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UPC Brings On Demand TV to Ireland

Last week UPC launched its groundbreaking new TV experience to its customers.

For the first time, this unique service offers customers the benefit of seven day catch-up TV from the RTÉ Player and 3player and over 1,300 hours of the best box sets and series for free. Additionally, Movies On-Demand is also available at the touch of a button.

Over one third of Dublin homes have instantly received the on demand service and it will roll out to the rest of the country throughout the summer to eventually reach 600,000 homes in Ireland.

Access to ITV, BBC and US box sets as well as the On Demand content from MGM, True Movies, Food Network, History and Discovery Channel will be available with further new programmes and content being added in the weeks ahead. Additionally, there are complete box sets of award winning US TV, such as Blue Bloods, The Good Wife and Dexter among others – available free of charge to UPC Select and Max customers through their UPC digital remote.

UPC has negotiated with the top Hollywood studios to allow customers to rent from hundreds of movies, including the latest box office hits, directly through their TV at the touch of a button. UPC will provide the latest release movies at the same time as they are available on DVD.

The on demand movies are very likely to pose yet further problems for Xtravision’s already struggling business model. We would anticipate an increased push behind their postal subscription service, although this still has nowhere near the ease of functionality that UPC is offering and does not provide a substantial cost saving.

The greater issue from a media planning point of view is the catch up TV service will most likely further fragment the viewing of TV as viewers also avail of online broadcast programme options.

Any viewers watching a programme on the catch up service rather than the TV broadcast (including anyone who recorded the programme and watched it later) will no longer be picked up by Nielsen as a TV viewer.

This will inevitably lead to a reduction in Nielsen monitored TV viewing – when fully rolled out the on demand service will be available in almost 40% of all homes.  Any reduction in monitored ad impressions will mean reduced supply for RTÉ and TV3 and may lead to price inflation (assuming demand does not reduce further than supply).

However, the viewers will not be lost; they will simply be watching the programme on a different feed. They will even be watching it on the same television set – as far as the viewer is concerned they are just watching the programme they want to watch on their TV, they will have no concept of which “feed” has supplied it.

Currently the catch up service does not carry advertising but the intention is that it will in the same manner as the online and mobile versions. The increased inventory the catch up service will provide for RTÉ and TV3 should also lead to deflation for “player” advertising be it either through straight reduction in cost per thousands or through the development of more optimized packages.

What we know for sure is that once the service is carrying advertising it will become even more important to ensure “player” advertising is incorporated into broadcast media plans since it will further blur the lines for the viewer about where they watch their TV and make it more about what they watch.

Chris Nolan – Director

As always, if you have any opinions- supporting or conflicting- on this post or related matters we’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to post replies below

From Newspaper to ‘Newsbrand’

The oft maligned newspaper industry has frequently been accused of being (for want of a better term), “yesterday’s news” but, in the UK at least, positive steps appear to have been made this past week to address the evolving environment that newspapers are currently in.

The Newspaper Marketing Agency (UK) has rebranded itself as Newsworks. Their core objective is to “help advertisers and agencies harness the power of national ‘newsbrands’ – in all their forms – to achieve their communication objectives”.  It is funded by six national newspaper groups in the UK including Guardian News & Media, Independent Print Limited, Mail Newspapers, Mirror Group Newspapers, News International and Telegraph Media Group.  The organisation provides a range of services including research, case studies, creative benchmarking and training.

So what is the reason for the rebrand?   As Roy Greenslade highlighted in his Guardian blog this past Monday, the rebrand is “indicative of the changed landscape of the news industry”, i.e. the ways in which people consume and engage with news content are changing before our very eyes.  The new reality for publishers is that while consumer appetite for news and entertainment has not dwindled, the platforms through which content is consumed has changed dramatically.  The advent of mobile technology via smart phone and tablet has made accessing information on-the-go much easier and is actively contributing to a change in the consumption patterns of news and entertainment content.  Although print circulations are in decline, the printed product is still obviously a huge part of the mix for ‘newsbrands’ but it is (and will continue to be) just that, a single part of a multi platform offering.

Rebranding their marketing body as Newsworks is a clear sign that the UK industry has accepted this new reality.  Just take a minute to look at the actual name, Newsworks.  It is a clear signal that the definition of the newspaper publisher is being redefined.  Publishers or newsbrands can no longer be defined solely on the production of a daily printed product.  At their core, they are providers of content, whether it covers news, lifestyle, entertainment or sport.  Newsbrands still have huge influence within society and have the innate ability to generate debate amongst both the general public and rival media. According to Newsworks, in the UK, although the methods of content consumption and distribution of newsbrands content is becoming more varied, the rate at which people are beginning to access newsbrands on digital platforms is increasing faster than print readership is contracting.  This is clear evidence that the core offering from newsbrands is still relevant, important and being actively sought out by consumers.

The future for what we used to term ‘newspapers’ is clear.  It is now time to embrace it.

Garret Monahan – Head of Press

*Image courtesy of user sparkle glowplug on flickr

Carat Case Study: Lucozade YES Launch

Taking the new globally-developed Lucozade masterbrand positioning and making it contextually relevant and engaging at a local level.

Our challenge was to rapidly establish the new Lucozade promise brought to life through the “YES” messaging, and to contextualise its deeper meaning into the DNA of each individual brand. All the individual brand communications could then ladder up to a stronger Lucozade “voice”.

The Lucozade brand had high levels of awareness and appeal, particularly among its core young male customers, but needed to make the Lucozade masterbrand positioning clear and relevant to their world. The most valuable consumers were ‘now activists’ – ruled by sociability, symbols and newness. Finding, absorbing and sharing content first was highly motivating for them. And no brand in the soft drinks category was delivering this.

The big idea was simply to treat the launch not as an ad campaign, but rather the release of new content. The campaign was launched through a planned eco-system of activity, which defined the type and depth of communications we wanted to take place. This framework allowed us to prescribe the energy-flow behind each media channel’s role at each stage of the customer response to the campaign, rather than simply
stating which channels to buy. Within the eco-system, every piece of activity has an effect on everything else within it, ensuring early pull-through from our now
activists. Lucozade’s eco-system had 3 key areas that had to integrate and relate to one another to ensure a cohesive launch behind the new brand promise. The purpose of each phase was to generate consumer expression, not impressions, primarily judged by the success of the new Facebook profile.

The three phases were:

  1.  SEED

The basis of this was to launch in a big way, but in very select environments, leveraging the viral nature of our core consumers.
We made an event of the days around the launch day by dominating all key channels (including roadblocking the entry points to social media, solus ad breaks and multiple video news releases across TV, extensive use of online video ads and specific movie targeting in cinemas).
We switched to a higher frequency of different ad executions across TV and online video. Media partnerships provided new and exclusive content for Lucozade, which was published through the Facebook profile allowing our now activists to get this to their peers ahead of anyone else.


Our success is measured by the high number of most valuable consumers we are regularly engaging with “YES” through our Facebook profile. Within 6 months we went from 0 – 33,000 members, which was also the highest number of an Irish Facebook profile page within the CSD category. The profile was also ranked within the top 30 of Irish profiles within this time period. While these standard industry measures demonstrated massive success, the deeper social media expression measures were even more impressive. The activity achieved an interaction rate five times the industry average and an unlike rate a third of the general marketplace.

For more examples of great media work, you can get in touch with me on 01 271 2139

Ciaran Cunningham – CEO

As always, if you have any opinions- supporting or conflicting- on this post or related matters we’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to post replies below.

UPC Launch Three New RTÉ Channels


UPC are increasing their offering this week with the launch of three new RTÉ Digital channels. RTÉ One+1 launched on Tuesday the 13th March while RTÉ Two HD and RTÉjr, their children’s offering, launch today, Thursday 15th March.  The new channels will be available to all UPC Digital customers. SKY will carry RTE One+1 and RTEjr from May.

RTÉ Two HD will be a big draw for sports fans, broadcasting the RBS 6 Nations triple header this Saturday as well as Champions League games, key GAA championship fixtures and many more key sporting events across the year in high definition. RTÉjr will carry no advertising during preschool hours of 8:30am and 15:15. The channel will simulcast RTÉ2 until 15:15 and will then run on a loop until 19:00 when RTEOne+1 will kick in. As with the RTÉ player, Fair City will not be broadcast on RTÉ One+1 due to rights issues so the channel will be blank over this period.

“UPC is committed to bringing our customers the best possible Digital TV service and we are the only pay-TV provider to carry the RTÉ One+1 (EPG 107), RTÉ Two HD (EPG 135) and RTÉjr (EPG 600) channels,” said Simon Kelehan, head of TV, UPC. “The addition of these channels to our digital package offers our customers more television choice than ever before.”

Currently these channels are not tracked by Nielsen, however RTE One+1 is due to be monitored in the next 4 weeks with the other 2 having data in the next 6 weeks.

Until now RTÉ One +1, RTÉ Two HD and RTÉjr were only available to the 49,000 Saorview homes. The latest Nielsen data estimates 340,000 UPC Digital homes.

RTE One +1, RTE Two HD and RTEjr are available to Saorview customers at present, which translates to 49,000 homes. The latest Nielsen data estimates that there are a further 340,000 UPC Digital homes who can now benefit from these latest offerings.

Sarah Murphy – Broadcast Director

As always, if you have any opinions- supporting or conflicting- on this post or related matters we’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to post replies below

High Levels Of Media Meshing In Ireland

Carat recently partnered with IAB and Amarach research to try to gain a greater understanding into the habits of TV viewers while they’re watching TV. As we all suspected, TV viewers are spending rather a lot of time online while simultaneously watching TV, so our research was designed to quantify the extent to which this was happening and to dig a bit deeper into what’s now known as “media meshing” or “second screening”

The research showed that an impressive 78% of TV viewers go online while watching TV. Even more interesting were our findings into what they’re doing online while watching TV. While the majority (53%) are social networking, 40% are doing their banking and 34% are on Google looking for information or just surfing in general. In fact, social networking has been frequently credited with encouraging a revival of certain TV programmes, as viewers simultaneously engage with programmes via Twitter and Facebook, notice the number of programmes currently running with hashtags promoted on screen.

Interestingly for advertisers, 1 in 5 who are online while watching TV are actively searching for brands or information on brands they have seen on TV, making it important for advertisers to upweight search budgets around TV advertising. In addition, a high proportion of those surveyed are also searching online for the TV commercials they’ve seen or the music within these commercials. YouTube is the first place they go to try to find commercials, making YouTube an increasingly important channel as a support for TV.

This clearly showed that the effectiveness of TV campaigns can be amplified through complimentary online activity. Canny advertisers should be looking at other ways to drive interactions now, including but not limited to; treating youtube as a search engine, much like Google, to help distribute the message, and looking for improved methods of engagement like Shazam, if the music is catchy, or perhaps incorporating a twitter presence into sponsorship. To name just a few.

This research was published in conjunction with IAB Ireland and the full presentation is available here, or you can get in touch with us here at Carat to receive a copy of the full report.

Shenda Loughnane – Head of Digital

*Image courtesy of user gabrielsond at www.flickr.com

As always, if you have any opinions- supporting or conflicting- on this post or related matters we’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to post replies below

Online Didn’t Kill The Video Star

The latest video from the band OK Go was released online on the 4th February and has already reached over 16,000,000 total views on YouTube as well as hundreds of blog posts and almost hundreds of thousands of Facebook shares.

They are most famous musically for their song “Get Over It” released in 2003, but their real fame came from their intricate music videos all filmed in one shot starting with “Here it Goes Again” which they also performed live at the MTV Awards in 2006.

From that point on they have been a shining example of how effective the digital world is at distributing good content.

Their most successful video to date is for “This too shall pass” featuring a Rube Goldberg machine designed and built by the band over the course of several months.To date it has had 34,000,000 views on YouTube, 1,900,000 shares on Facebook and 8,700 blog posts.

They are no strangers to partnering with brands- as the current video (which was made in partnership with Chevrolet) shows, and their incredibly impressive video for “All is not lost” which can only be properly viewed using Google’s Chrome browser.

Their use of digital for distribution is excellent and now the words “new video from OK Go” are enough to garner several million views within a number of days. But this is entirely due to the quality of the work. Every video has been expertly crafted (despite an intentionally very amateur feel to them) and have all had an inordinate amount of work and planning put into them.

If you build it, they will come – so long as what you build is impressive and people enjoy watching it.

Chris Nolan – Director

*Image courtesy of user eastscene at flickr.com 

As always, if you have any opinions- supporting or conflicting- on this post or related matters we’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to post replies below