Media Span has developed a television advertising coding system it says has been “hugely successful” in its pilot test phase, paving the way for the initial rollout of the means to potentially save advertisers and marketers millions of rands.
Amanda Gill and Piet Muller say the system will start with television, and later be rolled out to radio and other digital platforms, taking ad coding into the new digital era, they say, and finally giving South Africa a standardised coding system that will prevent duplication and clashing brand codes.
Gill and Muller say television keeps growing and with roughly 17 000 new flighting codes issued per annum the cost of potential error is enormous, making this system an invaluable insurance policy for marketers and advertisers. As a bonus there is five years of historic flighting data loaded on the system.
What kind of testing did you do prior to the launch of the National Coding System (NCS)?
We have been testing the site since April 2013 (nearly four months) with AMF members, Agencies, some Production Houses and Nielsen. Simply log on then on registration a password is e-mailed. Any code can then be checked or created. The test site is www.circdata.net/AdCode the actual website www.mediaspan.co.za is currently blocked so that the data does not become corrupted.
What, exactly, does your system do?
The NCS will eradicate all possible code duplication and error, which may then result in incorrect ad flighting. As well as this highly accurate research data will now be available.
What has been the reaction from broadcast media?
Extremely positive. We have spoken to the NAB, SABC for Television and Radio, ETV, DSTV and Top TV and they have all agreed that the system is badly needed. At the moment there is no insurance against duplication of codes and agencies and production houses rely on media owners to sort out this problem. Each broadcaster currently has their own system of re-coding all codes received and then this has to be reversed from station logs so that the research company (in this case Nielsen) can collect the correct data for analysis purposes.
What financial implications does the NCS have for broadcasters?
There is no financial implication for the broadcasters; in fact once they trust the system it should be able to save them an incredible amount of time and money as well as clear up any disputes if incorrect codes are used. Speaking to media buyers and production companies, this is happening on a daily basis but if you speak to clients i.e. Marketers they deny this as the problems are solved by either the Broadcaster, Production House or the Media Buying Agency. Marketers only see the tip of the iceberg.
How long has it been in development?
This system has taken two years of investigation and planning to develop; we started it in 2010 and have been speaking to the various bodies (committees) over the past year and a half. We looked at overseas systems in the UK and Australia beforehand but strongly believed that we needed to create a unique system for the South African market place.
What were its particular challenges?
Setting up and developing the NCS was not, as we have found out, the biggest challenge. The most frustrating exercise has been trying to communicate and convince certain committees that a system of this kind can only be of great benefit to the advertising and marketing industry as a whole. Committees by their very nature can create unnecessary time lags in situations such as this where forthright and urgent decision is required.
Why has there been no standardised coding system up until now?
There have been two unsuccessful attempts in the past but the costs involved were prohibitive and the wherewithal of setting up a standardised system were too daunting. The Media Span initiative has developed this extremely cost effective system that takes digital coding into the 21st century.