Creative director and writer, Taelo Immanuel, gives his perspective on media trends in South Africa for 2013. He believes this will be the year agencies will start catering to the growing black middle-class who will demand more nuanced communication.
In 2013 we should see more pronounced internet access through mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets rather than laptops and desktop computers.
In fact mobile should be the big game changer in 2013. With Internet Service Providers offering more competitive packages as broadband prices continue to drop and smartphones and tablets becoming more mainstream, we should see a vociferous growth in digital.
We should see the number of e-commerce sites increase unabated and as South Africans lose their online inhibitions, mobile payments should experience a steep upward trajectory as well.
There is likely to be a sheer incline in social and mobile dependency and less time spent in front of the PC or TV by the consumer because of cheaper smartphone and tablet proliferation.
As a result, mobile advertising is likely to dominate multimedia campaigns in Africa. Ideas that are uniquely mobile and not just offline media tag-ons should rise significantly.
Like other traditional media-types radio will continue to share marketing budgets with digital. Radio channels will rely on social media such as Twitter and Facebook to augment their mainstream content.
Radio personalities and journalists will become more prominent than their stations and programmes since people listen to people. This should be the key driver of content in tech savvy markets with podcasts, Twitter and Facebook increasing their extent of interactivity.
Radio stations are likely to pick-up or start conversations online and continue them offline and continue them online again depending on their amount of talkability.
Talk stations in particular should experience tremendous growth since listeners who can’t phone-in are more than delighted to sms, tweet or Facebook their comments which usually get as much attention as traditional calls.
The immediacy of digital will continue to erode the readership of traditional newspaper titles, particularly dailies. Titles such as the Sowetan and the Daily Sun should not suffer as much since their markets still rely on tactile products but as their markets mature, the status quo should change in line with global trends.
Sunday papers are likely to decrease in size per issue since the bulk of their content will be online. Like dailies, their destiny is to be wholly online animals with agile responsiveness to keep up with their fresh-content starved reader.
Editors and journalists are more likely to evolve into mainstream bloggers and thus forge more intimate relationships with their readership.
The unavoidable content-for-cash logical next step is likely to be taken by most newspaper titles. It should be a precarious transition for most since their content is not niche or nuanced in anyway. The more ‘indispensable’ titles such as Business Day should do well in this paradigm with customised apps for Apple and Android devices.
Stable magazine titles will not be wiped out by digital but will be affected significantly. They are most likely to take their reviews and trends sections online since they are not as immediate as digital.
As with press, magazine editors and journalists will be impelled to develop as bloggers and opinion leaders online so as to augment their offline traffic.
Magazine titles will trump digital when it comes to in-depth interviews, long format opinion pieces and lifestyle features since attention span online is rather short. Online readers are not readers they are more scanners if anything. For long, absorbing and thought-provoking content with tables and charts, most readers prefer their glossies.
Content will continue to rule on social media, only in 2013 it should grow in complexity. Brands will need to employ more integrated storytelling techniques, they need to use multiple platforms such as blog, video, Twitter and then back again.
We should see visual platforms such as Instagram and video being more integrated into campaigns as opposed to just the usual Twitter and Facebook staple.
More meaningful use of analytics by sifting through data and gleaning useful insights will be on the increase since content will definitely climb.
We are also going to see social media and digital teams being integrated into the core team as silos will begin to disappear very quickly. Social media and digital will play such a central role that they will cease to be a fringe competency and become more mainstream as every team member will be required to lean that way.
Digital will continue to compete for the lion’s share of the overall advertising budget.
We should also see more digital integration into the total advertising offering. Digital will cease being an extension of traditional media and become a catalyst and an originator of the core idea.
With the mobile paradigm being more personal than TV and radio, we should begin to see more personalised mobile marketing through the use of location apps.
The growing black middle-class will demand more nuanced communication. Their growth in confidence will put pressure on agencies to acknowledge their need for work that speaks in an idiom that is uniquely African.
We should also begin to see more work with a Pan African idiosyncrasy, particularly in South Africa where integration is becoming more commonplace.
Taelo Immanuel is a writer and multi-award winning creative director based in Johannesburg.
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