Duke on target

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TVNZ reports that its new channel Duke has made a big impact with viewers in a short period of time (it’s now been seen by over 1.7 million NZ viewers – verified by Nielsen – since it launched two months ago).

The entertainment channel has been available as a live stream across a range of devices and on Freeview and on Sky since March 20.

“Duke’s made a strong debut,” said TVNZ director of content Jeff Latch. “We’re rapt with its performance over its first eight weeks on air. There’s been a lot of buzz around our tent-pole shows like The Late Late Show with James Corden and Scam City, and people are loving that live sports have made a big return to free to air TV.

“Duke is delivering its target audience of younger male viewers – they’re traditionally hard audiences for advertisers to reach and they’re at the heart of the channel’s commercial proposition.

“Average weekly reach against the target audience of Males 18-39 has already grown to 80,000 – which puts Duke ahead of established channels like Comedy Central, Sky Sports 1 & 2, Discovery and The Box when compared to Duke’s broadcast hours of 6pm to midnight.

“The channel is well on track to achieve its first year audience targets.”

Duke’s line-up is comprised of 80% first run content and Latch says more new content will be injected in the next quarter.

“Viewers can look forward to a strong slate of new and returning dramas and comedies, which we know from their OnDemand and on air performance really resonate with our audience and provide a gateway to the channel’s other great content.

“We’ll also be screening brand new event factual series such as NRL Rookie, which will air simultaneously with Australia.”

Most of Duke’s viewers opt for live TV broadcast, with TVNZ pegging online streaming to increase. “Over 95% of our audience watch Duke on linear TV and we’re expecting online streaming to grow over time,” Latch said. “We’ve seen our online numbers spike around big sports games like the NBA playoffs, which goes to show that viewers love to keep up with the play no matter where they are.”

TVNZ commercial director Jeremy O’Brien reckons TVNZ has embraced a challenger mindset in taking the new channel to market. “We’re thinking like a start-up and we’re open to giving new things a crack in order to better serve our viewers and commercial partners,” he said.

“With Duke’s 100% live streaming we’re embracing changing consumer behaviour – putting our content in front of audiences where, when and how they want to watch it. With our new video pricing model based on CPM – cost per 1000 impressions – we’re piloting a new total video audience measurement, which builds a picture of the total audience watching across on air and online. We’re also taking a more flexible approach to commercial airtime and offering a lighter ad load, which means campaigns have stronger cut through.

“What’s exciting for us is that this is only the beginning. There’s strong market awareness coming off the back of Duke’s launch campaign. Regular polling shows a third of people know about Duke and that’s growing every day. Duke’s proven to be somewhat of a social media powerhouse, racking up a 25,000-strong following on social media in just two months. We expect the channel audience to grow further from here.”

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