Media Buyer Speaks Out on ThreeNews

Veteran media buyer John Dee says corporate media releases hailing the launch of ThreeNews as a success don’t tell the full story.

In a newsletter to clients, the founder of boutique Wellington agency JDee Media questions the use of data to make the claims and highlights how critical it is for Warner Bros. Discovery to grow ThreeNews’ viewership in its first month — the most-watched month of the year.

The newsletter was sent ahead of Monday’s ratings for the first hour-long edition of ThreeNews, which averaged 3.89% of its target audience, 25-54 year-olds — or 82,268.

1 News averaged twice as many, rating 8.31% and drawing 175,857 viewers in this key demo.

I don’t have the ratings for the previous Monday but a week earlier, on June 24, 1 News averaged 173,864 and Newshub 94,932 — or 12,000+ more viewers than ThreeNews two weeks later.

Here’s the newsletter Dee sent to clients:

ThreeNews launches but fails to fire

ThreeNews, the Stuff produced 6pm news show for Discovery, debuted on Saturday.

Saturday is not a big TV viewing day whereas Sunday is the biggest viewing day of the week so a truer indication of how ThreeNews performed.

Discovery’s PR blurb declared, ‘ThreeNews debuts with strong performance’. This statement they rationalised with viewing statistics but like all statistics one can easily find those that may look great but can be meaningless and that was the case here.

For both TVNZ 1 and Three, the key demographic is A25-54 (All People 25-54). ThreeNews Sunday for A25-54 the viewership was 64,949 compared to 104,858 the previous Sunday.

In the case of TVNZ 1, the viewership was 164,933 compared to 158,385 the previous Sunday.

A point worth noting is that after an All Blacks test the ratings for TVNZ 1 News the following day generally increases.

But even then we would not expect such a dramatic drop in viewership for ThreeNews from a week prior.

Although Discovery due to financial reasons shut down Newshub, the 6pm news is still of important strategic value as typically being the highest-rating show for the night it acts as the key lead in for the rest of the night’s audience viewing.

Sunday was no exception with ThreeNews being Discovery’s top-rating Sunday programme and 6pm News on TVNZ 1 being that channel’s top rating programme.

The challenge for ThreeNews, like any new product or service, is that you only have one chance to launch and if you fall short at launching then it becomes extremely difficult to try and win over new viewers.

July is the month where TV viewing is at its highest so its imperative that ThreeNews grows its audience in July otherwise the future is not looking great.

How ThreeNews looks to grow its audience will be interesting as to date there has been little evidence of external marketing to try and engage potential viewers.

This lack of marketing makes one wonder whether neither Stuff or Discovery thought it was their responsibility and thus not prepared to invest financially or simply believed that the awareness and existing 6pm news viewers would be enough to ensure a strong viewership.

Either way, it’s not a great look for two media companies that are constantly encouraging advertisers the need to invest in marketing and advertising!

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One Response to “Media Buyer Speaks Out on ThreeNews”

  1. It shows how meaningless the ratings share is when the pie just gets smaller and smaller. The only statistic that really counts is, as this media buyer points out, is the number of viewers. And when you actually calculate the number you realise how inconsequential the numbers are. And dont get me started on streaming statistics. Calculate the number of actual viewers of a show (on an average daily basis) and you can appreciate that Youtube and Netflix are virtually the only games in town nowadays.

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