Mike Connaghan claims government needs better content, in new industry report

Mike Connaghan, the former WPP AUNZ chief executive who became News Corp’s commercial content lead mid last year, has claimed the government should turn to longer form content in a new report out of K7 Media, a global media consultancy.

“Government should also do better in their content creation and messaging,” Connaghan said. “Governments in any normal year are the biggest advertiser. In a COVID year they are even bigger. Longer form integrated content is a great way to get a lot of information out there. It’s really an untapped area for the government to use longer form content better.”


The report, which focuses on brand funded programming and the way COVID-19 has impacted TV advertising, also included insights from Tourism Australia’s general manager of PR, social, and content, Anita Godbeer.

“Ultimately what we are striving for is long-term brand equity and emotional connection. And that emotional connection can be easier for a brand like Tourism Australia,” Goldbeer said.

“What we want is for people to either act immediately or to provoke an emotional connection that resonates over time… This year we haven’t done a lot of traditional advertising because borders have closed. So, we have been focused on what we call ‘dreaming content’ – something we’ve really leaned into, but which is still in development phase.”

Tourism Australia’s pandemic advertising efforts have included the revival of its Holiday Here This Year platform, fronted by Hamish Blake and Zoe Foster-Blake, a livestream campaign, and a series of immersive videos.

K7 Media provides consultancy services to broadcasters, streaming platforms, distributors, and production companies. The report claimed that brand funded programming has filled the void left by spots usually filled by cash-strapped advertisers, and featured interviews with 26 industry experts from markets including Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, United States, and China.

Hannah Barnes, the co-author of the report, added that, “with consumers engaging with content in different ways for some time now, even before the pandemic, we’ve seen brands move away from traditional advertising.

“This shift has seen brand funded programming benefit significantly and we can see this happening in Australia. The pandemic seems to have inspired brands and content makers to think differently which has resulted in lots of examples of creative and truly compelling content on our screens.”

While the local ad market crashed by as much as 40% last year, during the worst of the pandemic, recovery has begun, with spend up 2% in December after November’s growth short-circuited more than two years of consecutive decline.


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