Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Its New Season Launch Time Again

That's right, it's that time again. New Season launch. Time to look at what are the programmers hanging their hats on this year.

As I tend to be quite negative on this blog, I've decided for this entry to change tack, and explain what I'm looking forward to.

First up, TV3.

Even though it was early, the TV3 Launch was great. Paul Henry MC'ed and dare I say it, he was quite charming. I'm sure most people enjoyed the digs at his previous employer and he really held the audience. I really enjoyed how Kelly took us through the entire schedule programme by programme basically, which meant I walked away from the presentation with a really good grasp of what they are going to be airing next year.

Highlights for me (and please note - these are NOT necessarily what I think will rate. They're the programmes that I will be watching)

  • The New Girl. Yes, it's on FOUR . I hope they promo the hell out of it. It's an adorable series. 
  • American Horror Story. Not sure how NZ will react to this, but it looks incredible and has an amazing cast.
  • Homeland. Clare Danes doesn't usually do it for me, but this series looks interesting.
And of course their awesome returning series
  • The Secret Lives of Dancers
  • The Good Wife
  • Californication
  • The Big C
Next was TVNZ.

I found the TVNZ launch a little too much. PUTs are down, rates are up, they're making our clients pay more and more and more for less and less ratings so they spend what must have been quite a substantial amount of money on a very flashy presentation. Let's not start on the fact that they flew up the Wellington and Chch media people and put them up for the night ontop of all of the glitz. Mostly because I am glad they did - was a wonderful chance to catch up with old friends.

Paul Maher spoke well, but I thought it was a real shame that the 'Johns' did pieces to camera rather than speaking live. Lacked that kind of 'real' touch and I felt like they spoke more about the shows than actually showing us the programmes. Following far too many drinks, run-ins with arrogant Shortland St cast members and inappropriate grabbing from actors of other local shows, I walked away not really knowing what TVNZ were putting up next year. Which is a shame. 

Following some further investigation, this is what I'm looking forward to:
  • Keep Calm & Carry On (Jacquie Brown)
  • Seven Dwarves. Which looks a little like a Dwarf version of Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.
  • Once Upon a Time. Appeals to the geek in me
Finally, the Prime launch was yesterday.

The Launch itself was wonderful. High Tea at the Langham. What a lovely way to spend an afternoon. As usual Karen and Kathy were a joy to listen to as they took their little digs at the big boys in the market. They also addressed something I was concerned about, how SOHO might affect their deal with HBO - it would seem it will only strengthen their offer, which is great news.

Things to look forward to on Prime (according to me):
  • Wild Boys - Australian series, looks great
  • True Blood
  • QI
  • Boardwalk Empire (after screening on Soho)
  • Junior Masterchef
Prime seems to have picked up a number of the British Dramas that I would have expected to see on One a few years ago. I really hope the audience finds Prime's programming as it's really good quality stuff.

So there you go. My thoughts on new programmes this year. I think it's a shame that no one seems to have picked up Wilfred which is pretty genius. But there you go. Find a way around S92a and torrent that sucker.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Seriously Sour Taste

This week was meant to be great. I had so much sleep on the weekend, I was really looking forward to this week.

I made a mistake. I had a meeting with Yellow yesterday. There was no way that this week was going to be good.

I cannot get over the way Yellow are trying to hold their own customers to ransom over their website.

I have a lovely client, with distributors nationwide, who have advertised in the Yellow books for years. Now that yellow have finally started to sort their website out so that it actually works (sort of) they are finding ways to milk their customers for every penny they can. Including my clients.

Now, before I really get into this, let's have a little chat about what Yellow is. Yellow is a directory. It is a whole lot of business listings. That is all. Yellow have something of a monopoly on this game. 

So what's got my back up?

Unlike Google which obviously separates organic from paid results, Yellow have set up their system where the user is ONLY delivered paid search results, well, at least for the first few pages. But it doesn't differentiate in a way that is obvious to the consumer. When asked what user feedback there had been about this priority ranking, there was no real answer, just, "I'm sure we have that kind of information somewhere". 

Gold, Silver and Bronze listings is where Yellow is at. If you have a free listing, you can end up on the 3rd or 4th page of results depending on the category. Then, there are category sponsorship opportunities. 3 listings which sit above the gold listing. So, advertisers have to pay to have a gold listing and THEN have to fork out more to sponsor the category or they'll be pushed down the results even further.

Next I'm told, that because my client has a 'free' listing (because they spend bucket loads on the books and not online) this means that their DIRECT competitors have the ability to advertise on THEIR listing unless they upgrade their listing.

Are you kidding me? Talk about holding their own customers to ransom.

When I had a gripe on Twitter about this, I had a number of responses also voicing their displeasure with Yellow. 

  • Trying to teach agency people what 'SEO' means 
  • Giving less than 2 days notice to turn material around 
  • Incorrect listings under wrong titles 
  • Updating free listings over the phone and 'up-selling' to include a URL but neglecting to mention that website inclusion comes with a $120 pricetag (in this instance) 
  • Their "insanely over-priced ratecard

Now, I'm yet to see their ratecard, but I am incredibly unimpressed anyway. I know I don't give Yellow a lot of love on here, but in real life my clients do. When I told the rep I wasn't feeling the love, I was told that I could use my clients Yellow 'rewards' - interestingly these hadn't come up earlier - to reduce the cost of the print so that I could shift that budget to online (I can't use my rewards online, only in print). My rep was also very quick to point out that online commission is 20% while the books only 10.5% so it would be better for me. 

Are you for reals?

I'm so over this, that I can't even be bothered writing about this anymore. If I could, I would talk about why they are revenue gathering to get out of their $1.05B debt, that perhaps they should just pull back on their awful advertising campaigns instead and that their business is becoming more and more redundant so it doesn't surprise me that they're scrambling for money, but I don't have the energy.

Use your head people. Yellow give search results which are based purely on $. They are not delivering the best result for you or your potential customers. Don't give Yellow money for online, spend it on adwords and improving the SEO on your websites. This makes more sense. When was the last time you heard someone say "why don't you Yellow it?"

EDIT: The wonderful Anthony Gardiner has created a poll about Yellow Directories on Facebook if you feel the need to vote.