Broadcasting is broken – and Fairfax is hoping its new model can fix it.
Publishers around the world are embracing visual media to try and fill the financial void, and Fairfax will join that brigade with its soon-to-launch local IPTV arm.
According to Fairfax Media’s Sandra King, it’s a natural step for Fairfax: it already specialises in content generation; its journalists are already out in the field filming; production capacity has been increased as online video has taken off; and there’s a belief within the organisation that content needs to be “platform agnostic”.
“Whether the audience is interested in food or gardening, we can [generate content] better than anyone and cover the length and breadth of New Zealand,” she said.
APN already has its booming news-only nzheraldTV and many traditional print-based entities (including Tangible Media) are looking towards video production, with many clients who say they don’t have the budget for display advertising seemingly able to find the cash if a good creative multimedia solution can be offered. Overseas, The New York Times already has a TV offering, it’s also very common among European media companies and the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age launched their TV arms about two months ago.
King said Fairfax has been making short form video, or “programettes”, for a long time now for the likes of Leigh Hart’s Rugby Mundo show, The Breakdown and Fashion Week. So, in part, Fairfax TV will be an extension of that approach.
But it’s the approach to long-form content that sets this scheme apart and puts it more in the league of TVNZ and MediaWorks. It’s signed a deal with the ABC and is in discussion with other studios and TV manufacturers, with the end goal being to include a Fairfax TV app on the ever-increasing number of smart, internet-enabled TVs (King says there are about 100,000 of them in the country now).
As for who’s going to pay the bills, content co-creation with clients (possibly more colloquially known as advertorial) will be a big area of focus, with brands able to link themselves with specific channels.
King said Fairfax would be happy to strike up a relationship with anybody who asks, which isn’t entirely surprising given its latest financial statements.
So far the market has responded positively to the offer, with every agency they’ve pitched to getting a brief for at least one of their clients.
“It’s really exciting. In terms of creating content, it can actually be on every screen,” she said.
“Consumer behaviour has changed so much. They want to watch whatever they want whenever they want. TV recorders mean people are skipping the ads, so it’s not a giant leap to think consumers will have a direct relationship with studios.”
This story originally appeared on StopPress.