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February 2016

Our News

the7stars pledges to #MakeTheLeap

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the7stars is proud to pledge its commitment to Make The Leap, an initiative by The IPA, Campaign and Twitter to make a lasting difference in workplace diversity.
In joining #MakeTheLeap, the7stars pledges to:
– Aim for 40 % female representation in senior positions by 2020
– Aim for 15 % BAME representation in senior positions by 2020
– Help eliminate unconscious bias through training
– Raise awareness of our flexible, or agile, working policies
Jenny Biggam, the7stars, said: “We are proud to support this important initiative which looks set to make a real impact on diversity within the industry. At the7stars, diversity is a hugely important issue, and one that we take seriously. We will continue working hard to achieve the targets set by 2020.”
IPA President Tom Knox said: “This initiative puts into action all the great intention and momentum building around the issue in the industry, it does so in a simple and accessible way. This is not about scrutinizing which agencies are doing better or worse than others, or applying unrealistic goals, but by asking agencies to make a pledge and take a step it should move the issue far higher up their agenda.”
For further information, please www.wewillmaketheleap.com

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The future of TV

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By 2026 an internet faster than we could ever imagine today will be serving over 5 billion people globally. It will be able to reach those that never had much in the way of a traditional TV service, let alone an internet connection.

In more developed countries, the trend of increasing consumer control over viewing habits will continue. Cord-cutting and skinny bundles will be the norm for most by 2026. There’s already evidence of us moving away from TV packages providing hundreds of rarely watched channels, towards services which allow viewers to select the specific shows they want, with Netflix predicted to reach 100m subscribers by 2020 (Statista 2016).

Another trend that will continue into 2026 is the move towards a split world of video consumption. On one side, free, mainly short-form content produced by “amateurs” online. On the other, professional big-budget content. With video technology set to become increasingly professional and cheaper, the gap will start to close.

Live streaming will move away from the 20-minute/30-minute/hour formats. If a show needs another ten minutes to tell its story, new viewing platforms will allow for that. As the various core platforms become more advanced, we anticipate that the line between live and on-demand will become seamless for viewers. In the UK, broadcast giant Sky has just launched its new premium box service Sky Q. The service will offer multiple ways to watch live and recorded TV. The next decade will also see amateur producers increase in the live arena. Although the bulk of amateur video currently produced is of the pre-recorded variety, platforms such as Twitch and Periscope suggest there is both consumer appetite and advancing technology in live streaming.

Since the inception of BARB in 1981, TV producers have had a fairly clear idea of what shows have worked and have made decisions based on this data. With internet TV, commissioners should have more audience data than ever to help guide programming decisions. Data should also result in more tailored ads for viewers. Sky Advance has promised to allow brands to follow linear TV viewing into the wider digital environment and in the US, 17% of television trading is predicted to be sold programmatically by 2019.

More consumer data means more opportunity for accurate audience targeting. With internet TV becoming the de-facto platform, audience identification and personalisation will become the norm for advertisers. These opportunities are balanced by the threat of ad-free platforms. Any increase in ‘walled gardens’ – where the best quality content lives ad-free – is clearly not great news for advertisers. Brands will have to think more creatively to get in front of audiences and an emphasis on branded and additional content will probably form a bigger part of the media schedule.
Depending on how the new reality shapes up, TV advertising could take a radically different form in a decade’s time. Luckily for us, that’s what makes TV one of the most exciting industries out there to work in.

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Tuning into the next generation of radio

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This time last year, Sound Digital won a competitive bid to take charge and launch the new commercial digital radio multiplex. The move was heralded by Scott Taunton, COO of UTV Media, as “the biggest expansion in radio choice for a generation”. Twelve months on, with 18 stations about to hit the national airwaves, here’s an update on what the new DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) multiplex means for UK listeners and advertisers alike.

UK radio has remained robust despite initial fears that traditional broadcast radio might be eroded by shifts in consumer consumption towards streaming and curated playlists. What has no doubt helped maintain the weekly reach of 90% of UK adults is that the channel has adapted to fit naturally across any platform – be that analogue, desktop, DTV, mobile or DAB. In fact, digital radio listening has grown by 10% in the last year according to RAJAR. Of specific interest to the broadcasters backing Sound Digital (a conglomerate of Arqiva, Bauer and UTV) is that the share of listening hours via DAB has increased by 9% year on year, with share now at 28% of all listening.

There is already one DAB multiplex which has enabled listeners to tune in to stations such as LBC, Capital Xtra and talkSPORT across the UK. However, as broadcasters have sought to take their radio brands to the masses, this transmitter is at capacity. The growth in DAB stations is such that back in 2009 there were only four national commercial digital radio stations, and by the end of March 2016 there will be over 40 digital national stations, 30 of which are commercial.

When launched, the new Sound Digital multiplex will see a combination of existing stations going national and new stations launching. The assortment of stations will appeal to a range of radio listening tastes – namely talk (talkRADIO, talkSPORT2, Share Radio), music (Virgin, Mellow Magic, Magic Chilled, Absolute 80s, Kisstory, heat, Planet Rock, Jazz FM), Asian (Sunrise, Awesome, Panjab), religious (UCB2, Premier Christian and Premier Praise!) and children (Fun Kids).

Sound Digital is forecasting that via its network of 45 transmitters, these stations will be available across 75% of UK households and 65% of major UK roads, providing substantial potential reach.

The new DAB multiplex will give UK listeners the gift of choice, allowing greater ease of access to much-loved stations, the opportunity to explore new offshoots of existing radio brands (like Mellow Magic) or the chance to revisit former loves reimagined for the 21st century (like Virgin Radio).

For advertisers, these stations provide a new avenue to engage with consumers nationally around key passion points. While the first stations don’t officially go live until February 29, many are already broadcasting test transmissions – so rescan your DAB radio this weekend for a sneak peak of the future of digital radio.

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A new day, or darker days for print?

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March 26 will see the last ever issue of The Independent go to print, with the iconic daily being kept alive as an online-only newsbrand. This is not the first media brand to shift to a digital model in 2016, following in the footsteps of the BBC’s decision to move BBC Three online on February 16.

News of The Independent’s closure came with little surprise as the title had been on a downward spiral ever since the publisher switched its 70,000 bulk copies to sister title The i. With this apparent shift in focus, the circulation of The Independent was nudged into freefall, with a 70% decline since the launch of The i (182,412 – ABC Sept 2010 to 55,193 ABC Jan 2016).

Despite the apparent hard times for traditional media, Trinity Mirror is fighting the tide and launching The New Day on February 29. This launch has been in the making since the release of Trinity Mirror’s research piece Modal Britain, detailing the wants and needs of the middle 50% of the population.

This research has been the fuel for the project, and has dictated the shape of the paper – everything from its political bias to the pagination. This is a paper created entirely with the consumer in mind – the title will include only eight fixed ad sites, a decision to prioritise readers’ consumption rather than agreeing to a dynamic format in order to fulfil advertiser demand.

The New Day is also launching without an accompanying website, as the publisher seeks to focus on fulfilling unsatisfied consumer needs in print. It is, they say, a true publication for the open-minded, optimistic, but time-poor consumer, designed to be read cover to cover in 30 minutes.

News of the launch has been met with positive feedback, with many feeling that, with the right formula, there is no reason why a launch in print can’t be successful. You only need to look at 2010’s launch of The i for proof of this.
Just this week Dominic Mills of MediaTel referred to print as “the cockroach of media”, destined to thrive in the darker niches of media, satisfying specific needs of the minority, yet still in a position to bring revenue to publishers.

All the signs point towards a strong appetite for print across many demographics, with millions of people still buying a paper on a daily basis – so is print dead, or merely going through a forced digital evolution? ESI, the publisher of The Independent, clearly thinks that digital only newsbrands are the way forward, but Trinity Mirror is standing firm with the belief that there is still a place in the market for a fresh, thoroughly researched, modern print publication – only time will tell if this is a New Day for print.

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Sky Q Has Launched

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The launch of Sky Q this month has signified another step towards the “re-imagining” of TV in today’s fully-connected home.

Sky Q offers more content storage and more device integration than any other Sky products, and, most importantly for the wider industry, encourages viewing flexibility. According to Sky, the set up allows the viewer to watch what they want and when they want in the most dynamic way yet.

Improving on the popular Sky Go service, Sky Q offers a superior out-of-home viewing experience, including the ability to synchronise recorded shows from the Sky Q box to mobile devices. The multi-room offering has also vastly improved, including the ability to watch on five screens at the same time.

Sky has also introduced cross-device functionality – the ability to pick up viewing where it was left on another device, as part of the offering referred to as ‘Fluid Viewing’. In addition, the viewer will be able to record three shows whilst watching a fourth live – increasing to four shows whilst watching a fifth with Sky Q Silver.

Sky is hoping the offering will not only encourage current customers to upgrade but will convince brand new customers to take up subscriptions. Consequently this should help increase television ratings, especially on its must see ultra-definition programming such as Game Of Thrones, The Affair and Vinyl.

This increase in viewing figures, however, will likely be in the On Demand space, representing a further shift away from linear TV viewing. Taking Game of Thrones as an example, more than 70%* of the views of episode 1 in 2014 were live or recorded. But, with the introduction of Sky Q’s user-friendly interface, it is likely that many more viewers will access similar content On Demand.

Advertisers also need to be aware that Sky Q may accelerate the shift of Sky TV viewing into the multi-screen space, making VOD placements just as important as linear spots. Sequential messaging could also become a regular strategic planning method on Sky TV activity because Sky Q offers a clear, uninterrupted means to tell a brand story across devices. Following brand messaging, direct response advertising could therefore be at an advantage with Sky Q.

Another potential benefit for advertisers is that Sky Q will allow more detailed data capture opportunities for Sky, providing a deeper insight to its customers’ television consumption habits. If shared, we could utilise this household data in order to enhance targeting and subsequently assist measurement of brand performance against specific devices or advertising formats. The game-changer, however, would be if, rather than a household level, we were able to tap into individuals’ data.

*Source: BARB/Skyview /BSkyB: Simulcast TX : 07.04.14  BARB Individuals consolidated viewing, On Demand Individuals Consolidated Inclusive of Downloads, Sky Go based on downloads factored to BARB TS viewing

Our News

Driving Gumtree towards a new route for motors

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the7stars has helped Gumtree to build upon the rebrand of January 2016 by launching a new motors campaign in the run up to the new vehicle registration date. Launching today, Monday 22nd February, the new campaign sees a couple reflecting on the opportunities that a snazzy sports car could add to their lives. Created by Fold7, the campaign will roll out across TV, VOD, radio, outdoor, print and online. Take a look at the new ad here!
#ItStartsHere

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Dogs Trust: Hundreds of dogs are still waiting for their Special Someone

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The Dogs Trust, one of the most loved British charities, presented us with a set of challenges: to increase the brand’s awareness, increase footfall but educate people about the Dogs Trust rehoming scheme across the twenty centres in the UK.
On Saturday February 20th, Dogs Trust kicked off their first TV campaign with the7stars (consisting of 60” and 40” creatives), going out on ‘Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway,’ followed by, ‘Take Me out,’ both on ITV.
The TV creative features a loveable homeless dog, who has been rescued by the Dogs Trust, waiting to be re-homed. We follow the pooch’s life at the Dogs Trust centre, being bathed and played with, until one day his new owner turns up. The advert tells a wonderful story of the re-housing process at Dogs Trust, with the Dogs Trust hoping to see many others follow suit.
The campaign will also be running across print, social and digital. We really hope this campaign makes a bit of a bark!
Watch the TV ad here

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HMV: Vinyl’s making a comeback

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With Vinyl making a comeback in the physical music market, we’ve launched our first campaign to re-enforce hmv as the home of entertainment and especially for all things Vinyl.

We aligned the campaign with the launch of Sky Atlantic’s “ Vinyl”, with 10” spots in all 10 episodes. Five creative executions have been made and each episode synopsis has been studied to slot the perfect creative into each episode. Think John Coltrane for an episode referencing Jazz & Blues & The Ramones for a punk theme.

To support TV, we’ve overlaid Twitter TV and Keyword targeting to ensure hmv are around key conversations about Vinyl music as well as the programme itself.

Keep an eye out for it on Sky Atlantic, Monday’s at 9pm.

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Suzuki’s Ant and Dec Saturday Night Takeaway Sponsorship

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This weekend sees Suzuki become the proud sponsor of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway. This is no ordinary sponsorship however, it forms part of a two-year partnership deal with ITV that spans talent, licensing, broadcast and production. The sheer scale and level of integration is the first of its kind!

Suzuki have been a firm fixture on ITV Saturday nights in recent months, with a series of specially created TV spots featuring the antics of Ant and Dec running in the prelude to the sponsorship. The new idents continue this sense of fun and help to cement Suzuki at the very heart of family entertainment.

And just like Saturday Night Takeaway, the fun does not stop there. Stay tuned for what other surprising treats Suzuki and Ant & Dec have in store later in the year…