Cornering the market in regional television

AUSTRALIA’S major regional broadcasters have formed a united front in the push to increase television advertising revenues in regional areas.

A national campaign claims Australians living in regional areas have similar spending habits, lifestyles and bank balances to the city population.

Established in October 2000, Regio-nal Television Marketing is made up of representatives from the regional affiliates of Channel Seven, Channel Nine and Channel Ten.

Channel Seven Affiliate general manager of sales Ross Howarth said that, although the project was at the evaluation stage, the plan was to generate advertising revenue commensurate with the size of the regional population in Australia.

“Our reason for establishing Regional Television Marketing was to try and address the problems that exist in regional television,” he said.

“The regional population is about 35 per cent of the total population of Australia, but the regional share of total television advertising is below 20 per cent.”

Golden West Network general manager Doug Edwards said Regional Television Marketing aimed to highlight the efficiencies of buying advertising in regional television.

“It’s to show national advertisers the amount of people and demographic in regional areas. We’ll be telling national advertisers ‘here’s the efficiency of buying regional,’” he said.

The Regional Television Marketing group has claimed that the regional market has a higher level of families, teenagers and children and that Internet uptake is at the same rate as in metropolitan areas.

WIN Corporation chief executive officer John Rushton said the regional broadcasters had put the marketing operation together to try and get the message across that regional television offers a growth opportunity for advertisers.

Regional television advertising typically is dominated by retail clients, so Regional Television Marketing will push to attract new advertisers to sector.

“There’s a distinct advantage in the cost per 1000 viewers and we’re not convinced the majority of advertisers are aware of this,” Mr Rushton said.

Part of the problem is the regional broadcasters have not been particularly focused on marketing regional television to the advertising industry.

“In the past it’s just a been a habit of placing dollars in capital cities, but the bulk of people in regional Australia live in an urban environment,” Mr Rushton said.

There’s no suggestion that television advertising in the regional market would replace other mediums, such as radio or press, but Regional Television Marketing claims there are cost advantages in terms of reaching an audience over a large physical area.

In order to reach the whole community through the regional press, advertisers have to place commercials in every paper in the region, while with television a single commercial can reach the entire market.

Regional Television Marketing marketing director Brian Hogan said regional areas attracted between 18 and 19 per cent of the nation’s television advertising dollars.

“If we were to put on two or three per cent, that effect would equal expansion in all markets across Australia,” Mr Hogan said.

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