Given the cost of a bottle of my favourite tipple, I’d probably have to concede that on the Johnnie Walker Green scale, DSTV still represents reasonable value for viewing money on a monthly basis. Certainly, if, like me, you enjoy watching sport on TV, there is simply no other viable viewing option. Unless of course you’re really fascinated by cross country snow-skiing or Mongolian nose wrestling, in which case you could subscribe to Top TV.
Increasingly though, I can’t help feeling that fear of churn amongst existing DSTV subscribers has been totally overwhelmed by the lure of new subscribers. A bona fide case of “there’s plenty more where that came from” syndrome. Understandable from a commercial perspective I guess, but I can’t suppress the growing awareness that advertisers are ultimately carrying the cost of this initiative.
In 2006, Nielsen Adex attributed 32% of measured TV commercial activity to “station self-promotion”. Year to date 2010, that figure has increased to 52%. That’s right. More than half the “commercial activity” on TV is not advertising at all, but station promos.
Many media pundits still report that television in Mzansi now absorbs almost 60% of adspend, but if we eliminate the phenomenon of TV station “self-promotion” that figure falls to less than 50%. In fact bona fide TV advertising constitutes only 47% of all adspend.
That tends to paint a lot more balanced view of media life in Mzansi.
So who is really responsible for this? Well for once, it isn’t Akward Park. After all, 72% of all Adex reported station “self-promotion” takes place on DSTV.
In fact, in many DSTV channel clusters, non-programming activity constitutes the overwhelming majority of so-called “commercial activity”. That means 76% of all reported “adspend” on SuperSport is station “self-promotion”; 76% on BBC programmes and 67% on the primary new channels (Sky, BBC, CNN & eNews).
Against this backdrop, one can’t help asking whether the average package on DSTV (+/-R60 000 delivering +/-40 spots) continues to offer fair value. If you can’t sell the distressed inventory then why not increase the spot allocation on the average package? Hell, you could probably double or treble it, remain within ICASA commercial guidelines, and still have enough time left over to lure new subscribers into the red eye fraternity.
After all, how many times can you listen to Barry White singing “you’re my everything”?