The Media - June 2021 Edition

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ISSUE 188 JUNE 2021

INSIDE: › › › ›


Pilani Bubu

Shifting screens

The TV territory is transforming

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hat 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 linear television has taken a knock globally. 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 SABC’s – and other broadcasters’ – current reality. 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. 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 asked top media owner sales heads to share how they’re managing to work in an almost virtual world. We have stories on how a special sports influencer agency is helping sports stars monetise their digital presence, and how telcos can help brands tap into mobile advertising. We’ve taken an expert look into why transparency in digital advertising across Africa is so important. The Media. Got to love it. Glenda

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PUBLISHED BY Arena Holdings Hill on Empire, 16 Empire Road (cnr Hillside Road) Parktown Johannesburg 2193 Postal Address: PO Box 1746 Saxonwold Johannesburg 2193 Telephone: 011 280 3000 EDITORIAL Editor: Glenda Nevill Content Manager: Raina Julies Sub-Editor: Anthony Sharpe Content Co-ordinator: Vanessa Payne Contributors: Natalie Botha, Monique Claassen, Julian Jordaan, Deon Lourens, Donald Mokgale, Ato Mokwena, Stewart Morrison, Nomsa Philiso, Daren Poole, Mike Sharman DESIGN Head of Design: Jayne Macé-Ferguson Senior Designer: Anja Hagenbuch Advert Designer: Bulelwa Sotashe Cover Image: Deon Lourens SALES Sales Manager: Tarin-Lee Watts 079 504 7729 Sales Administrator: Neesha Klaaste PRODUCTION Production Editor: Shamiela Brenner MANAGEMENT General Manager, Magazines: Jocelyne Bayer Copyright: The Media. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written consent of the publisher. The publisher is not responsible for unsolicited material. The Media is published by Arena Holdings. The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Arena Holdings. All advertisements/advertorials have been paid for and therefore do not carry any endorsement by the publisher.


On the record...


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Leaders of four media owner sales teams tell GLENDA NEVILL how they adapted to selling advertising in a (mostly) virtual world.


Athletes don’t always have ownership of their digital lives, but a South African sports influencer start-up is looking to change all of that, writes MIKE SHARMAN.


TV advertising is still the most effective way to reach mass audiences, but with so much content out there, how do brands ensure return on investment? MONIQUE CLAASSEN, NATALIE BOTHA and DAREN POOLE share some insights.


In leveraging telco data and mobile-owned messaging, brands and brand agencies can launch telco-driven mobile advertising and deliver impactful, targeted and personalised mobile-messaging campaigns, says DONALD MOKGALE.


Cross-media measurement is essential in a world of fragmented viewing. GLENDA NEVILL finds out where South Africa is when it comes to measuring streaming audiences.


Savvy brands can take advantage of TikTok Business in South Africa. But beware, says JULIAN JORDAAN: to be effective, don’t make ads; make TikToks.


It’s important to keep a close eye on what’s written in a contract compared with what’s being delivered on the ground, writes STEWART MORRISON.


South Africans are mad for telenovelas, as the number of awards in the recent SAFTAs will attest. NOMSA PHILISO shares why they’re TV magic, while ATO MOKWENA reveals the effectiveness of media integration strategies in the space.

REGULARS 04 Ed’s note: On the record 06 Bites: News in brief 07 Who are You? I am Pilani Bubu 34 The Hotseat with

Greg Chen, CEO and founder of Mobiz, which recently scored R18-million from Kalon Venture Partners for its US expansion.


Pilani Bubu is a South African singer, songwriter, speaker, performer, TV presenter and creative entrepreneur.

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A recent Nielsen report, Branded Integrations Come of Age in a Streaming World, has pointed out the value of product placement in shows streamed on subscription video-on-demand platforms (SVOD). “Given that SVOD content is free of advertising, product placements and branded integrations provide advertisers and agencies with a modern way to integrate brands into the burgeoning streaming realm while simultaneously gaining incremental reach,” said the report. The issue is in the metrics used to measure and monetise placements. Nielsen, working with clients, came up with a metric using the 30-second TV ad as a base. In a note, Nielsen said: “The methodology adjusts for duration and integration type to arrive at valued, equivalised impressions. The resulting metric illuminates both delivery and incremental reach. Importantly, the metric provides full visibility of the value of branded integrations in the SVOD space. That visibility means advertisers and agencies now know that they reach their target and get what they pay for.” The methodology was tested in Cobra Kai’s first month on Netflix, for Mercedes-Benz and Dell. [See story on page 26]


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Global tech outfit Comcast has released a new report titled What’s Next for TV Advertising. In it, the authors suggest there are four changes taking place that are driving the industry forward. These relate to a much broader and more diverse market, encompassing TV and digital video. Bottom line? A lot more investment is required to “build the marketplace of the future”. 1. Technical solutions, standards, and working practices must be developed to support addressability across different pools of linear and digital inventory. 2. Agency and advertiser workflows should be transformed to take full advantage of new digital-like capabilities and deliver the efficiencies required. 3. Platforms and industry-wide practices are needed to support the greater application of data to multiplatform inventory. 4. It is important to identify opportunities and, as an industry, collaborate in the development of standards, solutions, platforms and capabilities, sharing investments, and leveraging the benefits of scale.


Zee World, channel 166 on DStv, reaches approximately 50 million households in Africa. Now it has started dubbing its popular Bollywood movies into Zulu and English. “We started dubbing in Zulu as a natural next step to make our content even more relevant and easily understood by our viewers,” Zee World said. “We decided to start with Zulu as it is largely spoken in southern Africa.”

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The eighth season of Survivor South Africa is doing so much more than keeping us glued to our screens. With this series being shot on South Africa’s Wild Coast, an innovative partnership with the Eastern Cape Development Corporation has resulted in a massive boost to the local economy. “The ECDC investment of R2-million towards the production of Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island on the Wild Coast resulted in an economic impact value of more than R10-million,” said ECDC CEO Mandla Mpikashe. “Of the more than 103 jobs created by the production, 55 were held by women and 60 were held by local youth.”



Contestants in Survivor South Africa: Immunity Island


I am Pilani Bubu

A South African singer-songwriter, TV presenter and creative entrepreneur, PILANI BUBU is a self-funded, self-managed, self-published independent contemporary folk artist who won Best African Adult Contemporary Album at the 2020 South African Music Awards. She is also the host of the one-on-one interviews for an exciting new video advertising opportunity for Arena Group Holdings’ SA Home Owner publication, and will also soon be hosting digital video content for The Media and The Media Online too.




I was a little girl, as far back as I can remember my parents had us involved in all kinds of extramural activities. They encouraged us to learn new things and made sure we were exposed to as much as possible. We were encouraged to read and explore as we travelled as a family. I think this kind of open and supportive environment is what gave me the confidence to pursue any kind of creative project or endeavour. From the age of 9 and until my university days, I played the piano, marimba, recorder and violin, was in an orchestra, and sang in various bands and national and chamber choirs. Now add to that list extra lessons in English, knitting, ballroom dancing, debating and so much more. I started out studying towards a BCom LLB degree, but then chose marketing and eventually found myself working in the field because I needed a more purposeful journey. I found that whatever gave me the most creative energy is what

I would lean into. When I quit the corporate world, I started by formalising my studies in interior design at Inscape and recorded my first-ever EP. I believed that all my passions could work together to help me fund my first love, which is music, but in a far more enjoyable way than simply working a job.


I am most concerned with social justice and addressing the resultant social ills of the generational trauma left behind by the legacy of apartheid that still exists in South Africa today. I’m also interested in issues of poverty and the plight of femicide and gender-based violence.

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I work with various organisations including my own, Amplified Voices, to build campaigns addressing and advocating for various human rights. I produce creative work, music and art that talks to these issues, articulating various perspectives of them to help amplify our voices for change.


notebook. Lipstick – all day every day. Laptop – my whole life and creative ideas are archived on it.

WHO IS YOUR SUPERHERO AND WHY? Oh man, that’s a very

interesting question. I feel that there isn’t a superhero based on the heroes Pilani I would like to see Bubu represented. I want to see the strong African women who build and nurture society be represented for all that they do for black society and black children, in particular, in the most dire and disenfranchised of circumstances. So if the Black Panther of Wakanda could be female, that would be a great start for me.


Likely touring the world seasonally and living on the road more. I will probably have about seven musical projects in my repertoire, have written a book, attempted having a child, done a season or two as the host of an international design TV show, been an ambassador for a great cause and made impactful strides as the founder of my own social enterprises. THE MEDIA I 7

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All’s fair in love and sales

GLENDA NEVILL finds out how salespeople have helped themselves, their coworkers and their clients to cope in difficult, uncertain times.


t is said great media sales people have certain qualities. They’re confident and extroverted. They’re ‘always on’. They’re resilient, good listeners and optimistic. They’re focused, are great multitaskers and are persistent. And they know how to read the room and the people with whom they’re negotiating. Face-to-face is how they operate and engage best. But when South Africa locked down at the end of March 2020, things changed. Printers closed down for all but the most essential newspapers. Journalists, agency professionals and sales teams were sent home. Advertising took a dive. And we all learned how to Zoom. Quickly. On 17 March 2020, ahead of news that South Africa would go into lockdown by month-end, The Media Online published an article by Park Advertising’s Chris Botha on 25 ways Covid-19 would impact the media environment. Botha said: “Media owners will be making less money. The result? Either offering more discount to get their share of the pie, or severe margin protection – where the clamp will Bridgette come down on Manamela clients looking to cut spend. Relationships 10 I T H E M E D I A

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between media owners, media agencies and clients will be tested around the negotiation tables.” He was so right. To that end, we asked senior sales personnel at Spark Media, Media24, Tractor Outdoor and Mediamark how they rallied their teams and learned to survive in what are the most challenging circumstances they’ve ever had to deal with.

BRIDGETTE MANAMELA: KEY ACCOUNT MANAGER AT SPARK MEDIA As media owners, we had to take stock of what lockdown meant for the category of local newspapers. As an essential service, local news has a major responsibility to provide potentially life-saving information to the various clusters of South Africa. As a team, it was pertinent to recognise that as an essential news provider, we had a major role to play in informing the citizenry of what the pandemic meant to

each and every community we serve. Only a selected number of newspapers could be printed during level 5, our commercial printing factories were halted and no inserts could be produced. The team worked hard to communicate the frequent fluctuations in our newspaper print orders to busy and stressed clients and agencies. We promoted the crucial role of local news in a pandemic, and worked hard to remain relevant, top of mind and easy to work with for advertisers’ future campaigns. Our strategy was based on empathy, being in it together, finding solutions, and understanding the gravity of the situation and the need to be partners through this uncharted journey. We could empathise with the restrictions, limitations and uncertainty. The clients and agencies we work with in the retail industry were limited to essential items in various lockdown levels, they had stock issues that needed to be taken into consideration when advertising, and they had the responsibility of ensuring precautions were in place to protect their staff and that customers were advised of their safety measures. Knowing that every client and agency we worked with was dealing with this unprecedented time too,


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we set out to minimise their Zoom fatigue by being focused on getting quality time to give concise solutions that anticipated their needs. One of the needs that we predicted would arise was greater access to consumers. With people leaving their homes less frequently, brands had fewer contact opportunities with shoppers. The heft of Caxton’s distribution network, combined with our ability to write content that resonates with readers, paved the way for an all-encompassing solution called INTRODUCING!SA, offering an in-home sampling solution, as well as other content marketing opportunities. Our sales director encouraged us to be human; this approach inspired the team not to feel alone, even though we were all experiencing different difficulties dependent on our individual circumstances. The team were calling one another just to find out how they were. There was a willingness to take time out to listen to colleagues when they just needed to share. Ultimately, the three biggest lessons learned were: • Our physical and mental health need to be prioritised in modern society. • Resilience is real. We are stronger than we think we are, and we show our true strength when we are tested. • We should celebrate even the smallest milestones, every little thing.

TASMIA ISMAEL: GENERAL MANAGER COMMERCIAL AT MEDIA24 For almost a decade, print media brands have travelled an arduous journey towards transforming legacy platforms and aligning their future with rapidly changing media consumption habits.

What is apparent to both readers and advertisers is the switching of delivery platforms (subscriber and retail sales) to online subscriptions. Less apparent and running concurrently with these seismic and often painful changes brought about by technology is arguably the most awaited shift within print media organisations: transforming their internal sales and marketing strategies to address both direct client and media agency requirements. Marketers and their agencies have not escaped rampant technological changes. A recent article in The Media Online argues that it’s all about data, and marketers who fail to embrace the changes and upskill will be most severely affected.

THIS PHILOSOPHY OF PLACING THE CLIENT FIRST IS NOT A NEW ONE Late last year Ads24 successfully completed the realignment of its media sales division to mirror the significant advances the group has made in expanding their brand portfolio. The future is exciting and recent market share gains are very positive. We need to understand that clients are going through changes as well – from tech to Covid-19 and a weak economy, the impact is great. This philosophy of placing the client first is not a new one but will be welcomed by advertisers who see media channels as partners, not merely ad salespeople. We have undergone significant training and upskilling to equip our teams to understand client pain points; we need to know what keeps them up at night and how we fit into their world.

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Our teams acknowledged change as a motivator and adapted rapidly, realising failure was not an option and client-centricity was a powerful mechanism to engage and build strong relationships. From the outset, the questions we asked advertisers were centred on the stories behind their brands, and how they wanted them told in order to engage audiences and create an impact. We worked well towards reshaping thinking and creating a culture of achievement, ensuring our client-facing staff are comfortable with the vision and approach we are taking with clients. While there have been some difficulties in meeting face-to-face, we are willing to accommodate this, and remain determined to communicate and sell solutions – not just ads. At the end of the day, good sales teams shine through. In addition to putting clients first, salespeople are equipped to deliver integrated, multilevel platform solutions, and create a communication solution tailored to brand goals and targeting

Tasmia Ismael

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It was an incredible lesson for us as a team, as salespeople feed off time with clients and each other. We rely on seeing clients to build relationships, hear first-hand what challenges they are facing and brainstorm ideas on how we could assist. With strict lockdowns, this human connection was removed immediately. We changed gears and focused on meaningful conversations, engaging with clients on a human level, checking in and supporting, as we were all in the same situation. Client confidence in booking out of home (OOH) was a big challenge due to the lockdown levels. Most clients moved their spend into digital and TV. We offered innovative options to clients to book; we removed cancellation clauses, 12 I T H E M E D I A

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and moved as many campaigns as we could to digital OOH so that clients could play and pause with no penalties while lockdown levels changed. We removed buying hurdles and discounted heavily in line with traffic data. We also deferred a number of campaigns, offering clients financial relief during hard lockdown. For the most part, we really used the hard lockdown as an opportune time to connect with clients rather than just sell to them. Lockdown also led to us investing more heavily in real-time data so we could update and track audience movements and plan accordingly. We focused a lot on digital OOH innovation, with data being at the forefront. This fast-tracked us into new innovations such as DOOHshare, pDOOH and dynamic artwork. We also spent a lot of time on bettering our internal systems and processes. We learned the importance of being a partner to our clients and vice versa no matter the situation. Clients helped us by not cancelling where they could and we helped them out when they had no funds. This solidified our relationships with clients.

initiative that added value to the team during this period was our Lockstep masterclasses that were hosted on a weekly basis, and which facilitated both personal and professional development. With our head office being in Cape Town and the majority of the sales team based in Johannesburg, we were well equipped for lockdown already. We made use of internal platforms, Microsoft Teams, Slack and Teamphoria. We used Teamphoria a lot, giving our team members recognition linked to an incentive. We very much moved into the realm of ‘business with purpose’, which has been an ongoing theme in our company. We’re now in the process of obtaining our BCorp certification, which is granted to companies that meet the criteria of balancing profit and purpose. Our responsibility to shareholders will remain, but there’s now a greater emphasis on the role we play within our community.

Lizelle Mc Connell

FOR THE MOST PART, WE REALLY USED THE HARD LOCKDOWN AS AN OPPORTUNE TIME TO CONNECT WITH CLIENTS RATHER THAN JUST SELL TO THEM Working remotely has affected people differently. Some of our team had to take on new roles at home (teachers, childcarers and so forth). We had to adapt our approach to allow our team the flexibility to do what they needed to do, and show them the support they needed to be productive and safeguard their mental well-being. Another


audiences that matter. The sales team has come alive to the potential of selling solutions across multiple platforms, from print and television, to digital and content marketing, to providing insights. To communicate the strides made internally, the Ads24 trade marketing team has a number of active communication channels aimed at advertisers; these include webinars, newsletters, data reports, and mainstream and social media campaigns. They are in the process of introducing a brand makeover in support of the internal vision and sales strategy. Competition remains active, but gaps in the market have been created with the closure of magazine and newspaper titles. We ask ourselves where these readers have gone; has this left gaps and what content can we give them that will create revenue opportunities?

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The first challenge was getting the Mediamark team mentally, emotionally and digitally connected. We had to ensure the technical infrastructure was in place, and that the sales teams had the tools and support needed to function effectively through all the changes and challenges. Retaining high levels of personal connection was a priority, ensuring all staff were able to communicate remotely using available tools such as Microsoft Teams and Zoom. Regular virtual team meetings and check-ins were set up with a dual focus: to share information about the business; and to keep track of how everyone was coping both personally and professionally with the changes. To lead the teams effectively, virtual measurement tools were put in place to monitor performance. These included adapting to e-learning formats as well as driving one-on-one coaching sessions via Microsoft Teams and the like. Mediamark is a solutions provider. Our primary sales strategy is to ensure we sustainably support and add value to our clients in every interaction. The reality of our clients’ time pressures, financial challenges, childcare worries and so forth led to us implementing a bespoke engagement plan. This meant customising each client contact to best suit the different approaches needed in linear and non-linear formats. Webinars, virtual hot-desks, one-on-one virtual sessions (formal and informal) as well as all forms of social media channels were engaged to connect with our clients. Strategies also included personalised deliveries to bring a little light and joy to our clients through virtual

The concept of value has always been the driving force behind Mediamark and its media brands. We have always been committed to being in tune with what our clients and audiences expect of us, and then striving to exceed those expectations with great value and great entertainment. experiences such as chocolate Whenever there is increased tastings and fine dining. pressure on resources (time, Tailoring our touchpoints money, attention), value will successfully helped drive proactive play a significant role in any pitches and demonstrate our desire decision-making process. for partnership. Collaboration Confident, knowledgeable became critical, as did a streamlining sales experts are better able to of processes and communications collaborate with clients as effective to maximise efficiency and impact. partners who can add value to We demonstrated continued the client’s business beyond commitment to the acceleration negotiating discounts, and this of our digital transformation approach remains a focus area through key partnership with for Mediamark. dY/dX to automate and re-engineer The three major lessons learned: our workflows, and bring about • It is possible to find, engage and an ‘agile’ work culture. close new clients virtually. We found motivation is closely • Move fast and break linked to confidence, which things. Innovation is can be difficult to build in challenging situations that a journey, a blend of human connections and have no clear end point in technology to learn, sight. A lack of structure adapt and iterate. and routine is harmful • Allow people the to levels of motivation; opportunity to surprise we addressed this you – nobody could by working with have predicted the individuals to impact of a situation develop their own in which so many unique blueprints to people have navigate daily work Cindy proven themselves requirements Diamond extremely resilient. more effectively.


THE MOST AWARDS’ VIRTUALLY PERFECT AWARD Recognising the massive impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on media sales teams, the MOST Awards 2021 is presenting a Virtually Perfect Award. The main criteria to be met for winning this award would be a sales team that took a firm grip on ‘business unusual’ by making clients feel like it was business as usual through the innovative and effective use of virtual practices.

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The perfect match


he sport industry is changing. The impact of Covid-19 on revenue streams has been tangible – the bankruptcy of USA Rugby and the furlough decisions executed at English football clubs are just two examples. We have witnessed pockets of innovation, such as Kevin de Bruyne negotiating his new Manchester City contract with data analysts rather than a traditional agent service. We have even experienced attempts at disruption, such as the ‘Weekend Special’ European Super League – but we know how quickly that investment bank-backed flame fizzled. With legislative developments such as the Fair Pay to Play Act at collegiate sport level in the US, as well as the

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boom in blockchain-supported non-fungible tokens, or NFTs (Bryan Habana recently became the first South African sports star to sell an NFT, commemorating his infamous cheetah sprint), sport is one of the most bankable bets for the decade ahead. This is a short story about how we spotted a gap and have been taking advantage of it for the past 11 months.


The first sign: Last October, Bryan Habana and I had dinner with one of South Africa’s most highly rated venture capitalists. He planted a seed: (Bryan + x) x scale = y. The second sign: I read one physical book a year, in December. It’s my holiday pleasure. In 2019, my read

was That Will Never Work by Netflix co-founder Marc Randolph. It chronicles the genesis of the streaming platform with the initial considerations of running a ‘VHS rental business via mail’. Fortunately, Japan invented the DVD, and Randolph and Reed Hastings were spared from sending tapes in the post. This planted the seed of ‘scale’. The third sign: Bryan provided insight into the lack of website adoption by athletes – rugby players in particular – and post-Japan 2019, a domain name search for some of the most valuable Springboks will return figures of more than $100 000 just to acquire ‘’ for some of our Rugby World Cup winners.


The reality is that, with social media, most athletes don’t have a website because it’s neither easy nor cost effective to create one – there’s design, development, hosting costs and templates that aren’t geared purely to an athlete’s needs.

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The business of sport is changing, with technology enabling athletes and sports influencers to take charge of their digital lives, writes MIKE SHARMAN.


Mike, Ben, Bryan, Andy and Shaka … and the offering

The problem with a pure social media play is that your personal brand lives across the internet in an extremely fragmented way. If a fan or brand is looking for you, they first need to know who you are, and then guess your handle on the various social platforms in order to find and follow you. Due to the way in which social media algorithms distribute your content to your timelines, not all of your followers or fans see all of your content, all of the time. This is a problem for your sponsors, as they are never exposed to your entire audience – the universe that defines the value of your digital presence. We thought: let’s build one destination to house your social media, key stats and a place to showcase your sponsors.



Ben Karpinski and I were inspired by Tinder’s focus on the predominant profile picture. Its purpose is to find you dates while ours is to make athletes more marketable, and there is one social channel where these individuals are always presented at their professional best: Instagram. We pulled in Kirsty Sharman (no relation but a decade of friendship and professional relationships), threw names around and spitballed brand ideas. Finally, on 30 January 2020, we registered Some sketching ensued, until we agreed on a more refined approach

– website builder, best social media content featured, key stats, and the integration of a charity or foundation page to raise funds for something close to an athlete’s heart. The kicker, however, was the idea of hosting a store for personalised, branded merchandise where every athlete has the potential to brand their own clothing without ever having to see, touch, house or deliver the stock (MatchKit takes care of all of this for you). And for those who want to sell personalised voice notes and custom videos for fans and their friends’ special occasions, there’s an option for that too.


It’s a platform to help athletes make money, regardless the status of sporting events. • It’s a DIY website builder that enables athletes or their agents to showcase their sporting pedigree and sponsors – live within minutes. • It integrates into existing social media channels, including TikTok, to show potential sponsors the scope and quality of an athlete’s influence. • It provides athletes with a hasslefree, plug-and-play e-commerce store where fans can purchase everything from bespoke branded merchandise to personalised video and audio shout-outs. • It allows you to accept payments for your foundation or charity.

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Highlights of our traction so far: • We have signed up athletes with a combined global 6.7 million fans. Our MatchKit profiles have been viewed close to 80 000 times. • SA Hockey used the crowdfunding feature to raise $10 000 in two months for their Olympic fundraising efforts. • We have signed the US Olympic swimming team and are in talks with multiple Olympic bodies. • We’ve rolled out the integration of our tech into the Sudamérica Rugby app, where more than 200 athletes across Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Chile and Colombia are being given a personal branding overhaul in Spanish or Portuguese. • We are a Friends of Red Bull supplier. Sport is big money, as are those who play it. With MatchKit, we’ve created a way for athletes to take ownership of their digital lives and get their due. Mike Sharman founded Retroviral, an agency with an unsurpassed knack for helping brands go viral globally. You will have seen his work for Kreepy Krauly, RocoMamas, Russell Hobbs, Martin & Martin brands, and M-Net, to name a few. Sharman was named one of the Mail & Guardian’s top 200 young (under 35) South Africans in 2013 and is the co-founder of influencer marketing platform;, a disruptive sports storytelling agency; and athlete ecosystem @mikesharman

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The art and science behind great creative


ith everything from the daily grind to after-hours entertainment and even religious life markers such as weddings and funerals having shifted location from the real world to our ever-present screens, it’s little wonder the ‘screen queens’ – that’s TV, mobile and digital out-of-home (DOOH) – are marketers’ primary platforms of choice in 2021. In fact, our CrossMedia database reveals that South Africans watch almost double the global average when it comes to linear TV, with streaming content hot on its heels. Our CrossMedia database also tells us that globally, the key levers for paid media driving greater brand salience in cut-through campaigns comprise two crucial elements: sufficient investment to drive exposure within the core target audience; and stand-out creative to drive brand engagement and communicate core messages. So the best way to ensure media ROI is to start with great creative.

Creativity is facing an effectiveness crisis. But if your brand is willing to learn from the best-performing creatively awarded campaigns, you can solve this before the next ad break, write MONIQUE CLAASSEN, NATALIE BOTHA and DAREN POOLE.

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TV advertising remains the most effective way to reach mass audiences, with the highest average reach among all paid media touchpoints, despite digital leapfrogging traditional platforms to reach further corners of our country. Advertisers have taken note and scrambled to optimise content for the full range of linear channels and streaming platforms now available, but the IPA clarifies in its The Crisis in Creative Effectiveness report that there’s just too much content that’s narrowly targeted and lacks brand building across TV, OOH and online video.

SOUTH AFRICANS WATCH ALMOST DOUBLE THE GLOBAL AVERAGE WHEN IT COMES TO LINEAR TV You want your audience to do more than rush to click on your latest digital promo or dash in-store after your prime time ad airs; you want them to keep your brand top-of-mind long after the ad has been seen and to become long-term advocates of what your brand stands for. That means going beyond simply taking the same video across TV and digital formats to understanding how the content will be consumed, and adapting it to the right channel and media to increase its impact. Unfortunately, the budget allocated to brand building among the world’s most creatively awarded campaigns has fallen to just 66% over the last four years, 10 percentage points below optimum. No wonder creativity is facing an effectiveness crisis.

NOW PLAYING ON A SCREEN NEAR YOU… TAKEAWAYS FROM KANTAR’S CREATIVE EFFECTIVENESS AWARDS Successful advertisers know the hard work starts long before the ad is produced. You need to build on consumer insights to identify a creative territory for the brand, as a foundation for ads that run across channels, markets, cultures and time. Now in its second year, Kantar’s Creative Effectiveness Awards celebrate this, highlighting the top characteristics that make ads effective with consumers today, based on analysis of 10 000+ ads around the world throughout 2020 through our ad-testing solution, Link. 1. Be distinctive. Stand out from the clutter to be noticed and remembered, as you’re competing for attention against numerous multiple screens. Be distinctive in a way that makes sense for your brand, whether that’s a catchy backing track or breaking the mould of what audiences expect from your category. 2. Brand intrinsically. Get your branding cues right, as most advertising only works a while after exposure. Instead of flashing your logo at the end of the ad, aim for strong integration in the storyline and a consistent creative approach across your brand portfolio. Think along the lines of Old Spice, Volvo Trucks and Heineken. 3. Be meaningfully different. Grow market share and defend

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premium pricing by going beyond fulfilling consumers’ functional needs to also meeting emotional and social needs. Illustrate your uniqueness to position your brand in a meaningful and different way in people’s memories. 4. Trigger an emotional response. People feel before they think, so that’s the key to winning engagement and bypassing the natural tendency to screen out advertising. Leave impressions of the brand as caring, funny, loveable or ‘a brand for me’ through sharing heart-warming stories that generate more impact, driving short-term sales while building long-term brand equity. 5. Talk with the audience. It’s easy to get so close to the brand that you lose perspective. Test your ads with your target audience and take their feedback onboard throughout the creative development process to refine your ads accordingly. But beware! Simply copying these tactics may break the first one of being distinctive. There’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to creativity, so do what’s right for your brand, in your market. Use this as inspiration around what’s already proven effective for brands all over the world and recognise the power of creative to build stronger brands for the South Africa ad landscape.

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But if your brand is willing to learn from the best-performing creatively awarded campaigns, you can solve this before the next ad break. Maximising content also maximises in-market sales performance, tying in with the latest WARC learning that highly creative and effective ideas are more than twice as likely to lead with TV as any other channel. So, before you rewrite the script and get ready for ‘Lights, camera, action!’, remember the key lever of paid media driving greater brand exposure is consistency and quality of creative. Is your brand investing enough time and budget to ensure incredible creative quality? Do you know what to include in your creative?


Kantar’s syndicated Covid-19 Barometer study into how the pandemic influences consumer behaviour, attitudes and expectations among more than 150 000 people globally found that only 8% of South Africans wanted advertising to stop when the pandemic first hit. Instead, the need for media to provide an

escape hatch while shining a light to guide us was clearly evident – so much so that the advertisers who held their resolve in the creative investment downturn saw their bravery rewarded, with a clear hierarchy of response to advertising content appearing in the first waves of lockdown. This was supported by Kantar’s Link database, based on 4 824 global TV, digital and static ads tested from May to November 2020. While the pandemic certainly dominated last year’s ad landscape, it’s the ads that showed how brands are taking concrete action, tangibly helping people, with ‘business as usual’ ads bearing no reference at all to Covid-19 performing second-best. Despite stimulating good emotional response, emotional support ads of the ‘We’re there for you’ type actually performed poorly in terms of effectiveness. Meanwhile, ads that merely referenced the pandemic as an aside needn’t have bothered, as our data shows it’s better to stick to established campaigns when you don’t have anything concrete to say.

These prevailing sentiments have continued, with the end of the pandemic a vague and hazy prospect down the line. Audiences want things to return to normal but they’re not as sensitive as they were a few months ago, so there’s no need to cut back on ads on the funnier side of life. Because while brands should obviously avoid mocking or making fun of the situation, having a sense of humour during what’s been a dangerous and difficult time for many may help us all smile a little more readily. Looking at the other end of the spectrum, brands that went dark and pulled the plug on all advertising quickly saw the light as they noticed significant declines in saliency or ability to come to mind compared to brands that maintained a level of in-market presence. It’s therefore vital that marketers consider how they continue to build longer-term preference, so they are prepared for when the situation eventually recovers, as brands that hold their nerve while competitors reduce spend are likely to benefit strongly.



Head of Kantar’s Media & Digital Practice in South Africa, Monique Claassen has a knowledge of complex media projects that, coupled with her insatiable appetite for digital trends, maximises clients’ media investment decisions. As Kantar’s director of creative development, Natalie Botha works with marketers and agencies to create effective and impactful advertising that leaves a lasting impression and delivers strong ROI for brands. As global head of creative, Daren Poole is responsible for Kantar’s creative development and testing solutions, as well as thought leadership based on his extensive experience in optimising creative content with data. As can be seen, TV continues to deliver the highest increases in brand awareness

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The art of racing on slippery slopes From the racetrack to the highways, Stevan Wilken has a route map for his motorcar and his media.



n The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein observes, “In racing, they say that your car goes where your eyes go. The driver who cannot tear his eyes away from the wall as he spins out of control will meet that wall; the driver who looks down the track as he feels his tyres break free will regain control of his vehicle.” Face First founder and managing director Stevan Wilken similarly reflects on his journey over the last decade in taking the company from the humble dirt roads of the Midlands onto the busy freeways of KwaZulu-Natal. As young boy growing up in the Midlands, he tested the limits of his own abilities and the patience of those around him. “I was always an adventurer at heart, yet grounded in the simplicity of small-town life that somehow kindled the desire to venture beyond. Growing up in a happy family also taught me the immensity of teams, a good sense of direction and a keen eye to choose my best line through a bend,” he says. The family man and enthusiastic rallycross driver turned entrepreneur is about to become one of the 10 largest out-of-home media owners in South Africa. And as if this wasn’t enough to manage, he has set his eyes on the Dakar Rally 2022/23 season to

lead a proudly South African team in the ultimate feat of endurance, tenacity and pride. “I like to lead from the front, set the pace and keep my eyes firmly on the road ahead,” Wilken explains. This approach to life and business mastered on muddied rally tracks has spearheaded Face First Media’s rise to prominence – especially in KwaZuluNatal and more recently in Gauteng and Cape Town. Face First Media has developed an extensive inventory that now comprises over 180 premium and strategically located advertising sites, the largest billboard holding in KwaZulu-Natal. “Once you have enrolled yourself in the race, you need a clear route map, an adept support team and a great navigator to allow you to push your driving skills to the limit, confidently handle the off-road conditions and bravely attempt the fast pull-offs and power slides,” Wilken continues.

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“It is this understanding I have carried through in my business. I make sure I always surround myself with an impeccable team to enable me to push ahead, trust my instincts and steer my car where my eyes go.” Engaging Wilken on his route map for Face First Media, a picture comes into view of a provocateur who set his sights on disrupting the long standing of certain companies over KwaZulu-Natal’s metropolitan highways and arterial networks. “Over time my game plan took shape around this clear route map, and my execution meant keeping my eyes on the unfolding road and where I needed to make tactical adjustments to navigate slippery conditions, without changing course or blinking my eyes.” He and his team are part of a leading group of media owners now pioneering digital out-of-home (DOOH) in South Africa. Face First Media has introduced a trio of LED Digital Super Signs on all incoming highways into Durban, the only company currently able to offer full digital coverage on the N3, N2 and M4. Looking ahead, Wilken says, “We will reimagine new ways companies can benefit from DOOH, while I continue along my own art of racing in the rain.” This is sponsored content. T H E M E D I A I 21

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Using telcos to turn mobile advertising dreams into reality There’s a world of mobile opportunities that brands might be missing out on, writes DONALD MOKGALE.

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to stay front of mind and visible in the eyes of their consumers. So what’s the alternative for brands and brand agencies wanting to make an impact, engage with their customers, and target them with entertaining, informative and personalised content that will resonate? Enter telco-driven mobile advertising. Telcos form an important technological pillar of our society today: they provide the connectivity on top of which everything runs. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to make calls, access the internet, or enjoy the opportunities that over-the-top (OTT) services

have given us. The provision of this connectivity service means that telcos collect, store and have access to a lot of subscriber data. This ranges from what kind of device you own and how much data you consume to what additional OTT services you buy, for example cloud services, cyber security subscriptions, or even your location based on your phone’s GPS and SIM card. In many cases, they will also have more personal information such as gender and age. This anonymised insight is invaluable not only to understand subscriber behaviour but also to use as a tool for personalised, targeted advertising campaigns. Furthermore, all telcos




n an increasingly digital world where consumers are constantly glued to their smartphones, grabbing their attention can become challenging for brands. Even if South African consumers enjoy receiving adverts about the latest offers or services, these can at times become overwhelming and often border on irrelevant, with many brands adopting the ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to targeting their consumers. Indeed, this approach is beginning to show its cracks; according to a recent study by business messaging intelligence experts Mobilesquared, for every R1-million spent on digital banner advertising, just 0.1% derives value for brands. Sticking to the status quo via traditional channels of advertising simply won’t achieve the cut-through that brands vying for attention in increasingly competitive landscapes will need

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collect this data on a continuous basis, meaning brands and brand agencies leveraging telco insights will have access to the latest data possible. But that’s not where the opportunities for brands to use telcos to their advantage and benefit end. Going beyond data, telcos also provide the messaging capabilities to reach millions of subscribers at scale. In South Africa, the two major telcos, Vodacom and MTN South Africa, count 40 million and 25 million subscribers respectively – that’s almost 65 million mobile subscriptions that are primed for targeted and personalised advertising. By comparison, Facebook, one of the most popular channels for digital advertising today, only counts 22 million yearly users in South Africa as of 2020, which pales in comparison to the scale and reach of telcos’ networks.



So how can brands utilise this scale and telco-owned messaging for their mobile advertising strategies? By leveraging native mobile messaging channels as a mode of communication and engagement, brands can provide their consumers with targeted and personalised mobile advertising. Native messaging technology, whether it be SMS, MMS, PCM (Please Call Me) or RCS (Rich Communications Services), has the power to place brands directly in the hands of the consumer. Why? Because it doesn’t require subscribers to download another app, à la WhatsApp, and is instead built directly into mobile devices. The added bonus for brands is that this engagement channel is able to span all devices – from legacy phones, which are often only equipped with basic SMS functionality, all the way to the latest smartphones that will

Donald Mokgale


ALL TELCOS COLLECT THIS DATA ON A CONTINUOUS BASIS, MEANING BRANDS AND BRAND AGENCIES LEVERAGING TELCO INSIGHTS WILL HAVE ACCESS TO THE LATEST DATA POSSIBLE benefit from rich SMS, interactive messaging, and RCS. In addition to this, brands can also work with telcos to ensure they put their consumers’ needs and concerns first. For example, in price-conscious nations such as South Africa, the cost of data is a contentious point. By offering zero-rated campaigns, brands can offset the cost of using internet data for the consumer, ensuring that all are able to interact with the campaign without eating into their data allowance. In leveraging both telco data and mobile-owned messaging, brands and brand agencies can launch telcodriven mobile advertising and deliver impactful, targeted, and personalised mobile messaging campaigns that bring to bear the interactivity and richness of messaging applications such as WhatsApp and WeChat, while benefiting from the scale and reach of operator networks.

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The result? Campaigns that achieve greater ROI than traditional advertising channels and exceed industry benchmarks for engagement and conversion by up to 70x.

While there are clear advantages to launching telco-driven mobile advertising campaigns for brands and brand agencies, it’s certainly no easy feat, especially considering the complex world of telcos. For that reason, brands and agencies need to arm themselves with the right tools to ensure they can capitalise on the opportunities in front of them. These tools will allow them to leverage telco data from different telecoms groups, derive insight from this data, and launch meaningful messaging campaigns to the right audiences. There is an entire mobile ecosystem that brands are missing out on – one that builds incremental reach, engagement and conversation in ways that the media and brand industries have dreamed about for decades. By leveraging telcodriven mobile advertising, brands can now turn this dream into reality and go beyond what has been achieved via traditional advertising channels to date. The solution for more powerful engagement is here, especially with the death of the third-party cookie. Now the onus is on brands to take the bull by the horns and capitalise on the growth opportunity standing right in front of them. From speaking at thought-leadership events to facilitating panels, leading media agencies and standing for transformation, Out There Media Africa CEO Donald Mokgale has been injecting his passion into the media industry for over 14 years. He is now working in the mobile advertising world, linking brands with mobile operators through Mobucks to unlock revenue streams.

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A house of high-fashion cards

House of Zwide,’s new drama, is set to be sharper than a dressmaker’s needle. Bomb Productions executive producer Desiree Markgraaff acknowledges the role of trailblazing series Rhythm City in the planned timeslot. “We are very excited to be creating a new show for and hope viewers will welcome House Of Zwide. Covid-19 has been hard on everyone and we wanted to tell a story that reminds us that no matter the obstacles, [we must] never give up on our dreams.”


.tv’s upcoming and highly anticipated new drama, House of Zwide, is produced by Bomb Productions and VideoVision Entertainment. On Monday the 19th of July, South Africa will meet a fashionable Johannesburg family who bring high drama and ruthless ambition to the small screen as they rise in the cutthroat fashion industry. “The show could not have come at a better time,” says’s head of local productions Helga Palmer. “ brings you a show of hopes and

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dreams to uplift and inspire viewers to believe they can achieve anything they put their minds to, in a world filled with uncertainty and despair.” VideoVision Entertainment’s CEO Anant Singh says, “House of Zwide tells a thrilling rags-to-riches story set in the glamorous world of fashion. It is a timely, aspirational tale with many twists and turns that we believe will keep viewers glued to their television screens. We are excited to be partnering with Bomb Productions on this production, which also marks our second series with”

South Africa can expect to see some of their favourite stars in the show. Vusi Kunene plays South Africa’s biggest fashionista: founder and owner of House of Zwide, Funani Zwide, while Winnie Ntshaba plays his supportive wife, Faith. Viewers’ favourite Motlatsi Mafatshe will play the comedic Uncle Molefe, displaying the humorous qualities that South Africa has fallen in love with over the years. The Godfather, Isaac, played by Jeffrey Sekele, is a sympathetic gangster and former uMkhonto we Sizwe veteran involved in the turbulent hostel wars during the mid-90s. Isaac is a loving father to two beautiful daughters and husband to Rea, played by Matshepo Maleme. The flamboyant and talented Khaya Dladla plays Lazarus, Funani’s lifelong confidante who is responsible for interpreting and executing his designs.

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Some of the new faces on the show include exciting young talent Nefisa Mkhabela, who makes her television debut and lead as Ona Molapo, and Shalate Sikhabi, who plays her friend Shoki.



The story begins in Thembisa with Zobuhle Mabaso, a rebel with the street smarts of an old tsotsi. She believes her mother died in childbirth and that Isaac is her father. Isaac runs a popular local shebeen, where Zobuhle helps out, having done the books for him since she was 12. She is business smart, and Isaac is determined that she will study accounting. Zobuhle’s real talent, however, lies in fashion. She is already a designer of prodigious skill, having worked part-time as an assistant to the local dressmaker and gained a reputation for her showstopping designs. Meanwhile, in glitzy Sandton, Funani and Grace are seemingly masters of the universe. On the surface, they have the perfect life, perfect kids and perfect bank balances, but lies and secrets bubble underneath the shimmering façade. Every Friday at 13:00, Funani has lunch at one specific shisanyama in Thembisa, where he grew up, directly opposite the dressmaker’s workshop where Zobuhle works. Besides enjoying his pap and mogodu, he’s also fascinated by the undeniably talented girl. Knowing who Funani is, Zobuhle always makes sure to display items he might find impressive. One day, he buys one. Zobuhle is over the moon, but her father Isaac finds out and is deeply unsettled. Things get even worse when, on the House of Zwide’s website, a new




design is launched, and Zobuhle realises that Funani didn’t buy her outfit to support her; he bought it to steal her invention! Zobuhle is furious and wants get lawyers involved. However, Isaac forbids her from doing anything of the sort or working as a dress designer, making it clear that she will go and study accounting. And so the story begins… This is sponsored content.

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Measuring the stream


hat global uptake of streaming and over-the-top media services exploded during the pandemic is no longer big news. Millions were locked down across the world, desperate for some respite from the frightening news. And so they subscribed, gorging on everything from Bridgerton to Ozark in an effort to escape the pandemic. Netflix added an astounding 36 million-odd subscribers globally in 2020, topping the 200 million mark. In South Africa, African streamer Showmax reported a 50% upswing in users, and quickly added live news and education channels. 26 I T H E M E D I A

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Now the competition is hotting up on the home front. Besides Netflix and Showmax, viewers can also subscribe to Acorn TV, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, DStv Now and Viu. The financially pressured South African Broadcasting Corporation, instead of launching its own competitive service, has partnered with Viu SA. The popular BritBox, a partnership between the BBC and ITV, is entering the South African market in the second half of this year. With all the new viewers logging in to streaming services, the ability to measure these audiences has become imperative. While many streamers mostly rely on subscriptions rather than advertising for income, this is

beginning to change. New platforms and services are emerging, many of them ad supported. Original content costs a lot to produce, as Netflix and Showmax know only too well. Ad-supported video-on-demand (VOD), said Nielsen recently, is a “big part of the future of TV”.


Enter Nielsen ONE. Announcing the launch late last year, Nielsen described it is a “single, cross-media solution to drive more comparable and comprehensive metrics across platforms”. And, it added, “With Nielsen ONE, advertisers and publishers will be able to transact using a single metric across linear and digital that is trusted, independent and standardised across the industry.” It will come into effect in 2022.

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With changing viewing habits come changing measurement tactics. GLENDA NEVILL eyes up our evolving metrics.


As Terry Murphy, MD of Nielsen Media in South Africa, says, “It’s a journey and not a one-stop shop so different parts come in at different times.” Murphy says the Nielsen Digital Consumer Survey undertaken in August 2020 used data to show South Africa’s total online population, which is significantly higher at the top end. “In South Africa, broadband penetration is really low. We’re a mobile-first country, and a lot of people are watching on mobile,” she says. A snapshot of the Nielsen Digital Consumer Survey’s look at video, using fusion data from 2018 and 2020, shows YouTube at the top of the list, with a miniscule 1% drop (within statistical error) from 67% in 2018 to 66% in 2020. The data represents internet TV/VOD personally viewed in a past four weeks universe. Netflix grew from 35% to 52% in the same period, and Showmax moved from 28% in 2018 to 31% in 2020. Amazon Prime Video declined by 1% from 2018 to 2020, from 7% to 6%. Frequency of watching also grew. Daily internet TV/VOD moved from 31% in 2018 to 37% in 2020. Watching a few times a week almost doubled from 16% in 2018 to 28% in 2020. Most viewing took place on smartphones: 52% in 2018 and 52% in 2020. Watching on a desktop computer or laptop dropped from 53% in 2018 to 47% in 2020.



Enter the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC), the body responsible for measuring audiences for radio and television. “Measurement of streaming/OTT is more important than ever as we see digital consumption increase

year on year,” says BRC CEO Gary Whitaker. “Video and audio are still the lead formats both offline and online, and will continue to be for a very long time.” Whitaker says rapid changes in the video-viewing landscape mean it is more important than ever that the industry remains confident in the TV Audience Measurement Survey (TAMS) panel, which he describes as “the core of South African TV measurement”. Whitaker confirms the TAMS panel will form the “cornerstone of video audience measurement in South Africa as the industry moves forward on the path of including additional screens, platforms and services into Total Video (TV)”. . To this end, the 2021 TAMS audit will be a “more comprehensive and expansive audit than in previous years”.

WHILE MANY STREAMERS MOSTLY RELY ON SUBSCRIPTIONS RATHER THAN ADVERTISING FOR INCOME, THIS IS BEGINNING TO CHANGE A request for proposals on video measurement will be issued in the third quarter of 2021, after the audit has been completed, Whitaker says. “The audit will inevitably provide more guidance in terms of what the broadcasters need, but as things currently stand it is important that we measure consumption by platform and device as we are missing ratings when consumption occurs on a mobile device (phone/laptop/tablet). Obtaining granular data in this area is vital and will alleviate some of the issues we are facing in relation to zero ratings.”

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Murphy says measuring the video audience starts with the core panel, followed by two additional methods of capturing streaming and OTT viewing. The former requires installation of streaming meters in houses with internet access (which account for an estimated 10% of TV homes). “It captures all the video consumption in-home, in homes with wi-fi, on all devices and all platforms,” Murphy says. The second method captures OTT consumption, which requires a different solution. A software development kit is implemented by publishers/broadcasters and it tags the content. “We then collect census consumption. So every stream that went out, that was delivered, is measured,” Murphy explains. “Working in collaboration with the broadcaster we’ll be able to know the content down to granular level. What programme, what episode. “Once we get these two systems running together, through data science we can merge and fuse data to provide a consolidated view of the market.” And just when we get that sorted out, South Africa will be switching to digital terrestrial television, which will be a whole new ballgame. As Whitaker says, “The analogue switch-off is ensuring that all TV homes/individuals become digital consumers of TV. This will also open up spectrum for the likes of MTN and Vodacom, which will improve network performance in South Africa and inevitably provide a far better end-user experience. This will theoretically increase mobile usage and consumption of video and audio on mobile devices.” All of which will likely see streaming uptake continue to explode. T H E M E D I A I 27

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On a platform filled with short, user-created videos, JULIAN JORDAAN sees phenomenal opportunities for savvy brands.

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TikTok: the evolution of content

he world’s most downloaded app in 2020, with hundreds of millions of users on the platform, is intrinsically different from any other. TikTok is not only revolutionary, but also evolutionary, and it is shaping the way we create, discover and consume content. Inspiring creativity and bringing joy are core to the experience on TikTok. Creativity is how users express themselves, create trends and come together. If you spend any amount of time on the platform, you will quickly find this to be true. TikTok has the power to take seemingly mundane, everyday moments and catapult them into massive viral movements in which millions of people participate. On TikTok anyone can be discovered, and any video can become viral. In a recent article, MIT heralded the TikTok algorithm as one of the “year’s most important technologies”, next to other breakthrough tech such as mRNA vaccines and lithium-metal batteries. MIT explains that this is largely “because the algorithms that power TikTok’s ‘For You’ feed have changed the way people become famous online”. The article also notes: “The ability of new creators to get a lot of views very quickly – and the ease with which users can discover so many kinds of content – have contributed to the app’s stunning growth.” This rapid evolution of content discovery and consumption can be explained by the major shift in consumption graphs, where TikTok is leading the change from the social graph to content graph. This can lead to higher user engagement rates than other social media platforms. The content graph is all


about you: the content you want to consume and not necessarily that of your immediate connections.


Compared to other platforms, TikTok’s advertising formats can build deeper and more comprehensive connections with a brand’s audience. Why? Because instead of just passively accepting a brand’s message, users are empowered and equipped to co-create, interact and participate in those campaigns. So instead of pushing a message out, brands are equipped through TikTok to pull users in. Instead of creating ads, brands are making actual TikToks.


THE TIKTOK COMMUNITY IS ACTIVELY ENGAGED AND LEANED-IN WITH ZERO DISTRACTIONS Consumer expectations have also changed, demanding that brands and products understand who they are and what they stand for in an authentic way. Consumers expect brands to understand them and what they like and dislike, while showing up in a believable way. When brands meet consumers in this authentic way on TikTok, in their native tongue so to speak, they can better connect with their audience, and stay relevant and relatable. The TikTok community is actively engaged and leaned-in with zero distractions. The user experience is an uncluttered, fully immersive and sound-on environment. This is very different from other platforms where a brand would share the screen with other advertisers or pieces of content.


TikTok offers brands a way to build awareness and consideration, and rejuvenate brand affinity better than anywhere else. It allows brands to shape cultural conversations by inspiring their customers to lead these conversations and be part of shared experiences. A branded hashtag challenge, for instance, can generate vast amounts of user-generated content, which is hard to achieve on other social platforms. Such a challenge is a way to create guaranteed virality and allows users the opportunity to co-create the campaign. TikTok Auction is also fully live and being used by a number of brands already. We are seeing brands spending a large portion of their time, energy and media budgets here. The auction would form the staple execution for brands looking to be present and gain market share on TikTok throughout the year. Brands have the option to select from multiple bidding strategies that can be optimised based on various goals, such as driving app installations, gaining mass reach and awareness for a product launch, or driving consideration of a product or service. The auction has the ability to drive unparalleled results across the full marketing funnel, with brands receiving their own ad account access and running their campaigns in the self-service platform.

BEST-PRACTICE TIPS FOR CREATING TIKTOKS AND NOT ADS • Sound on: Create ads for a sound-on experience. Sound is integral to any TikTok video; the format doesn’t work without it. Sound, in particular music, should be a key consideration when building content.

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• Duration: Try and get the message across concisely and effectively. Videos can be 5-60 seconds long, with 12-15 seconds recommended as the optimum time, due to user attention span. • Vertical video: TikTok is built for vertical video, the vast majority of all user content being shot on a phone and in-app. Anything other than vertical just looks out of place. • Strong call to action. Use calls to action to tell the audience what you want them to do - whether to shop now, click to website, find out more, and so forth. • Be natural: Keep ads authentic and remember why your audience is on TikTok. • Leverage creators: Creators can give brands the inside lane when it comes to relevant content that feels native to the platform. Utilise the targeting capabilities of in-feed paid ads and select creators who align best with your brand’s audience. • Leverage trends: Leveraging TikTok trending content is a great way to make sure your challenge resonates with your audience. Ultimately, remember that users come to the platform for creativity and joy. So don’t make ads; make TikToks.

Julian Jordaan is the managing director of 365 Digital, South Africa’s premier independent online publisher marketplace, with a 20-year track record servicing top platforms and publishers across Africa. Jordaan also serves as committee lead for the IAB SA Digital Audio Committee, as well as devoting personal time to Won Life, a non-profit organisation that aims to improve the quality of education for underprivileged learners.

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How to be risk aware with your media contracts

In a year that looks set to be pitch heavy, anyone working in media and marketing may find themselves dealing with more new contracts than usual as business changes hands, writes STEWART MORRISON.


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Each year FirmDecisions in MEA audits media and creative agencies across every agency holding group as well as numerous independents in the POSM and merchandising space, on behalf of approximately 50 of the largest advertisers. All advertisers have three common contract questions: who are the agencies in my supply chain (particularly in digital); what does each agency really cost me; and are they operating as expected?

Looking at digital specifically, as this is the medium with the most complex costs and supply chain, in southern Africa, digital advertising is growing – GroupM points to digital ad spend having grown 4% in 2020, with another 4.2% rise so far in 2021 – to reach a market share of 37% in South Africa. To put this in real numbers, Statista’s Digital Advertising


hile some speculate clients are more likely to be reviewing their media activities due to changing consumer habits, media channels, geographic footprints and budget cuts over the past year, others point to CMOs’ new focus on media strategies and targeting market share growth. Either way, 30% of brands say Covid-19 has accelerated their media transformations. So new contracts are inevitable, and while there’s much negotiation involved for agencies and advertisers in reaching those agreements, the work doesn’t stop there. Put simply, are all your agencies charging you and buying media according to the contract’s agreed terms after signing? For example, in Africa it’s rare for all the media to be bought locally, instead being centralised in key hubs: South Africa; Nigeria and Kenya. Thus media or creative work beyond those locations will likely be bought via a subcontracted partner or lead agency affiliate. And when an extra supplier layer is added, inevitably there are extra costs, which has a negative impact on transparency and must be mitigated in the contract.

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Report 2020 suggests that digital ad spend in South Africa was $738-million and will grow to an estimated $858-million in 2021. Of that, 81% of digital ads were bought via programmatic platforms in southern Africa. However, as stated, digital ad buying often lacks transparency. Programmatic ads are bought via agencies’ own trading desks, which in turn buy from demand-side platforms such as AppNexus, Display & Video 360 and The Trade Desk – that’s three sets of fees already. Informing the target media decisions and verification are a myriad of data management platforms, verifications tools as well as the exchange itself – all also taking fees. But it is becoming even more complex: GroupM is now doing deals with supply-side platforms (SSPs) such as PubMatic. While this may mean advertisers can more easily win and place impressions, and perhaps offers more transparency in publisher income, nothing is free. Programmatic auctions for the most part provide balance in demand and price; however, when agencies are now doing non-transparent deals with SSPs to achieve impressions, market forces are removed. This will ultimately lead to questions around what the real impression prices are and who is really being paid. Advertisers need to be vigilant and have the power of enforcing full disclosure.



From a performance perspective, advertisers can find it challenging to connect digital media investment with tangible improvements in business performance. Opaque media trading and poor measurement practices have damaged effectiveness. Improving

digital marketing investment performance is thus key for clients, and there are several ways to do this. Ads perform best in high-quality contexts such as trusted editorial sites. Ensuring the right inventory means regularly reviewing media inclusion and exclusion lists to mitigate risks. When it comes to viewability KPIs, advertisers may need to look beyond the standard ratings (the Media Rating Council defines viewability as one second for display and two seconds for video) and use their own, more realistic definitions instead – for example 100% of the ad in-view for three seconds. Brands should also move toward an outcomes-based KPI measuring short- and long-term effectiveness of digital media spend.

FROM A PERFORMANCE PERSPECTIVE, ADVERTISERS CAN FIND IT CHALLENGING TO CONNECT DIGITAL MEDIA INVESTMENT WITH TANGIBLE IMPROVEMENTS IN BUSINESS PERFORMANCE In addition, there’s the issue of attribution. For instance, an ad may appear on a site – so is technically classed as viewable – but can only be seen if the visitor scrolls to the bottom. So good practice eliminates last-touch (or multi-touch) attribution credit for impressions that were never viewed. If a conversion occurs and the last ad was not viewable, this should be counted not as a ‘paid’ media conversion, but rather as an organic one. Besides the issues of value for money and effectiveness in contracts, in emerging markets such

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as Africa, brands should remain alert to risks such as child labour, money laundering, bad corporate governance, working conditions, taxes being paid and so forth. One source for judging this risk is the Country Risk Rating by Euler Hermes Economic Research, which measures the risk of non-payment by companies in each country due to conditions or events outside the company’s control. A country’s overall evaluation is made up of macroeconomic, political, structural business environment, commercial and financing risks. For Q1 2021, most countries in Africa ranked sensitive or high risk. We are working in an environment where agencies are under increasing pressure from budget cuts, in-housing and new competitors. Inevitably, marketing services agencies will look to protect and increase their revenue. In some cases, this could be entirely legal and possible because a contract is out of date or its scope has changed, but in the worse cases it could involve media and creative fraud. In all scenarios, the best practice for brands is being alert to all risks – keep them front of mind, keep a close eye on what’s written into the contract compared with what’s being delivered on the ground, and audit agencies.

Stewart Morrison is managing director of FirmDecisions in MEA, based in the United Arab Emirates. He has 20+ years in commercial and marketing operations, experience in the sectors of entertainment, FMCG, consumer tech and consulting, and is an experienced negotiator on a wide variety of complex commercial agreements and strategic agency partnerships, both from a selling and buying perspective.

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Mzansi Magic’s telenovelas have won over audiences with their fresh stories, star-studded casts and prime-time slots, writes NOMSA PHILISO.


he MultiChoice Group, Africa’s most loved storyteller, launched Mzansi Magic in July 2010. The channel has become a formidable competitor on the local television scene, currently commanding over 40% of the DStv Compact audience share in weekday prime time. This success can be credited to the bold strategy of premiering four Nomsa Philiso is the MultiChoice channel director for local entertainment at M-Net. She has extensive broadcast and media experience, having worked across media sales, channel and content management as well as technology project implementation, and has an in-depth understanding of the mass market.

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telenovelas during weekday prime time, when South African audiences traditionally used to be served variety programming such as news, reality shows and soapies. Mzansi Magic’s telenovela franchises are the backbone of the channel’s weekday offering, trusted by loyal audiences to serve real and relatable stories that reflect the lives of black South Africans across socioeconomic classes.


The telenovela slot kicks off at 19:00 with The River, a story exploring an uncomfortable South African social reality – a land where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer – through the lens of an unlikely protagonist, Lindiwe Dikana.


Mzansi Magic has consistently delivered socially relevant telenovelas by keeping a finger on the pulse of local audiences’ needs and evolving viewership palates. Despite coexisting in different worlds, from the glamorous yet sinister Dikana mansion in The River to the fast-paced streets of Gomora, from the coming-of-age tribulations in DiepCity to the sheer adrenaline and glamour of The Queen, the telenovelas all maintain a relatable air of social realism as they explore prevalent social themes. These familiar yet unpredictable worlds are brought to life by an entourage of silver-screen icons, including Connie Ferguson, Sindi Dlathu, Hlomla Dandala, Connie Chiume, Themba Ndaba and Katlego Danke, as well as bright new talent Lawrence Maleka, Linda Mtoba, Sicelo Buthelezi and Nozuko Ncayiyane. The Mzansi channels franchise is one to watch for more groundbreaking, relatable and riveting exclusive local content.


The magic of telenovelas

At 19:30, the gripping storyline of Gomora takes over. Viewers follow Thati, who spends her life trying to distance herself from Alexandra township, crafting a glamorous suburban life as the wife of prominent businessman Mbongeni. But Thati’s fairy tale is brought to an abrupt end when Mbongeni is brutally murdered in a botched hijacking. At 20:30, Mzansi Magic viewers are steered into DiepCity, where they navigate life in Diepsloot through the eyes of popular and charismatic 17-year-old Nox. At 21:00, The Queen catapults viewers into the high-octane world of the profitable Khoza trucking empire, an elaborate business that hides a lucrative and highly contested drug empire.

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Telling and selling South African stories Made-in-South Africa telenovelas are a huge hit, and not just among TV audiences. Advertisers are pretty taken with them too, writes ATO MOKWENA.




quick glance at the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa’s monthly top television ratings for DStv will show locally produced telenovelas topping the hit list. In April 2021, for example, Gomora topped the log, followed by The Queen and The River. DiepCity came in at number seven. With audiences riveted by dramatic content and stories that resonate with them, it comes as no surprise that these shows are well supported commercially too. The uptake of sponsorship opportunities has grown over the years and many brands that have embarked on exploring this route have realised great success. On Mzansi Magic we currently have a total of four telenovelas on air, while 1Magic has two. All six have a commercial headline sponsor, and an associate sponsor as well. Telenovelas have high audience engagement and create extremely loyal fan bases who follow the stories and stars religiously. Advertisers benefit from the high appointment viewing associated with telenovelas. South Africans tend to gravitate more

towards South African and localised international content than they do to international content. We find the same with football. Opportunities for advertisers range from brand advertising to sponsorship and product placement. We have found the most popular to be the three-tier sponsorship packages, which include headline sponsors, associate or tactical sponsors, and product placement. We have integrated many brands into our scripted content, from financial institutions (banks and insurance) and alcohol brands to motor industry brands and of course FMCG brands. While we’ve had many successful case studies, one that remains significant to me was Johnnie Walker. The brand sponsored a telenovela called Zabalaza, driving a campaign to reintroduce whisky as a daytime/sundowner alternative to

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the mainstream cider market. Their creative was centred on mixing whisky with ginger ale. A few days/ weeks/months later they changed creative and this had a negative an impact on sales. We were asked to reinstate the old creative and sales picked up again. Another one was of an insurance company that placed ads around the most popular shows on Mzansi Magic; in less than three months, the owners of the business asked us to stop flighting the ads as their call centre could no longer cope with the number of calls they were receiving. Ato Mokwena is a media specialist with extensive experience in print, cinema, radio, outdoor, digital and television. His current role at DStv Media Sales is sales manager GE for original productions, where he is responsible for managing content sponsorship and channel management teams acrossM-Net-owned channels.

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Mobiz goes global Greg Chen

a company that has elevated SMSes to be more powerful than email, and our technology has reached half the South African population. Our company takes 5% market share within our industry and is currently raising our second round of capital to expand into the US.


Not being present enough – I tend to live in my head sometimes. I talk too fast. I’m disorganised, but I’m working on it.



to take bold steps to expand into other markets and customer segments. It’s fantastic to know we have the confidence of our very knowledgeable investors.


Objectively evaluating the product market fit from scratch. It was an important lesson that strong product market fit in one market does not simply translate into another.


Fail forward. Complacency is moving backwards.


say, “Got it,” when they don’t ‘got’ it. There’s no shame in not understanding something; it’s better to ask more questions, even if it feels 34 I T H E M E D I A

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Big-picture thinking, generosity and a good instinct: I trust my gut.

Be normal and get stuff done.


Mobiz, a South African tech start-up founded by GREG CHEN around the reach and accessibility of the humble SMS, recently scored R18-million from Kalon Venture Partners that will allow it to expand to the US. It was during the pandemic in 2020 that Mobiz grew significantly, as organisations needed to engage with customers. ‘dumb’. I try and encourage my staff at Mobiz to ask more questions, as a deeper understanding leads to more accurate and powerful results.

WHAT SCARES YOU MOST? Forgetting to smell the roses until it’s too late. Being a start-up founder, it is easy to get caught up in the daily grind.

A Saturday with my son. After a busy week, I get to relax and spend some quality time with him and my wife.


dead people are an inconvenience to have at dinner.


dongle, because Apple doesn’t make it easy to plug and play.


other tasks while on a task. It’s like I have a million browser tabs open in my mind and keep opening more.

YOUR DEATH-ROW MEAL WOULD BE… Fried chicken, cheesy fries and Coke.


Too short. With exciting product launches planned, great new customers, important investor raises, and an ever-expanding #MobizFam – there just aren’t enough months in the year.



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Tractor Outdoor launches new platform ‘The Future of OOH’ Tractor launches webinar and free e-guide on how to leverage new technologies to deliver more impactful DOOH campaigns International research indicates that one of the biggest stumbling blocks the global digital out of home (DOOH) industry currently faces is a lack of education around the new technologies that exist, which have the potential to massively benefit advertisers through allowing them access to real-time data and insights.

Mc Connell explains that through the Future of OOH webinar - which is

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Tractor Outdoor has also created 'The DOOH Playbook’, a free how-to guide covering the A-Z of DOOH advertising. “The Playbook unpacks a number of pertinent topics, such as ‘Why DOOH needs to be part of your omni-channel strategy’, ‘How to create the perfect DOOH media plan’, ‘How to conceptualise creative content in a way that generates returns’, ‘How to integrate minctas eres ma volupta turestore technology into your campaign planning’ and offi cab oreriatur? The webinar, which was hosted on Wednesday 9 more,” says Mc Connell. Dolorestia nosam nis el by invendic June, featured presentations Joe Cotugno, Tractor Outdoor’s Commercial Director Remi du tecabor re quam et Senior Vice Preez explains that unlocking innovation in President: Operations at Broadsign; Joe Mora, order to create impactful campaigns that deliver Head of DOOH: EMEA at AdMobilize; Keith real results is a key focus of Tractor Outdoor’s Nilsen, founder at Voodooh; Romulus Stoian, business, and “we constantly seek to identify Global Director: Publisher Solutions at Hivestak; new technologies and platforms that will allow and Tractor’s own Sales Director, Lizelle Mc us to deliver on this goal. Connell. “We pride ourselves on being one of the forerunners in introducing new tools and Mc Connell explains that through the Future of technologies to the local industry; driving OOH webinar - which is the first in a planned education, but also helping marketers bridge series - the media owner aims to create a the gap between theoretical knowledge and platform to educate brands, agencies, marketers application." and media owners on the exciting new technologies that have emerged. “These tools have the Tractor Outdoor’s free DOOH Playbook can be potential to unlock enormous opportunity for downloaded here. marketers; delivering measurable, dynamic campaigns based on real-time audience data.”


ABOUT TRACTOR OUTDOOR: Established almost two decades ago, Tractor Outdoor is a national Out of Home (OOH) media owner, which specialises in connecting brands to consumers through its network of traditional and digital inventory, as well as its transit networks and ambient platforms. Tractor Outdoor owns one of the largest Digital OOH networks in South Africa, and is a member of Outdoor Measurement Council (OMC), the Out of Home Media South Africa (OHMSA) and the Interactive Advertising Bureau South Africa (IAB SA).

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Tractor Outdoor has also created 'The DOOH Playbook’, a free how-to guide covering the A-Z of DOOH advertising. “The Playbook unpacks a number of pertinent topics, such as ‘Why DOOH needs to be part of your omni-channel strategy’, ‘How to create the perfect DOOH media plan’, ‘How to conceptualise creative content in a way that generates returns’, ‘How to integrate technology into your campaig planning’ and more,” says Mc Connell.


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