What is happening in the television space right now is reminiscent of those first crazy years when the onset of digital publishing and advertising fractured the print sector.
New and shiny technologies turned the age-old business upside down. Massive investment was required to keep pace, while revenues took a hit as advertising moved online – and cost much less. New skills were needed across the board. And then there was the question of measurement, something that still preoccupies the publishing sector, although bodies such as the Publisher Research Council of South Africa and the Interactive Advertising Bureau of South Africa have made huge strides in this field.
Cut to 2021 and the world of television. Streaming and over the top services have seen significant increases in audiences (not least due to the pandemic), while globally linear television has taken a knock. And, like the print sector, advertising has taken a hit, as most streamers don’t offer traditional advertising. Hence, advertising funded programming is increasing, as is integration and product placement within exclusively streamed shows, offering creative and innovative means to increase revenues.
Of course, with the SABC servicing millions of South Africans, linear television is far from over here. But with digital terrestrial television finally becoming a reality, this too will change the SABCs current reality.
As with print media a couple of decades ago, the upturned television industry has also to measure audiences and engagement to deliver return on investment to advertisers. With viewers in a single household watching different shows on different streamers or on television, and using multiple ‘screens’ or devices to do so presents challenges. South Africans, for example, tend to use mobile devices to watch streaming content. We’re a mobile nation, compared to the US or UK where television sets or laptops are used more often than smartphones.
Nielsen, the global information, data and market measurement firm, has already launched NielsenONE, which it describes as a “single, cross-media currency, so you’re able to buy and sell across linear and digital platforms seamlessly”. The good news is South Africa is not far behind, as Nielsen Media’s Terry Murphy and the BRC’s Gary Whitaker explain in our streaming update.
We’ve also explored the world of telenovelas, and commercial integration into these hugely popular shows, highlighted by the number of SAFTA awards the genre received recently. We’ve also asked top media owner sales heads to share how they’re managing to work in an almost virtual world. Our story on how a special sports influencer agency is helping sports stars monetise their digital presence, how telcos can help brands tap into mobile advertising. We’ve taken a look into why transparency in digital advertising across Africa is so important by an expert in the field, and given huge insights into the effectiveness and creativity of television advertising in South Africa.
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