Netflix’s digital campaign strategy

Netflix’s digital campaign strategy, By Michael Bodey - 30th March 2015


Television Entertainment Australia Advertising Promotions

Netflix has relied on its first­ ­digital-only campaign for its launch this week in Australia.

The US internet broadcaster will bypass traditional advertising and marketing expenditure in print, television, radio or outdoor media to utilise a campaign with 100 per cent digital marketing.

It is the first time the company has launched in a territory in such a way, bypassing “traditional” media marketing platforms, and The Australian understands it is being treated by the company as something of an experiment.

Netflix’s Australian communications agency, Pulse, said the company “did not comment on its marketing activity”.

It is understood the digital-only advertising strategy relies on the “stickiness” of new subscribers to the streaming broadcaster. Recent experience shows consumers signing up to Netflix through digital messaging have tended to be more reliable and longer-term than those reaching Netflix through other marketing channels. Also implicit in the strategy is the belief the broader Australian market, which can be accessed through mass media, is not yet ready for, or aware of, internet television as a medium.

Netflix vice-president of product innovation, Todd Yellin, said the company heavily researched consumer attitudes in Australia and “besides the early adopters and technophiles, people have a vague idea of how it works and for some people it does feel daunting.”

Certainly Australian consumers are aware of Netflix as a brand, with varying industry speculation suggesting brand awareness of Netflix among Australians is as high as 60 per cent. A recent Venture Consulting research report in which more than 4000 “online Australians” were surveyed showed 32 per cent awareness of Netflix. (The competing SVOD joint venture of Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment, Stan, had 25 per cent awareness, which is also quite high for a new brand).

The report’s author, Phil Codrington, senior manager at Venture Consulting, said that level of brand awareness before launch and without marketing was “amazing”.

The education of the Australian market about the SVOD platform is crucial. Netflix has found ready unofficial partners in Australian media hyping the new brand’s launch and, ironically, reaping the rewards with higher digital traffic for any piece about Netflix. The US company, which is not domiciled in Australia and will not have an office here, is also relying on its local ISP partners, such as Optus, iiNet and Fetch TV, to do much of the heavy lifting. Both Optus and iiNet have followed more traditional marketing strategies, with Optus using a major outdoor campaign to spruik its free streaming of the Netflix service and a TV campaign featuring comedian Ricky Gervais.

IiNet’s campaign for its quota-free Netflix offer features a TV featuring its “face of the brand”, Finn, with square eyes from watching too much TV.

Netflix is expected to make its first comments about the Australia and New Zealand launch at its next earnings announcement next week although the first month of trial for new subscribers is free. Competitor Stan, which launched on Australia Day, has also done much work educating the market about the SVOD platform, with major marketing featuring comedian Rebel Wilson on the Nine network, in Fairfax papers and in outdoor.

Yet The Australian understands Stan’s most successful days for new subscribers have been days in which Fairfax tabloid newspapers such as the Sydney Morning Herald have featured wraparound advertisements.

(The Australian)