One thing I will say is that ‘amazing’ is probably the most ambiguous word ever. It can mean amazing in the sense of wonderful or amazing in the sense of the mother of all errors. In the same vain AdEx is quite simply ‘amazing’. You choose which side works for you. The tool has been in existence for many years and has served the industry well. Many marketing and media decisions were made with its guidance. As for me, I like AdEx. It is a great tool.
The reason for this article is that I was simply amazed at the naivety of my long time friend Gordon Patterson. Gordon is a doyen in this industry and someone with a very well respected mind. For that reason, I’d like to respond to his story in The Media and on The Media Online headlined ‘Et tu cinema‘.
AdEx reporting on cinema figures has for a very long time just been too ridiculous to believe (the word ‘amazing’ in the latter is relevant here). This really started with the advent of the Cinemark Golden reel. Figures were highly inflated simply because the discount structures were so high that it made the medium look good. Nu Metro has for a long time not disclosed its figures. Ster Kinekor however had continued to disclose its figures, albeit inflated.
The outdoor/out of home media category is an interesting one. There are many outdoor companies who also fail to disclose figures for whatever reason. The outdoor categories within AdEx have pretty much remained as is and has not evolved with the changing of the media. A billboard is no longer a 96 sheeter or 3×6 Citilite.
The outdoor categories in Adex are: activation, airport, billboards, commuter promotion, electronic, premises signage, retail street furniture, stadia promotions, transit media, walls and murals.
These days we have wraps, construction sites, outdoor in malls, salons, fashion houses and washroom posters to name a few. These have been in existence for many years. Yet not all outdoor companies report the data. Primedia Unlimited is an example of not reporting data to AdEx.
So to merely come out and be concerned about the lack of cinema data is naive. There is an entire sub section of outdoor which is missing from adex and combined could greater than the entire cinema category. I applaud ACN and the main cinema players to have taken the step to get the reporting right. I would rather not have any cinema data since this displays a grossly inaccurate media category that is one-sided. Well done guys.
The online segment is also another category that is missing loads of data. I have no doubt that all DMMA member who can, report their data to AdEx. Again like outdoor this media type has various categories such as banners, rich media, search, social etc. Yet the only data we can pick up is ‘internet’ with no further explanation on the breakdown. The growth of Facebook and Google advertising is going largely unnoticed as the figures are not reported. So at first glance of a competitor media strategy on AdEx could indicate a drop in spend but is it actually true? It could mean a shift in spend to a media owner that is not represented in AdEx.
How can we get it right?
The bumpy road started a long time ago. The fact that cinema has withdrawn its figures to get it right simply puts the spotlight back on AdEx.
TV, radio and print are reported with some degree of accuracy since the data from TV and radio come directly from the stations and print is still being manually measured.
On the cinema side we need figures from the main players that are reasonably accurate. To do this both players will have to ensure that if a campaign is valued at R5 million but only costs R1 million the actual cost should be inflated by no more than 25% to get a degree of accuracy. This Indicates the value of R5 million is misleading.
We will probably never get Facebook and Google to display their figures but we can get the local major players included to have data that makes more sense.
As an industry we require an AdEx symposium with all the relevant players and attempt to make the figures inclusive. The result from this can be that figures be displayed with some accuracy and used with a level of confidence. I am glad that ACN together with Ster Kinekor and Nu Metro have taken a step not to display cinema until they get it right.
As for my friend Gordon Patterson, my suggestion is we look at the bigger picture of AdEx data rather than be concerned about inaccurate cinema data not being reported.
Colin Ramparsadh is director of Media Mutation.