The Airports Company South Africa (Acsa) has promised advertisers “constant innovation” via its new operating model for selling advertising space at its airports around South Africa. This is an attempt to grow its “non aeronautical” revenue stream.
The launch of the new operating model is aimed at meeting stakeholder needs and simultaneously improving the airport operator’s non-aeronautical revenue stream. Acsa says the model will “streamline the current multi-concessionaire approach in a bid to retain major brands and attract more advertisers to the airports”. Acsa wants to “to reverse the migration of major brands from airports”, it said in a statement.
“Our new advertising portfolio model illustrates the constant innovation that is a feature of how Airports Company South Africa does business. We continue to seek optimal ways of achieving maximum efficiencies that deliver value to all our stakeholders,” said Haroon Jeena, Acsa’s group executive of commercial.
Jeena said Acsa “critically assessed the current advertising model through a consultative process with key stakeholders, and in line with its transparent and progressive approach to doing business, has now developed a world-class advertising model”. A commercial media specialist consultancy was employed to “share their insights and expertise” and to ensure the process was objective.
Out of home advertising is the main feature of airport advertising, and Acsa wants to increase its market share from 7% to 10% in the next five years. It also wants to “facilitate corporate transformation objectives by increasing the participation of emerging entities in the advertising value chain, and to create unique advertising solutions that are integrated into the traveller’s journey and experience”.
A recent story in The Media magazine, out of home media owners criticised Acsa’s management of the airport media environment. Continental Outdoor’s Bazil Lauryssen said Acsa had “sacrificed the look and feel of its airports for ballooning advertising revenue”.
He said consumers were “bombarded” by different advertising messages to the detriment of the advertising environment “where it looks like all you want to do is maximise money, as opposed to creating a world-class airport environment”.
But Jeena says Acsa wants to “build an efficient and customer-focused business, in line with its vision of being a world-leading airport business”. He says the overhaul of the company’s indoor, outdoor and experiential advertising business will go a long way toward achieving this goal and says Acsa’s strategy is informed by global best practice and local market research.
He said stakeholders in the airport advertising value chain had highlighted several issues that were preventing airport advertising from realising its full potential. Examples include the difficulty of differentiating airport advertising from other out of home categories and certain structural problems related to the multi-concessionaire approach.
Earlier Lauryssen accused Acsa of “shaping itself as a media owner and buyer, in addition to being a landlord”. He said the company took control of its ad space and sold advertising directly to brands during the Fifa World Cup. “As such, it bypassed media agency expertise by working directly with tournament sponsors such as MTN and Coca-Cola,” he told The Media.
“It got out of control and the economics and the perception of value was created,” says Lauryssen. “Little did they know, it was a once-off event, so the advertising revenue obviously peaked, because they cut out the media owner, and they festooned their airport with clutter but made lots of money.”
Now Jeena says the media buying process will be “simpler and more effective as the number of contact points for media agencies in buying media at the airport will be reduced.
“This will be supported by clearer, consistent and sustainable pricing policy. Another benefit is the advertising solutions that will be integrated into the passenger experience. We are looking forward to seeing these improvements elevate airport advertising to premium positioning and thereby growing this non-aeronautical revenue stream,” he said.
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