NZME launches WatchMe – plus Vision division

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NZME is reporting a strong year in video content growth, launching more than 12,000 videos in 2015 which by the end of the year will have been viewed over 42 million times. Off the back of this increase NZME has invested in facilities and capabilities to generate custom content for clients across all platforms.

Group revenue director Laura Maxwell says the creation of NZME Vision is exciting for New Zealanders and clients.

“By 2019, video will make up 80% of internet traffic and one million minutes of video will be consumed online every second of the day,” she said. “The creation of this unit will allow us to meet that growing demand.

“With 27% of Kiwis viewing video online every week, a 44% year-on-year growth, advertisers are aligning their budgets to this key growth area, now we are a truly one-stop shop for their advertising solution.”

The NZME Vision leadership team has a pedigree in visual content. It’s commercially led by Cameron Death and creatively led by Jeremy Wells and Matt Heath.

While he’s a New Zealander, Death has been in the US for 20 years working in the marketing and content businesses. For more than a decade he ran digital products at Microsoft and was senior vice president and general manager at NBCUniversal Digital Studio and was chief revenue officer for Core Media Group.

Heath and Wells both have run their own production companies for the last 15 years as well as being experienced radio personalities, including the current Radio Hauraki Breakfast.

Heath has a motion graphics company, Vinewood, which made Back of the Y and a feature film – The Devil Dared Me To, which he also co-wrote and acted in. In addition to this he has worked as a producer on a number of shows for TVNZ and TV3, plus Channel Four in the UK. He is also a columnist for the New Zealand Herald.

Wells shot to fame in Eating Media Lunch – and much more since. His company Perendale TV produced The Grand Tour with the NZSO and all Meridian’s TVCs, in which he’s the host.

In addition, NZME is launching WatchMe (, a video-on-demand service driven by the NZME Vision team. Head of entertainment Dean Buchanan says the insight behind this launch was the observation of an overwhelming gap in the New Zealand market for a platform to support locally created content and talent.

“We want to encourage, identify and grow more creative talent in the New Zealand market,” he says. “There has been limited opportunity and platforms to showcase what New Zealand producers, filmmakers and creative talent can do. WatchMe’s comedy offering will be fully curated by Matt and Jeremy, their reputation in this area has resulted in significant interest and demand for involvement already.”

Wells says that while the platform will start with a small range of homegrown comedy pieces, NZME has plans to extend in number of shows and across the news and sport verticals also.

“Formats have changed. People don’t sit down for a scheduled length of time any more – if something is funny for five minutes then that is what it is. WatchMe is all about delivering video entertainment the way people want it today plus it’s free to view.”

Heath believes that there is a clear space for a New Zealand video-on-demand platform.

“We want to be involved in fun, short content made by Kiwis for Kiwis. For example, we find stupid stunts amusing and so do a lot of 18 to 25-year-old males so we made Stuntline, which is a four minute show that mixes the topics of the day with basically jumping off things.

“The luxury of this platform is that you can try a show easily and if people love it, we make a lot more episodes. If they hate it we try something else. We can seed shows, get real numbers and the audience chooses whether we make more or not. That’s the beauty of online. It’s a great job.”

Shows include The Civilian, which takes Ben Uffindell’s hugely popular satirical news site (with over 35,000 followers) of the same name, into a video series.  There will be a new series of Leigh Hart’s Late Night Big Breakfast and The Adventures of Suzy Boon – a half Chinese, half Maori young woman in the last week of her trial period at the Immigration Service of New Zealand, where the stakes are high and work is getting in the way of life.

Death confirmed NZ On Air recently announced their support for a number of programmes scheduled to appear on WatchMe.

“We’re thrilled with the support from NZ on Air and their commitment to New Zealand produced content. Now we have the complete proposition for clients to innovate.”

Laura Maxwell said: “Content is our core business and now clients can tap into our customised content creation skill sets across audio, visual, print, digital, events and experiential and we can deliver the content  on or off our assets.”

She confirmed that NZME Vision has already won commercial projects, and is currently working with BNZ and AA Smart Fuel.

WatchMe launched yesterday on

Synopses of the WatchMe Shows:

  • Late Night Big Breakfast – Target audience 18-34 male. Leigh Hart’s popular parody show crashes back into view, combining innovative sketch comedy, excruciating interviews, musical performance, spoof infomercials and the plain peculiar. Broadcast in the evening, LNBB is a breakfast TV show like no other. Key talent: Leigh Hart, Jason Hoyte.
  • The Civilian – Target audience 18-39 male and females. The television version of the successful satirical news website of the same name, Ben Uffindell hosts a humorous, topical look at the goings-on in New Zealand society, politics and sport. Uffindell’s considerable writing talent, along with former Eating Media Lunch creator Paul Casserly’s directorial skills delivers cutting-edge satire to a local audience. Seriously funny.
  • Yeti – Target audience 18-34 male. Cashing in on the woman-dressed-as-abominable snowperson New Zealand travelogue genre, Yeti is twisted comedy about a beautiful woman in a ‘yeti’ suit trying to understand New Zealand. Featuring street fights, giant flying heads and an alarming encounter with Steven Hawking. It’s weird. Featuring Natalie Medlock and Tom Sainsbury.
  • Suzy Boon – Target audience 25-44 males and females. The show follows the (mis)adventures of our hero, Suzy, who is trying to find where she belongs in this world – and by world she means New Zealand. She is at the last week of her trial period at the Immigration Service of New Zealand and stakes are high – there’s a lot to prove if she wants to stay on the job. Thing is, Suzy has a lot on her mind right now. Love, happiness, her own identity; you know, the works.
  • Meet Suzy – a half Chinese, half Maori young woman (just like Bic and Boh) who is trying to find where she belongs in this world – and by world she means New Zealand.
  • Like Mike – Target audience adults 18 – 34. Jeremy Wells’s popular impersonation of Mike Hosking will reach entirely new levels of WatchMe. Covering topics as wide ranging as Hosking’s love of European cars, his dislike of poor people and his on-going sexual attraction to John Key. An edgy parody of a highly paid NZ broadcaster.
  • Stuntline – Target audience 18-34 male. The country’s first stunt-based news and current affairs show hosted by daredevil Kiwi stuntman Randy Campbell. Talent: Randy Campbell.
  • Critic the Pig – Target audience adults 18 – 34. Some people take food very seriously, striving to understand flavours, textures and techniques. Other people like to eat their own body weight in a single sitting. Meet the Critic and the Pig, a hilarious, deliciously shot celebration of food. Two men of opposing culinary persuasions take to New Zealand’s dining establishments to eat, drink and argue. Talent: Vaughan Smith and Josh Thompson.

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