What marketers need to know from Mediacorp's first 'upfront'

Advertisers continue to grapple with how best to invest across digital and traditional media.

In its first ‘Upfront’ style event, Mediacorp showcased its latest offerings to advertisers and agencies, promising better value for money, measurement, and access to talent.

The media giant’s chief executive Loke Kheng Tham reiterated the swathes of changes it has made to its ad business in the past few months, while editor-in-chief Walter Fernandez, chief customer officer Irene Lim, and content boss Doreen Neo talked up what advertisers could be buying into this year.

Here’s what you need to know.

Improved metrics and revamped rate cards

Advertisers continue to grapple with how best to invest across digital and traditional media. In an attempt to address the challenge, Mediacorp has restructured its TV rate card to optimize it for parity with digital media, which it claims will result in potential savings of up to 80% for marketers.

It has also introduced all-in-one transmedia master contracts, which are long term advertising deals of at least 12-months with a minimum $100,000 spend that cover all of its multiple platforms, including CNA, Toggle and its radio stations.

Loke claimed the changes will offer more dynamic rates which consider seasonal rating changes and will also be reviewed regularly to reflect the actual rating performance and ensure advertisers are getting bang for their buck.

The chief exec said one outcome of the shake-up is that TV advertising has become more cost-effective for advertisers. The medium remains one of the most highly consumed media platforms in Singapore, with nine in 10 people (3.7 million people) watching free-to-air and cable TV on a weekly basis, and Loke said it remains one of the most effective platforms for reaching mass audiences.

But with the introduction of a blended model of optimizing video buys through its blended cost-per-viewer (CPV) model, it wants to help advertisers only spend what they need, when they need to.

The model aims to provide optimal reach at the most cost-effective rate across Mediacorp’s TV channels as well as its over-the-top platform, Toggle, and YouTube.

“Clients with long term commitments through Mediacorp’s popular Master Contract programme will no longer have their advertising spends tied to specific media. They can now freely deploy their budget across TV, radio, digital and out-of-home media, thereby leveraging multiple advertising opportunities to suit clients’ changing needs.”

This is now used by over 20 advertisers in Singapore like Knorr, Unilever, Magnum and Pizza Hut.

But media agencies want more…

While the likes of Unilever were showcased as examples of the success some brands are seeing from Mediacorp’s ad offering, some agency vendors used the event to push for more.

Jacqui Lim, the chief executive officer of Havas Media in Singapore, praised Mediacorp’s revamped rate cards and attempts to bring parity to its pricing across media. However, she suggested it would be helpful to bring better measurement capabilities into the mix.

“With programmatic TV, we won’t have problems with matching and there will be a more unified currency, which means the measurement of engagement and interaction would improve,” she said. “That would show clients you are creating more engagement for them and turn around some of the mindset.”

It’s understood Mediacorp is trying to deliver this in the coming year.

Branded content

During the event, Mediacorp’s chief customer officer Lim also talked up the company’s branded content and product placement with brands, stressing that marketing is “no more about the stuff you sell, but the stories you tell.”

She showcased Mediacorp’s work with Huawei to promote its nova 3i mobile phone amongst millennials before its official launch in Singapore. Using Spop Sing!, a singing competition to promote local music and uncover raising talents in Singapore, Mediacorp used roadshows, activations and the finale event for on-ground engagements where consumers got to experience Huawei phones.

Lim claims the company over 1.7 million viewers on Channel 8 through its 10 episodes, including audition short clips released from June 2018, where the show received over 816,000 video views on its over-the-top platform Toggle.

In addition, Mediacorp recorded over 13 million social media impressions, 740,000 unique viewers for TV ads, and over 3 million video views across the digital network, which led to a sell-out for the nova 3i phone when it finally launched.

Lim said Mediacorp is also looking to do the same brands with Kin, a long-form drama series with 130 episodes, the Fried Rice Paradise musical and its annual talent competition, Star Search 2019. Upcoming new releases like The Good Fight is also under consideration

Influencer marketing

Like many other media organisations, Mediacorp is trying to work out how to eek more value from the talent sitting within its walls. The company currently has many of Singapore’s top TV artists and personalities in its stable and have previously set up The Celebrity Agency to allow these 100 or so celebrities to become official brand ambassadors.

However, tapping into the rise in influencer marketing, Mediacorp has also launched Bloomr.SG, which aims to help content creators in Singapore produce branded content.

Chief content officer Neo claimed the creators are already producing a wide range of content like vlogs, gaming, comedy, animation, DIY, make-up hauls and talk shows, with Mediacorp providing mentorship as well as access to its digital resources.

News is a ‘brand safe’ environment

Advertisers have been accused of directly funding, or at minimum not taking enough responsibility to avoid funding, socially damaging content including fake news. Fernandez, the editor-in-chief of all Mediacorp’s news channels and platforms, was at pains to assure advertisers that news offers a credible, trusted, safe and space for their brands.

He pointed to Edelman Trust Barometer which showed that 71% of the public still trusts traditional media and in Singapore, Mediacorp’s news channel CNA ranks second in brand trust, behind the BBC.

Fernandez claimed that CNA has seen an increase of 25% engagement in news and 15% increased in news shared. This has encouraged Mediacorp to launch CNA Lifestyle, which he said became the number one lifestyle brand in Singapore in March after it achieved 829,000 unique visitors. CNA has also launched a luxury programme under CNA Lifestyle, which has achieved 85,000 viewers.

He also highlighted CNA’s coverage of the 2018 Trump-Kim summit, 2018 Malaysia general elections and Thai cave rescue, which achieved millions of views and engagements on social and TV, as well as made successful use of tech like augmented reality.

Fernandez told advertisers to consider backing CNA Talk, a new radio show to replace its current news station 938 Live. The later part of the year will see Mediacorp launch the CNA Leadership Summit, which will bring in some of the largest brand name speakers to talk about innovation in the region.

Additional reporting by Jen Faull

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