Paul Maher: NZ television offers exceptional value

Believe me, television is great! OK, so when I say that TV is cheap everyone groans, raises their eyes and says I’m paid to say that! They’re right, I am paid to say that. But it’s true!

I’ve been lucky to have worked in both the media owner and media buyer side, across a wide variety of markets from New Zealand and Australia to China, Japan and North America and for some of the world’s largest advertisers including P&G and Coca-Cola.

I can tell you that we are exceptionally fortunate in New Zealand – television is accessible, it’s affordable and Kiwis love it.

Television in New Zealand builds reach with a pace that is unheard of in most markets around the world, with average audiences consistently over 10 –15 Tarps. With the exception of Hong Kong that doesn’t happen in any market in Asia Pacific.  In the US to secure a 2 Rating (TARP) is exceptional, in Canada we had an average across the P&G portfolio of 0.3 Rating. We have a selection of the best content from NZ and around the world and that allows us to achieve BIG audiences that build reach FAST! That speed allows you to build your brand or message more efficiently than any other market, and it’s cheap. It’s cheap relative to other markets around the world and cheap relative to other media in New Zealand.

Of a basket of 16 markets around the world New Zealand sits in the bottom third. When you compare New Zealand’s cost per thousand (cost to reach a 000 audience in Peak) to other developed markets in the Asia Pacific the numbers are astounding; We are 70% cheaper than Hong Kong, we’re 60% cheaper than Australia and we’re more than 40% cheaper than Singapore. (source: Starcom MediaVest APAC 2010).

Average CPM Comparison

Yes it’s cheaper on a CPM basis to advertise in markets like China and India given the population size of those markets but we should compare ourselves to other developed markets – in those terms we are incredibly affordable.  Add to that the ability to build reach fast and you have a winning combination.

And It’s a relatively simple process here.  In managing our negotiations in China for P&G (a USD$400M account) we had over 3,500 TV stations on contract!  A long way from the handful of Networks to negotiate with in New Zealand.

Add to all of this the efficiency of Television in New Zealand vs other media, then TV in this country is very affordable. TV in 2010 had a CPM (cost per 000) against adults of $16.91, compare this to Newspapers at $32.25, Radio at $32.23 and Magazines at $77.00. That means to reach New Zealanders it’s roughly 50% cheaper to use TV than Newspapers and Radio and 78% cheaper than Magazines (source: OMD New Zealand).

CPM Predictions

And that’s without talking about relative effectiveness of TV vs other media which is a whole other article.  But I will tell you that every study that I have seen around the world shows that TV out performs other media in terms of ROI and effectiveness, and that’s in markets where the gap between media is much closer!

I’ve been a media planner most of my life, I’m not suggesting that other media doesn’t work, I’m not suggesting that other media doesn’t have their role, I do believe that Television offers exceptional value in this country.  Yes I’m paid to market and sell Television. The facts however aren’t mine, they come from independent media buying organisations. So next time you consider where to invest marketing funds have a good look at TV. It offers exceptional value, massive reach and ultimately will make your brand perform and deliver results.


Paul Maher is the former Head of Sales and Marketing at TVNZ, prior to this Paul was Asia Regional CEO and on the Global Management Board of Starcom MediaVest Group, one of the world’s largest media buyers. He has held senior roles in media in New Zealand, Canada and Australia.