Over R5 million has been paid over to universities by BOO! Surprising Media Solutions through its Campus Media business. The funds are part of a deal struck with universities to offer an additional revenue stream through brand advertising on innovative platforms such as Campus TV.
In addition, plans for 2021 include offering part-time employment and training in media to about 21 students on the various campuses that are part of the network.
“Now that the students are officially returning to campuses from March 15, 2021, we are in serious engagement with our brand partners. We’re very proud to have broken the R5 million barrier in net income to the universities, especially over this difficult period, and we hope to double that in the next 18 months,” says Dave McKenzie, BOO! CEO and pioneer of the Campus Media platform.
BOO! Surprising Media Solutions launched its Campus Media business with a network of the top 10 universities in 2019. Since its launch, this stand-alone business within the BOO! stable has gained enormous traction in the marketplace, despite the forced hiatus due to the closure of campuses under lockdown last year.
After several workshops were held with senior media agency professionals, BOO! recognised that a one-stop solution to target the Generation Z market on the premium university campuses was under-serviced, but in demand. BOO! then launched its Media Transformation Project, aimed at assisting universities in raising extra funds from advertising revenue on BOO!’s multi-media campus platforms.
The company has successfully pioneered alternative income streams for shopping mall landlords, business class lounges, on Cape Town and Plettenberg Bay’s premium beaches, among other initiatives and more recently at the new Fourways Farmers market through innovative media.
“Developing a multi-dimensional media platform across the campuses has been no mean feat,” says McKenzie “Convincing the respective universities to buy-in to our vision required multiple hoops to be navigated. We had to give them comfort that we would not turn their campuses into a Christmas tree of brands bombarding students. Responsible media opportunities had to be developed. We’re happy to announce that long -term agreements have been secured with the universities; we have been happy to invest capital into the campus infrastructure.”
They developed the media through thorough research, by tracking the student journey from their residences to the bus stop, onto the busses, into the various campuses, via the student centres and canteens, to the lecture rooms, and the libraries.
“We then curated a media platform that tracked this journey to offer advertisers multiple touchpoints, always remaining sensitive to the environment,” McKenzie explains. The Campus Media network includes Campus TV, fleets of university buses, campus radio solutions, static media and street art, tabletop media, innovative solutions in the student residences; as well as an activation booking service for the real estate available to brands.
The Campus TV network is particularly innovative, with a network of over 120 large format screens placed in high dwell time environments including libraries, student centres, coffee shops, lecture room pause areas, restaurants and dining halls. The content is managed by BOO!’s talented in-house content management and technical team, developed in conjunction with multiple content partners to deliver content that is enjoyed and curated with the students and the universities input.
Shirona Patel, head of communications for the University of the Witwatersrand, says that the Campus TV network in particular, has been an important value add for the university. She says that they are able to develop their own content to talk to their students across the Campus TV network, providing enormous value for our internal communications to the students as well as for visitors to the campus.
Adding to that, Robin Golding, director of procurement and acting director of commercial development, says that UCT and BOO! have travelled a long, but successful road in developing the third-stream initiative together. “It is enormously satisfying to see us reap the fruits of all of our hard labour. This project is one of the critical components of UCT’s business development strategy to drive new revenue streams.”
McKenzie describes the Campus Media business as a “classic social business”.
“What is so incredibly satisfying is that we set out to develop our Media Transformation Project to strike a balance between social objectives and financial goals, situated somewhere between a profit-maximising business and the non-profit sector. We are proud to be able to contribute to the lives of students across the country.’’