The Western Cape, with its unique culture, dialect and colloquial idiosyncrasies, is a colourful multi-cultural society influenced by the mountain and the sea.
Despite the political turmoil and the weakened economy that impacts on the advertisers and the consumer, the two major publishing houses in the Western Cape, Media24 and Independent Media, have seen revenue growth over the past two years, with Independent slightly ahead in the race.
Now this could largely be credited to community newspaper titles in the various stables. Communities with good content, transparency and insightful reporting are still and will always be well received. Regional dailies, however, have been stuck in battles to hold circulation, with advertisers big and small changing strategies, shifting budgets, decreasing spend and monitoring consumer behaviour.
Western Cape print investment increased YOY (2014, 2015, and 2016) albeit at a relatively low rate. Independent investment remained stable within the R600-R700 million mark across the three years while Ads24 (Media24’s advertising arm) investment also remained constant during this period.
Publications such as the Cape Argus, Daily Voice, Cape Times, Die Burger, Rapport, and Die Son are well established, trusted newspapers in the Western Cape, each with its own unique offering to the reader.
When I refer to the Western Cape having its own culture, The Argus, and Die Burger are what one would term “the leader” daily publications in the region. I have fond memories as a child, where certain neighbours in my street with the ‘sharing culture’, would ensure these publications were passed from home to home to ensure all our families were updated with current events and news. Of course, the family who bought the newspaper had the privilege of mapping or cutting out pictures. (We had no Google images back then).
Die Son was launched in 2003, followed in 2005 by The Daily Voice, which brought a completely new dynamic to the Western Cape and a ‘new read’ was born. Now these are Cape Town’s very own ‘local skinder’ newspapers. Meaning, if something juicy and newsworthy has occurred in the Peninsula, this is your source.
The top three papers in 2016 – Argus, Burger and Son.
It is no surprise to note that out of the top 10 advertisers in the Western Cape, five are retailers, namely Shoprite Checkers Group, Pick n Pay, Spar, Massmart, and Fruit & Veg City, with of course The Shoprite Checkers Group leading the pack. What is interesting and complementary to the Western Cape publications, is that the Western Cape Government is the third biggest spender over the past three years. This visibly displays the strength, value and impact that believable publications with credible editorial still have in our society.
Here I would like to add that retailers often have catalogues featuring more than 24 pages which are inserted into local and community publications as a carrier, it is therefore important for editorial to ensure relevance, with sales and marketing paying special attention to geographical reach and frequency, because people shop every week.
The media research scene in South Africa has been going through some drastic changes over the past 30 months. The most notable move was the electronic media owners (Television and Radio) leaving SAARF and creating the Broadcast Research Council (BRC). The BRC now runs all electronic media research in South Africa.
The new BRC RAM (Radio Audience Measurement) data marks a new era in radio audience measurement.
The first step in delivering appropriately transformed data was developing a new sampling frame. The sampling frame lists and describes the units from which the sample for a survey will be drawn. As such, it is the absolute bedrock of reliable research.
The BRC sample frame now has better representation for the black market and has redressed the over representation of the coloured and white markets.
The first data, comprising the first two waves, was released on 25 August 2016.
The field work for the full study, based on a 30 000 sample was completed in December 2016. The industry has had the first full complete data set presented recently in the first quarter of 2017.
Looking at the familiar metric of LSMs, as expected we saw a smaller proportion of the population falling into the upper end and a wider spread across the middle sectors.
Important to note though – is that it is impossible to draw parallels between the SAARF RAMS and the new BRC RAM.
Another key transformation objective of the new BRC RAM, was to ensure that the dynamism of radio listening could be captured and analysed for the first time. The new BRC RAM diary has been designed to explicitly capture cross device and cross location listenership.
Radio has become an appointment listen, either from a time channel or presenter perspective. Not only has radio as a medium fragmented, but how one consumes radio has also evolved. The medium is very intimate, personal, and can be with you throughout the day – from the home, to the car (or public transport – listening with earphones), to the office, following into other areas of your life, such as gyms, internet cafes and coffee shops.
Presenter personalities are also key in retaining and converting listeners. Since listeners have various choices of how to access information and entertainment, the presenter needs to be engaging and in the new way consumers interact, this simply means presenters have to be ‘alive and active’ on social media, thus ensuring brand conversations can be extended into the digital space, such as Twitter and Facebook.
Radio is the internet’s ‘loudspeaker’, expanding their offering from on-air to streaming, to online, which includes social and email opportunities; adding auditory to the visual, as radio is four times more effective than any other form of advertising to drive internet browsing (source : RAB UK 2011).
We have three well embedded regional radio stations in the Western Cape, with Smile being the newest entrant. Each of these four stations has their special place in the radio spectrum.
While each of these stations’ core audience fall within the LSM 6-10 market, they have their own personalities and selling points; as well as key community engagement events which have become “annual diary events”.
Primedia’s two Western Cape stations have the highest investment by far; receiving 72.5% of the total spend over these three years. With Smile being the newest inclusion, it brings the Mediamark stable to second position overall with steady growth YOY. SABC saw an increase in the last year after stagnant levels for the first two years. Albeit at much lower levels, The Media Connection – with their range of community stations, has remained relatively stable over this period.
The fast propelling growth of digital platforms and social media, has forced the integration at media houses to ensure growth opportunities. While their digital and social media platforms are fast becoming a key revenue driver in this space, their new challenge is to convert it to revenue opportunities. Clients and advertisers are seeking a full 360 media marketing solution.
Digital and social media platforms cannot be seen in isolation anymore, and added to that, media owners have to embrace and entertain our ‘Born Frees’ and fast emerging “middle class” markets, who are streaks ahead in how they consume media. It is therefore imperative that the media owners’ ‘social media feeds’ are aligned. Let us not lose sight of the fact though, that collaboration, fast and efficient client service delivery, pro-activity and factual solution reverts will remain a pre-requisite to do professional business.
The top 10 advertisers within the radio category differ slightly from print, with only two of the retailers making the top 10, with Shoprite Checkers Group again leading the way. The Western Cape Government still falls within the top 10, and other than Coca-Cola SA, the banking and mobile/digital sectors fill the remaining placements over the past three years.
While OOH is a strong medium to reach mass numbers, there are tighter restrictions and regulations within the Western Cape region with limited sites and in some instances no opportunities, such as street poles, on offer. The potential for this medium lies in its ability to move into the virtual/digital space as well as expanding opportunities within specific areas.
The city of Cape Town should be more embracing of endorsing prime established sites which will generate revenue and enhance the visual aesthetics of buildings in and around the city.
This story was first published in the May 2017 issue of The Media.
Bonita Bachmann is managing director of The MediaShop Cape Town.
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