Features

SBS upfronts: Buyers commend depth and strength of programming

This week media agencies and brands came together at Barangaroo to witness the last of the 2019 TV upfronts: SBS. Senior media executives reflect on SBS' proposition, and where it fits in the market.

This week the last of the television networks, SBS, unveiled its 2019 plans.

The lunch, led by newly appointed managing director, James Taylor, will filled with new Australian content spanning across all platforms, from SBS On Demand to the main channel and SBS Viceland.

SBS, which operates under a hybrid funding model, has been commended for its unique and rich content, as well as a strong vision.

Nicola Lewis, chief investment officer, Group M

What position do you believe SBS has in the market place?

SBS is a well-respected brand from both a content and media perspective. They have a well-defined clearly articulated strategy, that is fuelled by a very distinct and strong purpose. Their mantra to be bold and unapologetic, with innovation at the core, is clear when you consider the content slate.

The growth they have achieved both in terms of overall audience share and through SBS on demand is testament to that. SBS has a unique position and owns trust, purpose and relevance in this market.

Is SBS Viceland a proposition that continues to appeal to you?

Viceland has a very specific audience appeal, and I believe will continue to maintain relevance within the SBS family. It is encouraging to see SBS’s ongoing support of a younger, more urban viewer with a global outlook.

What about the SBS On Demand lineup? How does it compare to other BVOD services?

The SBS on demand line up is nothing but impressive. Season three of The Handmaid’s Tale is a great launchpad for any upfront, added to that new content such as Zero, Zero, Zero, Butterfly, Project Blue and The New Pope along with returning formats such a Vikings, and Trapped will enable SBS to continue their impressive on demand growth trajectory. On top of that, the UX is world class – allowing the content to be the hero of the offering.

What do you think SBS can offer to brands in 2019? Is there anything more you would have like to have seen this year?

SBS offers brands consistency in unique content, across the core pillars of news, sport, drama and food. With a constant re-invigoration of their main content pillars, specifically drama and food, offering advertisers stickiness through an engaged audience. In addition, SBS continued efforts in uncovering robust insight about Australia, and importantly Australians, through meaningful research pieces enables brands to navigate their way through a diverse audience via a channel that as SBS says “celebrates difference as well as similarities”.

Chris Walton, managing director, Nunn Media

Chris-Walton CEO Nunn Media

What position do you believe SBS has in the market place?

SBS has established a position for itself as the place to go for high quality, thought provoking content especially drama and documentaries. The look and feel of their content line-up clearly differentiates it from the other commercial FTA networks and that is very positive for them

Is SBS Viceland a proposition that continues to appeal to you?

Viceland is probably the one part of SBS’s output that I struggle with. They have enough strength in depth across their main content offering that I do scratch my head a bit wondering what they get out of it. Do they really need it? I imagine it takes up a lot of time, resource and money. What do they get out of it?

What about the SBS On Demand lineup? How does it compare to other BVOD services?

I think it is very good and shows no signs of becoming any weaker, quite the opposite in fact.  It is clearly performing very well. They have developed a very good library of content that their audience clearly wants to watch.  Good on them. They do need to reduce the level of repetition with the ad inventory though. Reducing CPMs for this will help get more brands on board. The high repetition of ads is annoying.

What do you think SBS can offer to brands in 2019? Is there anything more you would have like to have seen this year?

As usual I was impressed with the SBS offering. On a personal level I always leave with a big challenge in my mind – how the heck am I going to find time next year to watch all of the programmes that appealed to me? For brands I think SBS will continue to offer a high quality advertising environment for discerning audiences that are very hard (if not impossible) to reach on other commercial FTA networks.

Nickie Scriven, CEO of Zenith

What position do you believe SBS has in the market place?

SBS owns a very unique position in the market place in offering a diverse range of content and brilliant story telling. The depth, quality and diversity of their content across Australian and international drama, sport, food and news offers a compelling alternative to the Australian public.’

Is SBS Viceland a proposition that continues to appeal to you?

I think the more relevant question is does it appeal to consumers in general and to our advertisers, and my answer to this is yes.

What about the SBS On Demand lineup? How does it compare to other BVOD services?

The content slate on SBS On Demand is brilliant. There is so much on offer and I think SBS will continue to see strong growth of their BVOD services in 2019. The sheer depth and quality of their programming really differentiates them from other BVOD services.

What do you think SBS can offer to brands in 2019? Is there anything more you would have like to have seen this year?

SBS offers brands an opportunity to leverage a very engaged audience that come to SBS as a destination for compelling story-telling. The content line-up for 2019 is jam packed and exciting. I think SBS has a real opportunity in 2019 to broaden their audience and viewership as the content is powerful and appealing and provides a great alternative to the other free to air networks who’s content slates are tried and tested, but very familiar.

Andrew Livingston, managing director, Mediahub

What position do you believe SBS has in the market place?

SBS has a very differentiate proposition, not just with its purpose, but how that reflects in its content policy – It offers a genuine alternative to the other FTA players in terms of Audience and environment. SBS is a consumer destination – they are there because they choose to be (as with most programming/channels), but they are highly discerning and therefore highly valuable to advertisers.

Is SBS Viceland a proposition that continues to appeal to you?

Yes. I like the offering/content. Like everything SBS does, they are true to the Viceland brand, and consistent (again differentiating from other FTA whose strategies tend to be short-term).

What about the SBS On Demand lineup? How does it compare to other BVOD services?

Again it’s about breadth and differentiated content that delivers extended reach against key audience groups.  The consumer experience is good in terms of UX, limited amount of ad content and the content quality, this is appealing to advertisers. Factor in targeting capabilities and the platform becomes and very strong proposition in market.

What do you think SBS can offer to brands in 2019? Is there anything more you would have like to have seen this year?

SBS continues to go from strength to strength. They have a strong proposition, founded on a great vision for the business. The uniqueness of SBS lies in its quality of product not the scale of the audience, of course audience size is important, but to increase quantity and the cost of quality would be detrimental to its offer ad market position. So, no, happy with the incremental approach they have to product growth.

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