Kochie: “It May Not Be Sexy, But Free-To-Air TV Is Still Very Compelling”

Kochie: “It May Not Be Sexy, But Free-To-Air TV Is Still Very Compelling”
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David “Kochie” Koch believes free-to-air TV offers a hugely compelling case for advertisers but, he adds, its often not seen as “sexy” in the minds of media buyers too often bedazzled by the array of new disruptors playing in the space.

Yesterday, Koch extended his own Sunrise contract until the end of 2020, meaning he’ll have co-hosted Seven’s brekkie program non-stop for 18 years.

“I was very happy that the viewers and the bosses still want me to hang around and it’s been a real privilege to work on the show over the past 16 years,” Koch told B&T following news he’d inked a new deal.

There had been a number of media reports that Seven chiefs wanted a younger face on Sunrise and the 62-year-old was being quietly ushered towards the exits.

For his part, Koch said the rumours “weren’t frustrating” but what was “is that everybody thinks they can do breakfast TV”.

He added: “Everyone thinks it’s really easy and everyone thinks they’ve got what it takes to do it, but only one group of people actually decides if you’re good enough and that’s the viewers, it’s as simple as that.

“Unlike any other show on TV, when it comes to breakfast TV, you’re doing three-and-a-half hours of live TV everyday and that means you cannot hide, you cannot pretend to be something you’re not.”

Koch added that too many TV programs these days “were so highly produced” all the talent had to do was “read the autocue”. Not so the breakfast slot where “it strips you bare as a human being. The viewer sees everything and that’s one of the keys to it, you can’t be someone you are not.”

When it came to the case for free-to-air telly, Koch said the medium had always had a strong story to tell advertisers, however, it had become less “sexy over the last couple of years because of all the disruption in the market”.

“The focus has been on all the new disruptors, the new streaming services and digital and the big tech conglomerates like the Facebooks and the Googles,” he said.

“Free-to-air TV year-on-year delivers the numbers, it is engaging and I think digital – particularly in agency land – hasn’t turned out to be as grand as it was touted to be and a lot of agencies are now coming back to television.

“It can deliver segmented markets and clearly defined audiences,” he said.

When asked about apparent woes at arch-rival Today – plummeting ratings and divisions among the hosts – Koch answered with typical aplomb: “We focus on ourselves, not on what our competitors are doing.

“Again breakfast TV is very intrusive of you as a person and viewers sense relationships, they sense humour, they sense a whole lot of things with these shows and, to be fair, breakfast TV in Australia is a very competitive market, and I’d have to say all the breakfast shows are pretty bloody good and viewers are spoilt for choice,” he said.

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