CASBAA hired the U.K. native, an agency veteran who says he “spent many years saying 'no' to regional broadcasters and local platform operators,” in September 2006, as an advertising consultant, a new role bridging the industry, marketers and ad agencies.
"Pay-TV never really evolved into an advertising story regionally," said Mr. Corrigan. Television attracts $30 billion in ad spending across Asia/Pacific per year but the share for regional channels is only $4.5 billion.
"That's low considering its share of audience is 30% in some markets. Everyone feels comfortable with free-to-air stations, pay-TV is more complicated. Some channels don't carry ads, some only attract niche audiences, and some clients can't coordinate regional ad buys."
Before he joined CASBAA earlier this year, Mr. Corrigan spent 12 years with Starcom Mediavest Group in Asia, most recently as CEO of the Publicis Groupe’s Malaysian operation and regional strategic planning director. Before that, he spent seven years in London at Aegis-owned Carat, handling U.K. and pan-European accounts.
At CASBAA, his first move was establishing a web site for marketing directors and media planners in Asia/Pacific, www.thepowerofpaytv.com, an online tool with media research, TV network data, case studies and industry news.
“It’s time for the pay-TV industry to further demonstrate to marketers how much has changed in the advertising environment. Most markets with a viable pay-TV advertising medium now have reliable measurement making the industry more accountable than ever to clients,” said Mr. Corrigan, who spoke with AdAgeChina’s editor, Normandy Madden, during CASBAA’s annual convention at Hong Kong’s Academy of Performing Arts.
AdAgeChina: CASBAA launched www.thepowerofpaytv.com early last month. What has been the reception so far?
Paul Corrigan: Ad agencies have received it well. The trick now is keeping it updated, contemporary, relevant and useful. They want the latest information, the latest top line data from companies like Synovate, Nielsen Media Research and Taylor Nelson Sofres. We’ll be adding extra sections about things like IPTV and mobile TV, explaining how those channels are evolving.
AdAgeChina: Why isn’t there enough communication between the advertising community and pay-TV stations? Is it a lack of personal communication or do agencies and advertisers not fully understand your business?
Mr. Corrigan: It’s a consequence of time pressure, from an agency point-of-view. When most of these regional pay-TV networks came into being 10 or 15 years ago, agency planners didn’t have to worry about developing online campaigns, creating web sites, large numbers of on-the-ground events. Before it was just a matter of deciding which TV stations to use. Now, that is just one part of the job they do. The way the media industry has evolved over the last ten years means media planners have to do far more work. Also, pay-TV isn’t the easiest thing to understand. There are different levels of household penetration across the markets, and other basics that the industry as a whole needs to explain to agency planners and clients.
AdAgeChina: Do marketers in Asia have access to regional or even global budgets to invest in pay-TV, or are they too locked into local budgets that end up feeding local terrestrial stations like TVB in Hong Kong?
Mr. Corrigan: There’s definitely a trend that budgets are becoming more localized and that’s something regional TV networks are struggling with at the moment. The irony is that while more control of budget allocation has been given to local country-by-country media managers, regional pay-TV is getting stronger. Unfortunately, the budgets seem to be leaving our media environment just as there is potentially better value for them.
That’s an issue we need to address and the channels can do local sales. Take Cartoon Network, all their sales are local now and they run on different feeds for each market. The technology is out there, if a client wants to run a different commercial in each market at the same time, they can do that. Ten years ago, the flexible technology to do that wasn’t around.
Also, agencies and clients are looking beyond 20” and 30” spots more and more. Very few media briefs or resulting media plans are dependent on traditional placements. It’s increasingly popular with agencies and their clients. And TV web sites are very popular in Asia, so we’re seeing more tie-ups online with some of the networks and platforms as well as on-the-ground events like viewership parties. It’s integration beyond the screen.
AdAgeChina: Are branded content deals increasingly popular with broadcasters?
Mr. Corrigan: Broadcasters have accepted that it needs to be done to attract more revenue and be more effective for clients who are spending with them. Initially, there was some resistance. Let’s be practical, commercial TV stations were set up to make money through commercials. That’s why they had gaps in their programming and it was pretty easy money. But that doesn’t cut it anymore. They just have to understand the days when agencies were spending 60% or 70% of their budgets like that are long gone, and they have to keep up.
AdAgeChina: Only a handful of global broadcasters like Nickelodeon and MTV have made in-roads in China. Last year at CASBAA, the consensus was that the industry had taken a couple of steps backwards, that the doors were closing rather than opening. What’s the feeling today?
Mr. Corrigan: That perception is still valid. It’s a problem both the Chinese authorities and the broadcasters are dealing with. In the wider sense, for China to move forward in its free trade agreements, it has to allow global products including programming into China.
But there has to be realism by the broadcasters about what’s realistic to run in China, like reality TV shows need to be more democratic and less competitive. While some of us may perceive western programming as being inoffensive and harmless, perhaps we need to focus more on what’s inoffensive in China and move more softly. Opportunities are there and both sides are trying to find a way forward, but there will need to be give-and-take on both sides.
Other appointment news in Greater China
[hong kong] DDB Worldwide has announced that Hong Kong-based Tim Evill will resign in December as vice chairman and exec creative director, Asia for global accounts such as McDonald's, Volkswagen and Lipton. Mr. Evill’s future plans have not been announced. He has spent 12 years with the network in Singapore and Hong Kong. "We did offer Tim various regional roles in Asia, but he has decided to look at other opportunities,” said John Zeigler, DDB’s president and CEO, Asia/Pacific.
[hong kong] The WPP Group public relations firm Burson-Marsteller has appointed Simon Pangrazio in Hong Kong as president and CEO, Asia/Pacific, effective Jan. 1, 2008. He succeeds Bill Rylance, now chairman, Asia/Pacific and vice chairman for global development. Mr. Pangrazio, 41, joined Burson-Marsteller in 1996 in Melbourne. Currently, he is regional managing director for North Asia and leader of Burson-Marsteller's corporate/financial practice for Asia/Pacific.
[shanghai] The Shanghai-based independent agency Nitro Group has appointed Bryce Whitwam as managing partner-head of activation and integration and Jennifer Labus as managing partner-head of business growth. Both executives report to Stephen Drummond, group managing director-head of planning. Previously Mr. Whitwam was managing director of Ogilvy & Mather’s OgilvyOne division in Beijing. Ms. Labus was a business director at Nitro’s New York office. They will work alongside Jennifer Tan, managing partner-exec creative director, who has been at Nitro for more than two years.
[hong kong] News Corp.’s Star Group media and entertainment company has appointed Todd Lituchy as president, entertainment. Based in Hong Kong, Mr. Lituchy will oversee Star’s program planning, production, network creative services, research and scheduling functions. Previously, he was president, entertainment at the European broadcaster Viasat, overseeing creative development, program planning, scheduling, and acquisitions in London.
[shanghai] The interactive agency Nurun Group has appointed Lim Tek Khoon in Shanghai as creative strategy director of its operation in China, formerly called China Interactive. Previously, he was Beijing-based creative director at RMG Connect, the relationship marketing division of JWT. He succeeds Pascal Heirlholz, who has left the agency.