[PARTNER CONTENT] “In the past 21 years, we have paid stations just above R1 billion,” says Trinity Mohlamme, business development director of the Media Connection.
Abundant Media (Pty) Ltd, better known as The Media Connection, represents more than 200 community stations in both urban and rural areas of South Africa, and reach approximately nine million people. In South Africa, there are 333 radio stations, including those in the community radio sector.
The company also sells airtime on behalf of more than 15 television and radio stations in Swaziland, Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
“The core business was originally focused on procuring and selling community radio airtime,” Mohlamme says. However, the company has since added complementary businesses including The Brand Connection, TMC Digital, and its training unit TMC Academy.
The Brand Connection provides on-the-ground activations, promotions and loud hailing in all communities around South Africa.
“Creating on the ground, experiential consumer contact is our specialty,” says Bongs Mpanza, general manager of The Brand Connection. In addition, The Brand Connection has its own Sentech channel that facilitates a unique multi-casting radio studio and outside broadcast unit that can be utilised to broadcast live to multiple stations and deliver syndicated programming that can reach deep into the areas the community stations broadcast to.
We reach communities
“When the president wants to speak to the nation, he does it through us,” Mohlamme says. “Political parties use us to reach communities, and we feed the content to community stations.”
And he adds: “We go beyond radio. We are a 360-degree media agency. The company is evolving to become a geo-hyper-targeting company on steroids. We use technology and insights on the ground to find out what is trending and about to trend.”
The Media Connection also discovers what consumers are saying about products and how they are using them. “We understand these diverse consumers and what influences them. We communicate with them in their intimate spaces in the language and even the dialect with which they are comfortable,” he says.
The agency reaches its audiences by radio, social media, TMC digital, apps, on-the-ground marketing, experiential marketing and “local events with national appeal”.
“We book a campaign because it will add value to a particular brand. Our tagline is ‘Connecting brands, making a difference’,” Mohlamme says.
Nuances of diverse communities
“Most marketers have never truly come to grips with the nuances and consumer preferences and buying habits of the incredibly diverse communities that live and shop in South Africa. The Media Connection offers access and insights through its multiple relationships with stations and their often misunderstood, communities.
“Everyone else that speaks to this market uses incorrect measures. They impose on this market. When the market doesn’t respond positively, they think the market is not working. They are using the wrong tools,” he says.
“However, The Media Connection has 21 years of experience and remained number one in reaching the consumers in these markets.”
And he adds: “A vital aspect of the company is ensuring it looks after the brands that are entrusted to the agency to represent”, he says. “We need to ensure that any brand that we work with is safe. Everyone who comes to us will land safely.”
The TMC Academy trained a total of 150 people in various media-related skills over the three years ending 2019. This year the academy will facilitate a further 100 learnerships across South Africa at community radio stations.
According to Mohlamme, the company’s academy is an accredited training facility. “We have a relationship with the Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT-SETA) where we incubate learnerships, and we place people across the country in various parts of the media space. These people include graphic designers, photographers, videographers, radio presenters and social media experts,” Mohlamme explains.
Away from training, the company employs 47 staff and has offices in Johannesburg and Cape Town and a satellite branch in Durban.
Regarding The Media Connection’s plans, Mohlamme says: “We are expanding the platforms to go beyond radio without losing the local flavour.”
The Media Connection is 100% black female owned and is a level one Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment contributor.
Senior Employee Profiles
Director: Trinity Mohlamme
Trinity Mohlamme joined The Media Connection in August 2014 and at the start of February was promoted to be a company director. He was previously Alex FM station manager and helped start several community radio stations. He is also a well-known music producer. He has an advanced radio management qualification from Wits University as well as a merchant development programme qualification from Canada’s Western University that he received while working for Edcon.
Johannesburg general manager: Alu Sixishe
Alu Sixishe has a diploma in commerce from Rhodes University and a degree in applied management from Brigham Young University in the US. Before joining The Media Connection in 2015, she worked in sales in the medical industry.
National sales manager: Blake Andrew
Blake Andrew joined The Media Connection 18 months ago. He previously was an entrepreneur including running a security company, and prior to that he ran an advertising agency. Before that he spent 13 years at The Citizen newspaper where he was national sales manager.
Cape Town general manager: Charmaine Vincent
Charmaine Vincent has worked for The Media Connection for 13 years starting from April 2007. At the Cape Town branch, she leads a team of eight staff. Vincent said she was happy about the recent management changes at The Media Connection and was looking forward to the company growing its business.
General manager TMC Training Academy: Mike Lunika
Before joining The Media Connection in May 2010, Mike Lunika worked as a sports journalist and was involved in several community radio stations including the Alfred Nzo Community Radio in the Mount Ayliff area in the Eastern Cape where he was station manager.
General manager The Brand Connection: Bongs Mpanza
Mpanza has been personally involved in many brand activations since 2010, joining the company just before the 2010 Soccer World Cup and immediately became involved in promoting Coca Cola’s brand in communities as the gold World Cup toured South Africa before the first match of that exciting event. Since then he and The Brand Connection team have successfully executed over a hundred activations in Southern Africa.
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