More and more advertisers concentrate on consumer type instead of age criteria when determining their target groups. Many advertisers hope to reach a consumer who is quick to catch on to new ideas and is ready to be among the first to try out a new product with an open mind. This is just the kind of viewer that TV channel Nelonen wants to reach.

Pirjo Airaksinen, Senior Vice President, Programming, and Hans Edin, Executive Vice President, point out that a broad-minded attitude does not depend on age - both a 20-year-old as well as a 60-year-old can catch on quickly.

“Determining a target group based on soft values is a current trend in marketing and advertising. But the study of the subject lags behind actual need, as it’s considerably easier to measure the age of viewers than it is their ability to catch on quickly,” Hans Edin explains.

As a target group channel, Nelonen’s success in reaching viewers who catch on quickly is its strength. According to a survey carried out in the autumn, 82% of viewers who are quick to catch on watch Nelonen regularly. Advertisers are interested in such consumers because they are more receptive to new ideas, make purchase decisions quickly, and tell about these to friends who tend to consider things more carefully.

Despite its strengths, Nelonen has many challenges to face. The channel’s net sales for the first nine months of 2002 were slightly below those for the corresponding period the preceding year, even though advertising sales for the third quarter grew slightly.

“Growth is our main objective next spring, as well as for the next five years. This means increasing both the number of viewers and advertising sales,” say Pirjo Airaksinen and Hans Edin.

The price/quality ratio convinces advertisers

During its five-year history, Nelonen has turned from a fumbling beginner into a versatile challenger.

“Nelonen has gone a long way in a short time. For instance, our share of viewers and the scope of our programmes as a second channel cause amazement even abroad,” Pirjo Airaksinen says.

According to a study by Finnpanel, Nelonen’s established position in Finnish television field is proved by the fact that viewers consider its regular weekend films the most interesting foreign programmes and “Haluatko miljonääriksi?” the most interesting Finnish entertainment programme on the main Finnish TV channels.

Advertisers have also noted the viewers’ interest.According toSuomen Gallup’s company image survey, advertisers consider Nelonen the most up to date advertising medium and it is also most often seen as a trailblazer. Advertisers also think that the channel has the best price/quality ratio on the market. On top of that, both Airaksinen and Edin think the position of television has strengthened and will continue to strengthen among advertisers, so the future of Nelonen’s advertising sales looks good.

According to Hans Edin, the advertisers’ present behaviour is however characterised by cautious observation and short-term decision-making.

“Many businesses with large volume advertising, such as retailing, are doing quite well at the moment. It looks like next year will be similar to this year, both in the good and the bad. Growth is expected, but advertisers operate in fairly short cycles.

Female viewers the target group during the spring

There are no advertising sales without viewers and no viewers without good TV programmes. According to Pirjo Airaksinen, planning Nelonen’s programme profile is based on a balance between traditional quality series, one-off programmes, and trends. Quality series, such as The Sopranos and West Wing, are important for a young TV channel in terms of building viewer loyalty, but one-off programmes are also needed.

“We should remember that we are not developing Nelonen to be similar to any other channel. The programme profile shows that the channel is not like the others, it is something different,” Hans Edin points out.

This autumn’s programming on Nelonen includes The Osbournes, Fear Factor, and the Finnish comedy series “Tummien vesien tulkit”. The success of these series has been seen not only in the number of viewers but also in sold-out advertising slots.

The problem with planning the programme profile at the beginning of Nelonen’s operations was the so-called fillers, which were part of large programme packages. According to Pirjo Airaksinen, in future the channel will concentrate on buying carefully tailor-made programmes for different programme slots. The main target group in planning programmes for next spring is women between the ages of 25 and 44.

“Reaching this target group means a lot to advertisers, because women make almost all purchase decisions at home, starting from the car,” Airaksinen points out.

Using the remote control to choose Nelonen next spring, viewers will be able to watch programmes such as “Footballer's Wives”, a drama series about footballers’ wives and girlfriends, “Kumman kaa”, a Finnish comedy series about the goings-on of two female friends, “Haluatko filmitähdeksi?”, a programme searching for a film star, and the old hit comedy series Mad About You. Thursday nights will continue to be important on Nelonen - after “Hyppönen Enbuske Experience” viewers will be able to watch Alias, a hit series from the USA about a person called Sydney who lives a double life as a student and a spy.