Are we prematurely arranging print and cinema’s funeral or perhaps over-investing in the digital hype? It is generally assumed that higher income individuals drive digital media consumption and that traditional media use is declining in this market.
The truth is that higher income groups are still driving traditional print media consumption, making up 65% of heavy newspapers readers and 72% of heavy magazine readers. Contrary to the belief that print is driven by middle-aged people, the young adult market are very strong users of print media, with 38% of extensive users of newspapers and 36% of the same sector of magazine readers falling within the settled singles and nest builders categories.
LSM 7-10 South Africans still trust newspapers for news and to provide an important platform for them to engage in the job market, local news, personal finance and politics.
An increase in online reading of newspapers and magazines indicates print is not obsolete. Globally, figures show print media has reached stability after its decline caused by online newspapers and magazines. Successful titles are those that combined print and digital. Newspapers need to ensure that audiences can access information online, provide mobile platforms and applications, but should not ignore the importance of print platforms and inserts in magazines and newspapers.
Higher income South Africans are hungry for information and knowledge. Their motivation for watching television is changing as the medium changes from a source of entertainment to an information platform. News channels and knowledge-based channels are becoming increasingly popular. More than half of LSM 7-10 individuals rely on television to keep them informed, compared to only a quarter in 2009. However, advancing technology and personal video recording (PVR) may become a threat to advertising, and advertisers might start losing out on this audience. Half of this audience has satellite or a decoder subscription, comprising 63% of all programme recordings in South Africa.
The danger for advertising lies in the fact that 38% of viewers in this market stated that they fast forward through advertisements compared to only 18% in 2008, and on average this relates to 3.61 hours per week of viewing time. Although this audience is becoming more desensitised towards violence, sex and nudity on television, there is a rise in intolerance towards advertising that annoys consumers. As consumers become more knowledgeable and critical, television advertisements they regard as condescending or that underestimate consumers’ knowledge will run the danger of alienating this market. This calls for advertisers to rethink marketing strategies and provide more intelligent and thought-provoking advertising.
Internet usage, mainly driven by youth, has also shown a significant upwards shift from 32% in 2007 to 55% in 2012, although compared to global figures this growth is slower than expected. In addition, middle-aged groups are not as technologically incapable as they are assumed to be, with heavy consumption of the internet ascribed to 18% of nest builders and 15% of parents with teens. Searching for information is the key use of the internet, with 41% of higher-income individuals agreeing that the internet is the first place they look for information.
However, a dichotomy of opinions and attitudes towards the internet seem to exist. On the one hand audiences enjoy online advertising, finding it informative, creative and entertaining. On the other hand, they feel that online advertising is excessive and that they are being bombarded with online messages. It is, therefore, important to find the correct marketing balance and target strategies for online and digital campaigns.
Cinema remains an important part of higher-income consumers’ media repertoire, making up 70% of heavy cinema goers, with a 5% increase in consumption from 2007 to 2012. As cinema goers are becoming younger, price and special offers will become more and more dominant. It will become imperative for cinemas to provide movie club cards and loyalty discounts as even in higher LSMs there is an increase in agreement (22% in 2007 compared to 28% in 2012) that being part of a movie club is good value for money.
Radio is the least favoured medium within the LSM 7-10 group, with less than half being heavier listeners of radio. Interestingly, within this income group, radio is driven by older generations, with 22% of heavy listeners being all alone and 18% being empty nesters.
Outdoor is driven by dependent singles (18%), and single parents (15%). The higher income group is also paying more attention to outdoor posters compared to other media, from 33% in 2007 to 40% in 2012. Opinions on outdoor media in general have remained stable over time. The most noticed advertisements are those on busses, shopping trollies and poster advertisements on the side of the road.
With added complexities of the media space and audiences within South Africa, current predictions may misunderstand media use and the motivations of media consumption, as we too readily believe global insights and adopt international media models. A key to the homes, hearts and minds of the media consumer is providing information and knowledge. n
TGi research, for which Ask Afrika owns the South African copyright, uses a single source sample of 15 000. It has a global geographic coverage of 67 markets and measures services and products, media and brands.
Maria Petousis is Ask Afrika’s director of TGi.
IMAGE: Wikimedia Creative Commons