Hong Kong's leading broadcaster has adapted with the times to offer clients an effective integrated advertising platform
Television has traditionally been most companies' advertising medium of choice, but with the rapid rise of the internet, cross-media advertising has become a major marketing trend that is characterised by its far-reaching impacts and cost-effectiveness.
With this in mind, leading Hong Kong broadcaster Television Broadcasts Limited (TVB) has adopted an integrated approach to maximise the reach for its advertisers.
"With a large, stable number of viewers and top-quality programmes featuring Hong Kong's most prominent actors and actresses, TVB remains the most influential media platform in Hong Kong," says Tso Shiu-to, deputy controller, marketing & sales division, Television Broadcasts Limited. "Despite the growing popularity of online advertising, our quality TV programmes continue to attract advertisers and above all, their target audience."
With Broadband technology becoming a household essential, TVB last year invested heavily in revamping its online platform TVB.com. "The high bandwidth powering video streaming technology puts us in a forerunner position. We are now uploading most of TVB Jade's prime time programmes onto our website," Mr Tso notes. This has made possible integrated selling, which is the company's predominant marketing and sales strategy this year.
"By integrating our long-established free TV channels, the new pay TV channels, TVB.com and household item TVB Weekly magazine, we can help our advertisers extend their advertising reach," he explains. "This total solution can result in a greater synergy between us as a service provider and our client advertisers."
While television exposure raises public awareness in the most direct and effective manner, websites and magazines take a supplementary role that offers advertisers different touch points for promoting their products and services, Mr Tso says. "For example, viewers may now watch our popular food programmes on TVB.com and simultaneously find information on the restaurants featured in those programmes on the same platform and in TVB Weekly."
In addition to this integrated strategy, TVB also offers its advertisers cross-border media coverage via its television channel in Taiwan, as well as its satellite TV network covering cities in Europe, the US, Australia and mainland China.
The broadcaster also has a portfolio of value-added services tailored to accommodate a broad range of advertisers' needs. These include arranging press briefings in the presence of popular artists to assist with on-site promotions.
The television and online platform viewing experiences vary between different audience populations, viewing behaviours, lifestyles and spending habits.
"We use different promotion efforts. For example, our recent 'myTV x MSN' campaign gives potential viewers who spend a certain amount of time on the internet, a taste of our programmes. Discerning viewers are always attracted by quality," Mr Tso says.
It is also at the top of TVB's agenda to expanding its advertising platform, entertaining the needs of mainland advertisers to promote and export their products or services outside China. He remarks, "Our mainland advertisers are particularly keen to take up opportunities for title sponsorship for prime-time dramas."
In line with its business development plans, TVB has a growing need for sales and marketing professionals, especially for its online division. Prospective candidates should be self-motivated and diligent, with a keen marketing sense and business acumen plus effective presentation and communication skills.
"It is not essential for candidates to have relevant work experience — we place a higher premium on a positive work attitude," says Mr Tso. "However, a thorough understanding of the TV broadcasting industry, particularly of the Hong Kong Broadcasting Ordinance, is an asset.
The company has a structured training programme in place for all new recruits. Those with less than two years' work experience attend classroom sessions covering fundamental sales and marketing knowledge, advertising booking system and other relevant skills.
"Training for experienced new recruits is more tuned to project management and proposal writing," Mr Tso adds. They may also be required to attend industry seminars to broaden their horizons.
The TVB workplace is highly competitive and the company employs many top industry players. This environment provides new recruits with invaluable learning experiences.
"Because of our dominant position in the market, our sales and marketing staff are exposed to a wide range of advertisers. Most importantly, they get the opportunity to meet with personnel from major corporations."
TVB promotes personal growth and job ownership. One concrete example of this is the success experienced by marketer-turned-actor Wayne Lai.
"Mr Lai initially worked in our sales & marketing division and later transferred to the production division, launching a successful acting career subsequently. Although this is a rare case, the mere scale of our operation makes every lateral movement possible," Mr Tso emphasises.