road in the US this week, I feel like I’m on the wrong continent.
Unmade - media & marketing through an Aussie lens is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support our work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.
Happy Shower With A Friend Day for tomorrow.
Today: How the TV industry is dithering on its digital data; a big week on The Unmade Index, and our creative campaign of the week goes to a challenger telco.
Did you miss yesterday’s earlybird discount deadline for RE:Made - Retail Media Unmade? Are you kicking yourself for not picking up a ticket while the price was just $236?
If you are, we’ve got some good flipping news. We had a couple of glitches in sending out our final reminders yesterday. So we’ve extended the deadline until 10am AEDT on Monday morning.
A little further down in this newsletter, our curator Cat McGinn reveals the program outline.
Jump on to the RE:Made site now to get your tickets before they go up on Monday.
Waiting for VOZ
We’re at the point where the commercial television industry should feel collectively embarrassed. For the biggest single medium, it’s become difficult to justify the lack of a daily number for how many people watched a TV show across all platforms.
VOZ, derived from the words ‘Virtual Australia’, will be the new TV industry reporting standard, measuring viewing across traditional broadcast, along with connected TVs, computers, tablets and mobiles. Eventually, it will likely become the main currency for total TV viewing.
Yet behind the scenes, the industry is now up to VOZ 5.0, as broadcasters, agencies and software suppliers try to agree how to get it out of the door.
Although it’s been dragging on for years now, the issue has become urgent for the TV networks, with the temporary audience lift of the Covid lockdown effect now well and truly over.
During 2020 and much of 2021, traditional broadcast viewing, as measured by OzTam, held up, with viewers captive in front of their TV sets. Now though the comparisons suggest a medium in rapid decline.
Take this week’s big launches of Married At First Sight on Nine, Australian Survivor on Ten and Australian Idol on Seven. Mumbrella quite legitimately compared the broadcast launches to previous years, starting with MAFS, which did overnight metro numbers of just 840,000 this year.
In linear terms, all viewing is in rapid decline, as Mumbrella pointed out. But it’s not the whole story.
The PR from the networks of course focused on additional digital viewing. That’s via a metric known as VPM (Video Player Measurement). The job of VOZ is to take in metro broadcast data from OzTam and its regional equivalent, and combine it with the VPM data and streaming TV meters. That will - when it launches properly - provide an unduplicated Total TV number which would accurately show incremental streaming viewing.
Until that’s available, the networks are going to struggle with the perception of fading audiences. For a story-telling medium, TV isn’t telling its own story very well at the moment.
The weekly VOZ reports, covering topline data, dried up late last year after launching in 2021. Instead, there’s now a message on the VOZ site saying these reports are “on hiatus in preparation for the next iteration of VOZ data in Q1 2023”.
That Q1 reference will vanish from the website soon enough too. Like fast trains between Sydney and Newcastle, and a Tasmanian AFL team, the moment is forever “soon” and never “now”.
New industry audience metrics are usually controversial, delayed or both, so VOZ is not exceptional in that regard.
Take the outdoor industry’s MOVE - Measurement of Outdoor Visibility and Exposure - metric. It launched twelve years ago, after five years of work behind the scenes. At the launch event they promised MOVE 2.0 would be along soon, and include seasonality data. We’re still waiting on that.
The newspaper industry’s now defunct EMMA - Enhanced Media Metrics Australia - readership currency took more than four years to bring to the market, and always struggled with credibility.
And, famously, the launch of OzTam in January 2001 was hugely controversial because Ten and Seven’s numbers improved at the expense of Nine which had disproportionately benefited from the old panel system skewing older.
It was a protracted war in which OzTam’s first CEO Ian Muir believed Nine was planting stories about him and his family in the press.
The three networks are the joint owners of OzTam. While the levels of hatred between them are not quite at the 2001 levels, relations are still bad at present. For a while, the creation of industry body Think TV in 2016 brought the main TV players together to promote the medium as a whole.
But things have worsened since. Ten, bruised by losing out on AFL and months of negative headlines, believes that rivals have been pushing negative stories about the network, and may not be wrong about that.
That creates an environment where working together to agree how VOZ will be launched and implemented is that much harder.
That’s unhelpful for marketers trying to understand whether TV remains the sensible investment it once was (it still is, by the way). And it’s bad for the industry, which has now fallen behind other global markets such as the UK, where the data is now flowing.
Putting creativity into retail media
RE:Made’s curator Cat McGinn writes:
Having more outstanding speakers, new research, case studies and perspectives than one can fit into a conference program is in many ways an excellent problem to have.
It’s also a testament to the diversity and depth of the sector that there is nuance and myriad (strongly held) opinions on almost every topic. RE:Made - Retail Media Unmade takes place in a month’s time, on March 2.
The content is taking shape. Below, I can share the outline of the program. Finding the right people to offer their insights on the areas we see as critical is a little like fielding a team of galácticos in fantasy football. More on the all-star lineup next week.
The intention has always been to offer both breadth and depth, and ensure that no matter whether your organisation is seeking to optimise their retail media network, or you’re scoping the requirements to begin the process, as a retailer or a marketer, you will leave at the end of the day with some clarity about the next steps.
We want to help make sure that delegates move from overwhelmed to (cautious) optimism.
We’re really excited to announce a session on creativity in retail media, and in particular on the intersection of creativity and technology. This focus hasn’t been explored in depth until now. The panel will examine the role of creative in retail environments, moving beyond a focus on vouchers and thinking in terms of product shots and price- to reinvigorate what’s possible for brand creative at point of sale.
Our industry has traditionally not held shopper work in the same high regard as the 30 second spot. Creative agencies in particular will need to reevaluate their approach to work for retail media networks, particularly in-store and online.
Among our panellists for this session is David Lo, the founder of The Zoo Republic, formerly chair of industry body APMA, the Australian Promotional Marketing Association. Lo is a well-respected champion of the promotional sector of adland.
There’s no question that the retail media ecosystem has a high degree of complexity; it requires alignment internally and with external parties. The potential returns are high, but no matter whether you build in house, outsource or adopt a partnership model, investment is required. The “leading the charge” session will offer an overview of the possible approaches, and set out some of the considerations at play.
Drawing on his agenda-setting report into retail media for PWC, Dan Robin’s presentation will outline a roadmap for success, providing guidance into the stages of retail media adoption and optimisation.
And as we announced last week, IAB Australia CEO Gai LeRoy will unveil the findings of the IAB State of the Nation report into retail media in Australia. It's designed for those responsible for advertising investment decisions working in media agencies, agency trading desks, creative agencies, and brand-side. If you’re on the buyer side, there is still time to share your experience via this link.
The RE:Made program:
International keynote: Retail Media: How to Power Growth for Retailers and Brands
Leading the charge: Emerging trends in Australian retail. How to scale, building for longevity in the sector, and evaluating the optimum ecosystem to deliver results (inhouse, outsourced or partnership models)
Roadmap to success An overview of the stages of transformation for retail media success for retailers and brands, covering: Governance and accountability; Privacy and data protection; Changing internal and external relationships
New frontiers in data: Navigating walled gardens, data clean rooms and what marketers and retailers need to consider in developing their data strategy for retail media
Reinvigorating creativity in retail media: How the intersection of creativity and technology can drive more engaged customers
Verification and value: Valuing retail media inventory - how to sell it, how to buy it, and the size of the prize)
The State of the Retail Media industry in Australia: Unveiling the results of the IAB research into the industry in Australia
Customer experience and the value exchange: The evolution of retail media; the customer experience; structuring for success
Leadership Q&A: A moderated panel discussion with some of the industry’s leaders, and an opportunity for audience questions
We’ll be announcing our full speaker lineup in the coming days. You can buy tickets on the RE:Made website.
Unmade Index surges
There was plenty of evidence of optimism in the Unmade Index this week, including a 3.17% jump in the index on Thursday, and a further 1.86% yesterday.
Yesterday’s biggest winner was ARN owner HT&E, which rose by 4.8%. But almost all of the ASX-listed media and marketing companies had a great week.
Only one company, Ooh Media, saw a price fall yesterday.
Since the start of the year, The Unmade Index has had a great run.
This week saw the biggest jump on the Unmade Index since the same time a year ago. Thursday’s leap of 3.17% was the second biggest since the index began, beaten only by a one-day jump of 4.17% back on January 28 last year.
However, for longer term investors, the index’s current 721.8 point level is still a long way off its 1000-point opening at the start of 2022.
Campaign of the week: Felix Mobile - Tree Parents
In an experiment over the next few editions (which may become permanent if readers find it useful), we’re teaming up with our friends at Little Black Book Online to highlight the most interesting marketing campaign of the week.
LBB Australia’s MD Toby Hemming writes:
It's been a long time coming but actions rather than words seem to be at last materialising when it comes to purpose led advertising. This campaign for Felix Mobile from Sydney based Paper Moose is a really smart and fun way of adding value to a telco brand without posturing or being too sanctimonious.
Planting a tree for every customer is positioned really cleverly as creating 'tree parents'. "Switch for the value, stay for the trees" is really hard to argue with.
Paper Moose’s CEO Nick Hunter explains more about the campaign at LBB Online
We’ve a busy week coming up, with Unmade now at full publishing pace for 2023. Abe Udy and I will be back on Monday with the Start the Week podcast.
I’ll be doing some of the week’s publishing on the road, with a quick trip to Hobart at the end of the week for Wrest Point’s 50th birthday. I’ve previously promised a couple of people in the industry to catch up next time I’m down, but for the life of me, I can’t remember who. If you’re in Hobart and fancy scheduling a coffee on Thursday or Friday, please do let me know.
Have an excellent weekend and don’t forget to grab that RE:Made ticket before the price goes up on Monday.
Publisher - Unmade
Unmade - media & marketing through an Aussie lens is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.