The upheaval in the South African Audience Research Foundation (Saarf), brought into sharp relief by the resignation of the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) from the body, has impacted on Print and Digital Media SA (PDMSA).
In an internal communication, seen by The Media Online, CEO Ingrid Louw said the situation at Saarf had “raised important questions for the print media industry”, not least about its relationship with the industry body, and whether PDMSA should remain an “involved and contributing member” that co-operates with the remaining industry stakeholders within Saarf.
PDMSA and the print media industry will within the next few weeks make a “strategic decision” on whether it will remain in Saarf or whether it will “manage and co-ordinate its research needs through a print media industry JIC”, Louw wrote.
“Saarf was established as a tripartite agreement between the marketers, media agencies and the media owners,” Louw said in the letter. “The exit of the broadcasters from Saarf has not only changed the dynamics of the strategic partnerships within the broader media industry but also directly impact how, as the print media industry, we organise ourselves in terms of future research.”
Louw said the continued conservancy of Saarf has “many benefits for the coalition of the research beneficiaries”. This includes the creation of an establishment survey, the ownership and scope of which is still to be decided. Louw said the Print Audience Measurement System (PAMS) could be implemented using Saarf’s infrastructure and capacity.
The NAB, she said, has confirmed it will collaborate with the rest of the industry on an establishment survey, the planning and preparation for which is being co-ordinated by a Saarf task team.
Saarf has started the reorganisation process, and has held stakeholder engagement meetings to inform them of it vision and future research model.
At the same time, the PDMSA has hosted a series of workshops and meetings to enable it to plot its way forward. Key to the process is planning a new establishment survey and preparing a PAMS, which must be “innovative and inclusive to ensure that it meets the needs and expectations of the print media industry now and into the future”. Louw said this means the PAMS must “accommodate multiple content platforms”. Technical experts were helping PDMSA in the development and design of the new PAMS research, and were referencing international best practice.
Louw said Saarf had acknowledged the print sector’s interests and needs.