I went to the TV

I went to ABC Q & A #qanda to hear Treasurer Joe Hockey present his Intergenerational Report in a special show. I got in the front row which I thought may have been sign of my amazing attractiveness for TV but the producer lady then said she saw me limping and didn’t want me to have to go up steps so now both my leg and my dreams are crushed. 

There was a man playing Johnny Cash songs on a harp which was pretty excellent and some ABC cuts austerity snacks which included: 

1. water

2. Minties

3. Mentos (the coloured fruity ones which should be called Fruitos IMO)

Quite a lot of security to get into the studio which is understandable after deranged Monis did some hostage taking outside Channel 7—wavey wands and bag searches and all that. Then the Executive Producer Peter McEvoy did a Meerkat stream of the audience so you can’t accuse ABC of not being early adopters. Thrifty on snacks, yes but behind the times they were not. 

sneaky photo: an Intergenerational Report special. Joining Tony Jones is Treasurer Joe Hockey; Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen; ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie; CEO of Australian Chamber of Commerce Kate Carnell & public policy expert John Dale 

The floor manager lady then tells everyone to turn their devices off like being on a plane except this time, it’s actually for real that it interferes with transmission. I took a quick photo before the lock down and this was very difficult for my feelings because seeing screens in the studio with live tweet stats and not being able to tweet created FOMO even though I was not missing out and actually there for real \_(ツ)_/¯

The cameraman has photos of the panel people stuck to his camera which is clever isn't it?
Trying to explain tax policy, superannuation, housing affordability, education and employment and pretty much life and the universe for the next three generations was a bit hard work on a panel discussion so you might need to read the report and study five years of postgraduate economics and do some industry workshops and then you’ll probably still have no idea. Running a country is hard. 

Speaking of reading reports, Nielsen put out another one of theirs and Q & A came out in the top most tweeted shows at number five (excluding sport). No surprises that that Superbowl took out the top sport number for Australia which provides me with an opportunity to use this Left Shark gif

left shark forever

The new stats which show unique authors and tweet numbers are quite handy and show the live audience numbers. I know that everyone loves to destroy any form of social media audience number but it’s a start and if there’s one thing we can learn from Left Shark, the budget audience metrics and my limpy leg, you don’t have to have it perfect to go-live. 

Watch the full show on abc iView --AU only 

Research: Online video growing but Millenials still watching trad TV

I’ve just been flicking through the latest comScore US TV report and a couple of things jumped out

1. The idea that Millenials (18-34 yrs) don’t watch traditional TV is not entirely right. Yes the trad TV numbers are decreasing and viewing is shifting to mobile devices but it’s about a 1/3 of users and there is still a significant audience on the big blue bar. 

2. The main driver for watching TV content on the internet is schedule flexibility and convenience. Skipping ads and cost were are lesser factors in this study

The recommendation from Omnicom to move 10-25% of TV ads dollars to online video sounds ballparkish sort of right (depending on your audience and product type yada yada of course) and remember that customers are following the high quality content so they might be watching full episodes online and on traditional TV.  

full report if you want to have a look: US total video report October 2014

A conversation with Sir John Kirwan on mental wellness

On Saturday I went along to ‘a conversation with Sir John Kirwan' which combined his book launch with World Mental Health Day and Mental Health Awareness Week #MHAW14 

"doing those TV ads was the scariest thing I've ever done", Sir John Kirwan in stylish tan boots w pink/purple sock combo

If you don’t know who John Kirwan is, he is always high on the most trusted person in New Zealand list and that’s a little bit because he was an All Black and a lot because he is the front man for a series of mental health TV ads that are amazing and basically changed the whole conversation around mental health in this country. He’s also the current coach of the Auckland Blues rugby team.

Draft FCB- Mental Health Foundation TV ads smashed the mental health services

Thankfully, the MC person cut off all the yawn-fest rugby chatter and went straight into the topics he normally speaks on: depression as an illness not a weakness and how to care for self and others.  John told his story of ‘having it all’ and being a shaking, anxiety-ridden mess unable to communicate his fears and the very real physical symptoms that made his life hell. 

I think that was the main thing that made me stop and think. We spend a lot of time looking at the causes and trigger events for anxiety, depression, panic attacks and the like, yet if someone has heart disease or cancer we get them straight into specialist care for diagnosis and treatment.  Truth is, we probably don’t have a lot of the services that we should have for mental health and it’s going to take a while before our services catch up as we have only just started talking about it and acknowledging depression as a real thing.  I know some people are a little critical in the ‘it’s alright for him because he’s an All Black and he has money and can pay for private treatment and therapy'  sense and he openly talked about that. People in the audience shared their stories both positive and negative of their experiences of trying to get help for themselves and others. I think the fact that 150 people could sit in a room and freely talk about their personal challenges with empathy and a desire to see things improved is a huge step forward in one generation.  Thanks for the TV ads John. 

"Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, you’re of no use to anyone else if your mental health isn’t right"

me + JK

I was especially happy to hear him talk about ‘everyday wellness’ and slowing down to appreciate the little things as I think, in business especially, we associate rest with holidays and taking time off which has never made any sense to me. I don’t necessarily want time off or annual leave, but I do want to be able to contribute in a way that’s sustainable so I don’t lose my mind and get unhealthy and frustrated and have to keep working against myself all the time. We focus on the two weeks off and not doing the other 50 weeks in a more human way which hopefully will start to change as people start to realise that you can enjoy your work and not have to hold out for holidays your whole life. 

John went over the importance of getting fear out in the open and talked about it in the context of getting his current, dream job as the coach of the Auckland Blues. 

 “You’re either the coach that’s just been sacked or the one waiting to get sacked”

"can you Photoshop the side on one- I'm a fat b*stard at the moment" -I tried a tasteful crop John...

Leadership and coaching is serving and giving unconditionally to your team and not expecting anything in return. The grind can be draining and the anxiety of ‘what if it doesn’t work out’ can screw with your chances of getting on with the job and making good decisions. Admitting that you’re not bulletproof and that you need to prioritise, small everyday things like cooking a meal, going for a walk or reading a book can keep you anchored as the inevitable waves of challenges like media criticism, team blow outs and losing/failure occur. 

His book focuses on raising teen boys and the need to educate young people about stress, fear and symptoms of depression so that people won’t have to go through “the six or seven years of medication and therapy” like he had to. John also wants to drive change for adding mental wellness and stress management as part of the high school curriculum which I think is a winner. I think perhaps the other JK (Prime Minister John Key) might be getting a phone call. 

“Put it on your knee. Don’t put it in the cupboard”

Talk to your fear and anxiety. Get it out in the open and become self aware about what you’re experiencing.  It was a long walk out for John and he still works on it everyday and I think that’s an important message too. 

More information Mental Health Foundation

The one book you need to understand how TV actually works

I love TV and one Sunday afternoon I picked up a book at a dodgy secondhand book store on K Road that completely changed my understanding of it. You see, most new media discussion on TV falls into three broad categories: how people get TV, how people consume TV and how it's made and funded. I didn't know much about the third part until I read this book and parts of it have since been made into a documentary so you can learn about TV, on TV -amazing. 

1. How people get TV
There are two main ways you get TV -over the internet like Netflix or via a satellite type set-top box thing like Foxtel or Tivo. That’s about it. There are channel offers and the product stuff, trying to increase the ARPU by bundling with data and mobile phones and things. Newish player like telcos are going to extraordinary lengths to convince everyone that what they have is something different but it’s usually not really. 

2. How people consume TV
Then there’s the ‘how people consume TV’ part which is on new devices like mobile and marathoning episodes, on demand viewing, time shifting and that side of things and how it impacts on audience and media buying. Getting warmer and slightly more interesting. Twitter, Twitter Sport and second screen viewing has really revitalised interest in this side of TV and tapping how live viewing with other people in community works. 

3. How people fund TV and content quality
Government and private sector funded TV production and distribution. Now this is the really interesting part and I would like to learn a lot more and see more discussion about this side of TV. It’s usually nodded to as ‘quality content’, ‘viewers will pay for quality content’,’advertisers want to work with quality content’.  

So what's the book?

Kerry Packer was the master of wrapping desirable, cost effective to produce content in a model that advertisers wanted to buy and consumers wanted to lie on the couch and watch with his invention of one-day cricket. One of the most important things you can do in your life is read the book The rise and rise of Kerry Packer. You will learn how TV actually works and also how to get the government to buy you an $800 million satellite with taxpayer money so you can launch a pay TV network. It’s extraordinary. The documentary Howzat! Kerry Packer’s War is also well worth a watch

Kerry Packer Melbourne Cricket Ground

Downton Abbey costs $1.5 million an hour to make. According to a Screen Australia report on television funding, the adult drama it supports costs about $1 million an hour. Overall, drama in Australia costs about $550,000 an hour to make, compared with documentaries at $250,000 an hour, a comparative steal.

When you see it
It costs Australian broadcasters far less to buy shows from overseas. It varies widely, but even if there is a bidding war for the top shows, the upper range would peak at about $150,000 to $200,000 an hour.

If you were a broadcaster trying to please your shareholders, why wouldn't you just concentrate on buying overseas blockbusters instead of making an Australian drama? Well, because the government tells you to; 55 per cent of programming on the main commercial channels has to be Australian, except for the overnight shift when anything will do.

Let that sink in. 
Once you get that part of the equation, things like why Disney paid what it did for Pew Die Pie and how much Tyler Oakley makes off YouTube suddenly make sense. Ridiculous amount of money going through streaming companies for major league baseball live sport rights would seem completely logical to Fanta-drinking Kerry Packer. 

Three is the hard part for commercial media and it’s the hard part for branded and owned media like your company YouTube channel or video posts. Products like Google Hangouts suddenly become more interesting to work with when you stop and remember it’s not costing you the 60-100k an hour it costs networks to make a live news chat show. 

Three is the hard part. The content. Releasing a re-stickered set top satellite box and bundling it with other services is a little bit interesting but not really.Measuring how audiences behave and interact with content is getting warmer but getting quality, desirable, cost effective content is hard and any discussion about TV without that crucial piece just misses the point. 

Further reading: Australia - Pay TV - Historical Analysis - 1994-1997 

My media is better than your media

When you get a TV person and a radio person and a print person and put them on a media panel, they will sit and talk about why their media is better than everybody else's. 

The TV person will say that broadcast TV is a cost effective way to tell a story and reach a large audience. 

The radio person will say that radio is agile and had lower production costs.

The print person will say that print holds authority and can convey technical product information. 

All three of these statements are true and useful for campaign strategy. 

The brand marketer thinks media mix and media plans so you need to educate them on real events when your media works at its best- and also be brave enough to tell them when it won't work so well. 

If traditional media companies want to stay competitive and provide trustworthy information to their agencies and advertisers, they need to communicate a multi-channel strategy and show how integrated campaigns deliver effectiveness. 

The tech companies are taking ground in the media environment by working collaboratively and providing options for consumers to build and share portfolios of media that suit their audiences.  TV versus radio versus print versus online is not useful when the marketer wants to buy and campaign across multiple channels.