The Media Yearbook 2021

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Contents 5 FROM THE EDITOR On the record

6 PRESS OVERVIEW The question is, how do you get audiences to recognise the role of a diverse media in a democracy? The other side of the story is, how do you get journalists to heed and listen to audiences? DR GLENDA DANIELS has some answers.

8 MEDIA AGENCY OVERVIEW Performance is key in making the South African 2021 media ecosystem successful, and agencies have the opportunity to design what good looks like, writes CLAUDELLE NAIDOO.

12 CREATIVE OVERVIEW If we want to drive business growth in 2021, we need to be proactive, not reactive. We need to move out of last year’s shadow, says UYANDA MANANA.

15 AFRICA OVERVIEW The Africa Brand Summit asked, what investments, technologies, skills, policies and leadership are needed to help turn the situation around? Convener SOLLY MOENG answers.


20 MEDIA AGENCY: SOUTH AFRICA Let’s lean in to hope, but let’s do it with eyes wide open, and include scenario planning against what we now know about the effects of the virus on absolutely everything, says KAGISO MUSI.

22 MEDIA AGENCY: AFRICA Media has the potential to be the biggest catalyst for human connection and change, and we know it, writes ROXANNE BOYES.

24 MEDIA AGENCY: GLOBAL If there’s a single best practice to working with in-house teams, it’s the focus on ensuring that agency teams are closely connected to them, argues BENOIT CACHEUX.

27 AUDIO AUDIENCE MEASUREMENT This year, the BRC is moving from a radio measurement paradigm to an audio measurement model, to ensure it captures the full spectrum of audio, writes GARY WHITAKER.

31 RADIO: SOUTH AFRICA Radio in South Africa experienced sweeping changes in 2020, says TIM ZUNCKEL, who believes there’s a shift in needs and required skills in 2021.

36 STREAMING: AFRICA YOLISA PHAHLE is bullish about the growth of streaming in Africa, pointing to research that predicts it will grow fivefold by 2025.

40 TELEVISION: GLOBAL Covid-19 necessitated change at breakneck speed for brands, says NICOLE GREENFIELD-SMITH, who discusses Thinkbox TV research on how broadcasters adapted to adversity.

42 PUBLISHING: SOUTH AFRICA The truth is print now offers unique niche audiences of extremely valuable and loyal readers, writes JOSEPHINE BUYS.

44 NEWSPAPERS: SOUTH AFRICA Not all newspapers are on their knees in South Africa, says BRITTA REID as she looks into local papers.

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46 MAGAZINES: SOUTH AFRICA There’s no doubt the country’s magazine sector has been hard hit, but some publishers are rolling with the punches and making a plan, writes SANDRA GORDON.

50 DIGITAL PUBLISHING: SOUTH AFRICA The upshot of the pandemic was massive increases in online readership, says RIAAN WOLMARANS, as online publishers embraced technology and a mobile-first approach.

52 PROGRAMMATIC: SOUTH AFRICA A solid, integrated martech and adtech stack is an essential driving force in achieving business (not just marketing) objectives, JOE STEYN-BEGLEY believes.

53 DIGITAL ADVERTISING: SOUTH AFRICA Change will happen at a dizzying pace, and it will be happening everywhere at once – from privacy and policy decisions to addressability and attribution, says PAULA HULLEY.

57 OUT OF HOME: SOUTH AFRICA The pandemic prompted many OOH operators to look inwards, says SIMON WALL, whose efforts to use his infrastructure to support SMEs created a trigger moment for his business.

59 OUT OF HOME: GLOBAL OOH media was disproportionately impacted bythe crisis, but the good news is that the global OOH market is forecast to grow at 14.9%, writes BEN MILNE. THE MEDIA YEARBOOK 2021 I 3

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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: +27 11 280 3000 EDITORIAL Editor: Glenda Nevill Content Manager: Raina Julies Sub-Editor: Anthony Sharpe Content Co-ordinator: Vanessa Payne Contributors: Roxanne Boyes, Benoit Cacheux, Dr Glenda Daniels, Sandra Gordon, Nicole Greenfield-Smith, Paula Hulley, Claudelle Naidoo, Uyanda Manana, Ben Milne, Solly Moeng, Kagiso Musi, Yolisa Phahle, Britta Reid, Joe Steyn-Begley, Simon Wall, Riaan Wolmarans, Tim Zunckel DESIGN Head of Design: Jayne Macé-Ferguson Project Designer: Anja Hagenbuch SALES Sales Manager: Tarin-Lee Watts +27 79 504 7729 Sales Administrator: Neesha Klaaste PRODUCTION Production Editor: Shamiela Brenner Advertising Co-ordinator: Johan Labuschagne



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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his time last year…” Never before has that innocuous little phrase had such meaning. We were just about to put the 2020 issue of The Media Yearbook to bed when EVERYTHING changed. Only the latest contributions to come in mentioned the big C-word. We were just about to enter level five hard lockdown, and many of us, in our naivety, thought the coronavirus would be conquered and life would return to almost normal. A year later, as I write this, we are just about to put The Media Yearbook 2021 to bed. This time, our stories pay homage to the resilience of the media industry, and how it is dealing with the massive changes brought about by the pandemic. Our loose theme is ‘Revive, recalibrate, refresh’, and those media companies that have survived have done just that. Sadly, many didn’t make it through the first year of Covid-19. Some were already battling, dealing with the ongoing impact of digital transformation and its ripple effects on advertising. The pandemic hastened their demise. Others rallied, embracing the challenges of working from home, Zoom or Teams meetings, virtual pitching and events, and new ways of selling and communicating. In our own small way, The Media magazine too has changed. We’ve transitioned to digital magazines, with limited print runs for special occasions. We’ve updated and increased our online databases, as these are our most important currency in this digital world. The Media Online’s numbers soared in 2020 – as did many publisher platforms. Now that the (media) world is back at work (albeit still from home or in some kind of hybrid WFH model), most publishers have reported numbers stabilising from the lofty heights we experienced in the first few months of lockdown. We wanted the 2021 issue of The Media Yearbook to tell the stories of our sector, and how the different businesses within the media industry learned to survive, adapt and change. As always, we’ve sourced content from South Africa, the continent and abroad to offer our readers a wide perspective on the year that was, and the year to come. The Media. Got to love it. Glenda

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Recalibrate, refresh and revive journalism for South Africa’s democracy How do we adjust local journalism for the better? DR GLENDA DANIELS has some ideas.


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for executives), the Covid-19 pandemic entered, some media retreated and retrenched, some closed down, but then some outfits (for example Daily Maverick) did counterintuitive things, hired more staff and even launched a print edition. But even this was done not through old business models, but through another kind of experimentation or innovation: social/corporate partnerships or membership models.

THE BAD NEWS: JOB LOSSES, CYBER-MISOGYNY, DISINFORMATION What else has changed? The media landscape has become more threatening for women who crack high-profile corruption-busting stories. Misogynists see women as easy targets; yet women have not left the space. The media landscape shows an appalling anti-feminist backlash against women journalists, seen in how they are trolled online, and even threatened with rape and murder when crooks in power act against them, aiming to intimidate them into silence. Covid-19 could not have arrived at a worse time for journalism. State of the newsroom reports from 2013-2020 show that journalism steadily shed

jobs over the past decade, starting with the economic downturn of 2008. Researcher Reg Rumney’s report examining the impact of Covid-19 on job losses in journalism, released in June 2020, found that more than 700 journalists were retrenched in the first few months of the pandemic, and that local news lost the most, with 80 community newspapers closing down.

THE MEDIA LANDSCAPE HAS BECOME MORE THREATENING FOR WOMEN WHO CRACK HIGH-PROFILE CORRUPTION-BUSTING STORIES By July 2020 a new round of retrenchments was announced when Primedia declared job cuts. The Primedia Group has 786 full-time employees but has not given a job cut figure. In July 2020, Media24 announced it would retrench about 510 employees. This followed an SABC announcement that about 600 jobs would be cut (now reduced to 300 as the broadcaster continues to tussle with the communications minister).

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ecalibration, refresh buttons and revivals occur through the disruption seen in the flux, fluidity, and especially experimentation (hard paywall, soft paywall, no paywall) around how journalism is to be paid for in a media ecosystem that is shifting to online, with concomitant social media and disinformation. Then, of course, there’s the question of how to get audiences to recognise the role of a diverse media in a democracy. The other side of the story is this: how to get journalists to heed and listen to audiences. Just about everything has changed for journalism in the age of new media: it’s the era of social media and big tech companies gobbling up the advertising. And, untaxed as they are, they are laughing all the way to the bank. An offshoot of this is mainstream journalists being retrenched in droves, while newsrooms are run as 24/7 engines, with anxiety and burnout the norm. Another ‘trend’ is that no one has any winning, fixed idea on how to pay for journalism. And so experimentation continues. In this age of declining media company profits (okay, no profits, just fat salaries


Trusted brands with refreshing twists will survive this era where change is the new normal – for example excellent journalism, getting facts right, subscribing to codes of ethics prescribed by the Press Council of South Africa, and investing in training journalists. Those companies that invest in such training will end up being trusted.

These figures add up to 1 810. With Primedia additions and the 1 200 freelance jobs the SABC is threatening to cut, that would climb to over 3 000. These retrenchments signify a diminishing diversity of voices, and therefore democracy and the public are the losers.


THE GOOD NEWS: RECALIBRATION AND REVIVAL IN POLITICS, LAW AND ETHICS There appears to be no threat against media from Cyril Ramaphosa as head of state. In January 2021, he was signatory to the launch of the first online platform aimed at improving the protection of journalists and affirming freedom of expression, together with the African Union and UNESCO. Last year he sent back the Protection of State Information Bill (Secrecy Bill) to parliament, spotting the unconstitutionality in it. The ANC has in recent years gone silent about its resolution for a Media Appeals Tribunal, which would hand over ultimate governance of media to parliament. In February, investigative journalism unit amaBhungane scored a major victory when the courts ruled in its favour in the Regulation of Interception of Communications and Provision of Communication-related Information Act 70 of 2002 (RICA) case. Journalists cannot be bugged any more; state spies have to prove to the courts first why this is necessary, and have to inform journalists they are being tailed or bugged because they are under suspicion of criminality. The SANEF-commissioned inquiry into media ethics and credibility, headed by retired judge Kathy Satchwell, found that our democracy needs independent journalism more than ever. The inquiry also found breaches of ethics for brown envelopes, plagiarism and fake news, among others, but ultimately asserted that the media in South Africa cannot be accused of being corrupt.


Dr Glenda Daniels

Of concern, the Satchwell report noted that newsrooms are often factional. This arises from national politics playing themselves out in newsrooms and media companies. Clearly, we find some journalists wish to adhere to professional codes and ethics as set out by the Press Council, and some who side with political factions in the ruling party – which shows in the stories they produce. Independent Media withdrew from the Press Council in 2016.

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Those who are keen to adopt diversification of race, gender, age and sexuality, across class biases too will also survive. Those who have transparency of funding as a policy will also do well, as this helps to engender trust. Those who take seriously the mantras of ‘audience first’ and ‘listening journalism’ – which are now popular concepts in academic media studies around the world – as they pertain to journalism’s role in a democracy will thrive. And people who consume mainstream news, and are on social media (right, that’s just about everyone) need refreshment in reliable and factual media. That’s one constant in this age of flux, fluidity and disinformation.

Dr Glenda Daniels is an associate professor in Media Studies at Wits University. Being a writer, editor, researcher, lecturer, author, feminist and media freedom activist, she also serves on the Press Council and on SANEF’s council.


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Agency operating models hold the key to client success There were some positives for media to take away from 2020, and CLAUDELLE NAIDOO believes this year holds plenty more for those agencies able to perform at their peak.


he year 2020 does not bring back fond memories for the world. The pandemic brought about a hard lockdown in South Africa as in many other countries, which in turn created a mass of uncertainty that reshaped media consumption patterns, shut down many key performing sectors such as alcohol and sport, disrupted schooling, created consumer and business flux, and most importantly destabilised our economy – to name but a few of the impacts. As I reflect from a media and business point of view, one of the biggest challenges that we faced at the beginning of the pandemic was around redesigning strategies to deliver ‘cost containment’ measures. This was understandable, considering the levels of uncertainty that we were dealing with at the time, and based on my experience during uncertain times, marketing and media budgets are the first to be reconsidered. This resulted in the industry forecasting to end the year on a negative 10-20% media investment versus that planned for most brands.

Claudelle Naidoo


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There was definitely some light after the initial onset. As the pandemic started to settle in and while campaigns were being paused, redirected, or cut completely, media agencies that had solid operational structures to respond to this global catastrophe provided a stable environment for their clients.

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This stability and specialist support guided many brands in how to focus on growth and put the consumer journey at the pulse of the marketing ecosystem. The conversion from uncertainty to stability led to the South African media industry ending on a much better note than predicted early in 2020.


THE CONVERSION FROM UNCERTAINTY TO STABILITY LED TO THE SOUTH AFRICAN MEDIA INDUSTRY ENDING ON A MUCH BETTER NOTE THAN PREDICTED EARLY IN 2020 GroupM’s This Year, Next Year: Global 2020 End-of-Year Forecast Report indicates that overall media investment declined by 5.8% worldwide. This figure is very similar to how many brands ended the year in South Africa, which was stronger than forecasted at the start of the pandemic. When we compare these figures to South Africa’s GDP, StatsSA reports that the economy showed steady progress in Q3 2020 with an annualised growth rate of 13.5%, and an annual year-end figure of -5.8%. These figures directly correlate to our approximate media investment decline and suggest that South African media investment gained steady traction, ending the year strong as we were in line with GDP. Digital media was a key driver in maintaining high levels of media investment. As consumer patterns and behaviours shifted, we saw the rise of video on demand, content extensions from traditional media platforms to online, a huge spike in social media consumption as person-to-person socialising became more and more restricted, and the boom of ecommerce – Nielsen reported that 30% of all South Africans were shopping more online.



Innovation has been a buzzword in the media industry over the years and many agencies have got it right. I have seen how agency operations with diversified product offerings including advanced technologies, integrated workforces and specialist skills have gained fair market share for clients and the media sector in 2020. I foresee this trend continuing in 2021, with many agencies that have not yet remodelled or reshaped their businesses quickly getting on board. Agencies of the future cannot be complacent or reactive to market forces. The evolution of the consumer, pandemic or not, dictates that we need to be agile enough to change and predict change, and keep our media partnerships flexible to accommodate change. I believe that the only way to provide this stability to brands/clients/staff, and to deliver incremental YoY growth is through flexible and diversified operational structures.

The year ahead looks bright and exciting in South Africa. TV will continue to drive reach, content will be key, digital will enhance other media platforms and grow YoY by at least 30-40% in 2021 (my assumption based on 2020 trends), radio will keep pushing digital innovation, ecommerce will have a larger base, and so forth.

FROM DATA SERVICE PROVIDERS TO CONSUMER ENABLERS For the longest time we’ve spoken about the high costs of data in South Africa being one of the biggest challenges we face, especially for digital media transformation. In 2020 digital media went from ‘transforming slowly’ to ‘developing instantly’ and showing results. Data is one of the commodities enabling consumers in South Africa today – more so in this new normal world in which we are living. I foresee partners in this space working hard to ensure that all South Africans have access to data and services, cost effectively, before the end of 2021. This will further enable us to do two jobs in the media ecosystem: first, to connect and engage with consumers when most effective without having to worry about access to data being a threat; and second, to showcase the power and role of each medium at any given moment in a converged media ecosystem.

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AGENCIES NEED TO FOCUS ON BUILDING FORMULAS THROUGH POWERFUL DATA AND ANALYTICS IN ORDER TO SHOWCASE BRAND OR BUSINESS PERFORMANCE IN MEDIA We keep looking at which media platforms will work best or grow exponentially in 2021 in terms of reach and other audience ratings, but I do not believe these numbers will be good enough to establish growth. I believe agencies need to focus on building formulas through powerful data and analytics to showcase brand or business performance in media – irrespective of whether ROI modelling is in place or not. Performance is key in making the 2021 media ecosystem in South Africa successful, and agencies have the opportunity to design what good looks like. Claudelle Naidoo is the managing director of MediaCom South Africa. Her experience in the marketing, media and research industries across Africa spans more than 20 years. She believes her passion for research, data, and analytics is the driving force behind her career growth and development, coupled with a hunger and eagerness to learn from experts, teach others and grow alongside people.


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Out of the shadows

Uyanda Manana

The brands that want to thrive moving forward will be those that recognise the importance of experiences, service, collaboration and inclusivity, writes UYANDA MANANA.

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he new normal’, ‘pivot’, ‘work from home’, ‘shift to digital’, ‘now more than ever’. The advertising, communications and creative industries in 2020 were nothing if not dominated by clichés, bandied about in circumstances so fraught, so unexpected, that just surviving the year was considered an achievement. It was fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants stuff as we grappled with the impact of Covid-19 on our businesses and lives. From the looks of it, 2021 is not going to be any easier. There is no magic switch. This year is likely to be even tougher and more demanding personally and professionally. But it has to be different; if indeed there is a ‘new normal’ out there, we have to acknowledge, understand and work with it. Reacting was last year’s default; this year requires a lot more from us.


Our ethos as a digital agency is that conversation drives advocacy and advocacy drives business growth. This has never been more important in our industry, where the focus will increasingly be on brands becoming conversation leaders. They will move from being either not known or talked about – or being perceived as no more than the sum of their products or services – to being brands with purpose, brands that transcend categories and shape conversations in society. It certainly takes bravery and stepping out of comfort zones, but if 2020 taught us anything, it is the importance of courage and resilience. There are four key, practical takeaways to help brands become purposeful conversation leaders.



EXPERIENCES REPLACE BRAND PROMISES AND MESSAGES Communication in 2021 is far less about saying hello and making an offer. It has to be about how we can use tech and innovation to create experiences and value that ensure our customers never have to say goodbye. Brand messages and promises are no longer effective on their own; consumers are looking for experiences that are seamless, convenient and allow for escapism. Brands will need to demonstrate their promises through authentic experiences and rich, immersive, value-based communication. This is where a focus on CX and UX will also play a vital role in how we help our clients build sustainable brands in 2021. It can’t merely be about shifting marketing budgets and brand messages onto digital platforms, but rather how our audiences experience our brands within this space. Why should they trust a brand and why should they keep coming back? They will continue to trust their inner circles and networks more than Adcept A or B. Brands will need to back up their promises in unique and innovative ways to build trust and indeed talkability.

HELPING VERSUS SELLING, BRANDS AS A SERVICE Consumers are looking for brands that will make their lives easier, brands that go beyond merely selling, brands that are of service. Forbes listed Shine Distillery, in Portland USA, as one of the brands that got this right in 2020. The distillery started making and giving away hand sanitiser during an acute shortage. This was made possible by using the first batch of alcohol produced but often thrown out. Closer to home, SAB did something similar, donating alcohol from its breweries to help manufacture more hand sanitiser. Both were innovative ways of building brand awareness while supporting the community. It’s also important for brands to recognise that their employees can either be their greatest advocates or most powerful detractors. Being of service needs to be internally focused as well. Take Google, which created a Covid-19 fund to enable contract workers to take sick leave when quarantined, and Twitter providing employees cover for additional childcare expenses incurred due to schools being closed.

COLLABORATION The real magic happens when brands partner with entities with a common purpose – it allows for more compelling creative, better reach and, if you really nail it, far-reaching impact on people’s lives. Lifebuoy is one of the few brands that properly leveraged the benefits of collaboration in 2020 when they partnered with the Global Handwashing Partnership for the ‘H for Handwashing’ campaign. The movement literally changed the conversation we have with our children around critical hand hygiene, and further entrenched the brand’s purpose and position within communities across Africa.

INCLUSIVE MARKETING Brands should look to collaborate not only with suppliers, partners and other brands,

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but also most importantly with their biggest asset: their customers. Marketers who want to appeal to today’s consumers need to master the art of inclusivity in their marketing efforts. Finding simple and innovative ways to have consumers adopt the brand mission and purpose as their own is incredibly powerful. Consumers become your media, wilfully and happily propagating your promises in a meaningful and believable way. Get your audience to do the talking to drive up positive sentiment and deliver growth for your brand.

FINDING SIMPLE AND INNOVATIVE WAYS TO HAVE CONSUMERS ADOPT THE BRAND MISSION AND PURPOSE AS THEIR OWN IS INCREDIBLY POWERFUL I love the quote from Howard Gossage: “Nobody reads ads. They read what interests them, and sometimes it’s an ad.” And it’s never rung truer. We can’t know what the rest of 2021 has in store, but we also can’t wait for the year to happen to us. We need to take what we have and carve out a space where we become valuable and interesting to our audiences and communities, sparking conversations that are meaningful and useful right here, right now. If we want to drive business growth in 2021, if we want this year to be really different, we need to be proactive, not reactive. We need to move out of last year’s shadow.

Uyanda Manana is managing director of Conversation LAB, a full service ‘born digital’ agency founded in 2012 with offices in Johannesburg, Cape Town, Durban and London. Conversation LAB consistently delivers highly effective digital campaigns for blue-chip clients with relentless accountability. Sister agencies in the group include strategic communications firm Power LAB and paid media consultancy Media LAB.

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2020: a year of endings, a year of beginnings SOLLY MOENG looks back on the successful execution of the first hybrid Africa Brand Summit.


arrest harmless citizens taking lonely walks on beaches or jogging alone in deserted areas, with no risk of bringing harm to anyone. As organisers of the annual Africa Brand Summit, we remained calm as we watched the evolving situation quite closely, staying in regular contact with bodies such as SA Tourism, the South African Association for the Conference Industry, and the Tourism Business Council of South Africa in order to inform a decision to cancel, postpone or modify the planned 2020 event. It was supposed to be hosted in June as a traditional, full-on face-to-face summit in Cape Town. Cancellation and postponement to 2021 were right at the bottom of our list of considerations, and would only have been triggered if we were convinced that conditions for hosting the event in any form during 2020 would have been negative.

020 was one long emotional roller coaster of a year for many people. We moved from consternation when the coronavirus pandemic was first announced, to trepidation as casualty numbers grew and people close or known to us became affected – some of them subsequently dying from it – then hope when the curve flattened and casualty numbers began to stabilise and drop, followed by the progressive easing of lockdown restrictions. There was also a lot of anger at government for imposing a blanket lockdown, with some of its movement and trading restrictions not making any sense in the fight Solly against the spread of Moeng the virus. This anger was further fuelled by the conduct of some senior politicians, who behaved as if the restrictions were not meant for them, and by the overzealous drive by some members of the security forces who were too eager to

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THROUGHOUT THE TIME, WE WERE ALSO DRIVEN BY A DESIRE TO DO SOMETHING NEW AND POSITIVE DURING A YEAR THAT WE KNEW WOULD BE SPOKEN ABOUT FOR MANY DECADES TO COME During the two-day event, speakers, panellists and delegates livestreamed from South Africa, Nigeria, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Hungary, Bulgaria, Switzerland, Finland, India, the United Kingdom, Canada, the USA, Botswana, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Benin, Zambia, Burkina Faso, Malaysia and more. 16 I T H E M E D I A Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1

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PULLING UP THE ROOTS The raison d’être of the Africa Brand Summit is to identify and study the root causes of the perennially negative perceptions around Africa, at home and abroad, and to recommend changes that must be made over time to progressively eliminate these perceptions while enhancing the positive ones. The summit also identifies areas where Africa performs below its potential and proposes ways to change this.

In 2020, the anchor discussion was the Food Value Chain Space, from agriculture through agro-processing, logistics, cross-border transportation, storage and retail. It falls under the broader Integrated Africa Economic Development umbrella. Africa is a net importer of food crops, a totally unacceptable situation given the potential that lies in the continent turning into a more self-reliant net exporter of food crops.

THE RAISON D’ÊTRE OF THE AFRICA BRAND SUMMIT IS TO IDENTIFY AND STUDY THE ROOT CAUSES OF THE PERENNIALLY NEGATIVE PERCEPTIONS AROUND AFRICA We asked: “What investments, technologies, skills, policies, and leadership are needed to help turn the situation around?” The outcome of this and other discussions is summarised in the formal report of the 2020 Africa Brand Summit. This discussion was also taken to Zambia at the end of November 2020, where I was invited by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting to lead a discussion on territorial and country branding, with a focus on Brand Zambia to help the country reposition itself. Solly Moeng is an experienced holistic brand manager and media professional specialising in reputation management, stakeholder engagement strategies, strategic communications, PR and media relations. As a destination brand management expert, Moeng founded and currently convenes the fast-growing Africa Brand Summit. Moeng lived and studied in France (where he obtained a French master’s degree at the Université de Franche-Comté, Besançon) before working in Canada and the US as SA Tourism’s marketing manager and country manager.

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In hindsight, deciding to go ahead with the 2020 Africa Brand Summit was a brave decision when considering the costs and difficult funding environment in which many businesses had been forced to halt their trading and go for months without being able to generate revenue. Many, especially in the broader hospitality and informal sectors, were crippled forever and forced to shut down and let go of many employees, which led to the destruction of millions of livelihoods and rising unemployment. Some of the summit’s past sponsors also found themselves in rather difficult financial situations, having been impacted by poor trading conditions and forced to prioritise internal needs, especially the support of their own employees, ahead of supporting the summit. The decision to proceed was seen by some people as brave and admirable, and by others as almost reckless. In the end, however, we managed to host a successful hybrid event with livestreaming and technical teams co-ordinating speaker and delegate engagement from Cape Town and Chennai, India. There were minor co-ordinating glitches on day one, the sources of which were quickly identified and corrected to avoid a repeat on day two. With strict health and safety protocols in place at the venue, not a single case of Covid-19 was reported during or after the summit.



Throughout the time, we were also driven by a desire to do something new and positive during a year that we knew would be spoken about for many decades to come. While 2020 will be classified alongside 1918, known for the Spanish Flu that took many lives across the globe, we wanted to remember it as the year during which we pushed back against giving up and embraced new, innovative platforms for hosting an African event of global proportions. We announced during March that the 2020 Africa Brand Summit would be postponed from the first week of June to the first week of October, then continued to assess the evolving situation before deciding on what format the event would take. Not long after that, we announced that it would be hosted as hybrid summit, with a maximum of 50 delegates attending the face-to-face part of the event in Cape Town while others would livestream from across the world. The fixing of delegate numbers at the face-to-face venue was done in line with published health and safety protocols such as temperature checking, regular hand sanitising and the need for physical distancing.



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A diamond in the rough


recently came across a graph with some information I had not seen before. It revealed that in addition to the Botswana Pula being a stronger currency than the South African Rand, they also have a higher per capita income than South Africa. (See tweet on right) I am often told by the retailers I have worked with over the years that the first store they opened in Botswana outperformed any other single store based in South Africa. Many of these retailers have since opened multiple stores in Botswana. I see opportunity in Botswana for brands and retailers to boost their sales in this often neglected market. Botswana offers a market with 2.33 million people who have money to spend. From an advertising and a media perspective, it’s a fairly easy market to get your head around, understand as well as cover comprehensively. Simplified, the market looks something like this. There are two home grown freeto-air television stations offering national coverage. One station belongs to the Botswana government and the other to a privately owned media group. There are four commercial radio stations, one of which is government owned. Again these will give you comprehensive coverage of Botswana.

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The other misconception is that clients often think they can’t afford to be on television if they only have one store in Botswana. But look at what your money buys you: a prime time 30-second television spot will cost you less than R5 400.00 on BTV and only R2 500 on the privately owned YTV. Radio will cost you

no more than R900.00 for a 30-second prime time morning slot on any of the commercial radio stations and only R540.00 on the Government-owned RB2 radio station. There are also a number of great print publications on offer in Botswana. The Government publishes a Monday-toFriday tabloid-sized newspaper distributed nationally, which is free of charge. Its main aim is to communicate daily to all the government employees (income earners) with tender notices and government posts as well as the news of the day. That’s 80 000 copies of this newspaper reaching a desirable target market. A half page full colour advert would cost you no more than R6 800.00. There is also a weekly publication you will see around town in any office you visit, especially on a Friday, called the Botswana Advertiser. It prints 95 000 copies each week and is distributed widely across the country free of charge. I am told that the President as well as his ministers and other important Business people receive their hand delivered copy each week. Its handy A4 size ensures it has longevity. One of the retailers I work with, uses this publication frequently because it works brilliantly for them. Both these

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As things get tougher and tougher here in South Africa, isn’t it time to give these often neglected African markets a bit more serious consideration, asks MARK KNOCKER?


publications offer sizeable reach for a population of two million when compared to print orders in South Africa vs population size. Any product available on the shelves here in South Africa in any of our big four retailers are also available in Botswana, as these retailers all have stores there as well. The point I am trying to convey is that not only Botswana but Lesotho, Eswatini and Namibia are all rand-linked economies offering similar opportunities to Botswana. Not all brands are easily able to quantify the number of units they have sold in these markets. From my experience that is because these brands know how many units they sent to the export departments of retailers A B or C or D but don’t actually know what was sold at these stores or informal markets in Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini or Namibia.



At a glance, Botswana’s media penetration

Often markets like Lesotho or Eswatini don’t even feature on an advertising schedule when brands do their annual plans. As things get tougher and tougher here in South Africa, perhaps its time to give these often neglected markets a bit more serious consideration? A good idea is to find a partner who can help you get the best from your media investment in these countries! Mark Knocker is the founder of Marnox Media.

At a glance, Botswana’s media landscape

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KAGISO MUSI looks back on the lessons – big and small – we learned in 2020, and how they can help us navigate life and marketing this year.


ast year, 2020, was a far cry from what we hoped for and expected. It was the year we toasted to ‘20-plenty’, but little did we anticipate that the plenty we were about to have was of a different kind. It was the year that brought us Tiger King and a US election that felt more like a farce. It was the year of accelerated poverty and increased gender-based violence, and definitely a year of many life lessons. It also spelled the beginning of a beautiful journey of self-discovery and building foundations for some, as well as birthing many a home chef and TikTok artist. Over and above the negative state of our economy from previous years, the unprecedented upheaval of the Covid-19 pandemic had serious social and economic effects for us both individually and collectively, setting us

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on a mental roller coaster of emotions, many of which were negative. It became necessary to rethink our goals in order to create and maintain hope, do away with feeling rudderless and the fear of the unknown, and enter 2021 focusing only on what was within our control. Lockdown was thrust upon us and we did not know what to expect, so we hurled ourselves into it without much of a plan. Now we have the opportunity to plan a little better. We have the advantage of experience and knowledge of what this


RECONNECTING There was one very specific area the lockdown had a big impact on, and that was connections with family and friends. This has to do with how our humanity manifests in ourselves and at work. 2020 brought us back to us. We often throw around the word ‘ubuntu’, but generally don’t really live its core. Last year, however, was more ubuntu-esque – the calls to check in on people, making sure neighbours and strangers had food, drivethrough birthday celebrations, the deliberate smiles with our eyes at the shops, the virtual office awards, the funny (and embarrassing) moments during Zoom calls, virtual baby showers, the financial sacrifices many made to save many ships, and the very many intentional moments of happiness that were created.

THE LEVEL AT WHICH A BRAND PERFORMS HAS AN IMMEDIATE CONSEQUENCE FOR THE POTENTIAL TO RETAIN JOBS 2020 also reminded us of the value of our partnerships. We as an agency are proud that we have a literal open-door policy; every day is open day for our media owners. During lockdown, we lost good ground on the day-to-day interactions that had been built in the office where media owners could pop in without a meeting, just to have a chat. This resulted in media owners only engaging with us when they, or we, requested a meeting. Without the daily open-door interaction, media owners lost touch with our clients’ immediate needs and we lost touch with immediate updates on their innovations, ideas and them catching briefs ‘in the air’.

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Leaning into 2021 with hope and eyes wide open

virus means when things get bad – hopefully giving us some room to anticipate and plan scenarios around ourselves and work.


This is why water cooler moments are a thing: there are worthy insights one gets from ‘random conversations’ that no brief can provide. So, starting at the end of 2020 and going forward into 2021, one of our goals was to be proactive about continuous engagement beyond ‘the brief’ – a specific engagement for ourselves and our media owner partners. This represented a win for them, a win for us and, more importantly, a win for our clients.



BEYOND MARKETING METRICS On the client side, never has there been more of a time for agencies to act as an extension of the marketing department than now (and for the client to be willing for that to happen). Being flung into uncertainty for the brands we represent, together, has brought us much closer. Now more so than ever before, the sales funnel holds specific importance for marketers and agencies alike. We have seen many good businesses close shop, go into business rescue or reduce budgets to shadows of their 2019 scales – this has become about brand survival. The general consensus is that businesses in ICU generally do away with marketing budgets, which means reduced marketing teams, which means no requirement for agency partners (try as we might, scientifically proven, to convince clients that in a recession brands that spend, thrive). The level at which a brand performs has an immediate consequence for the

potential to retain jobs. Never has this been more pronounced and clear than now. As we continue to navigate 2021, the focus should be beyond marketing metrics and questions, and rather on an appreciation by marketers and agencies alike of pure business survival and understanding what it takes to ensure that survival. This is what our business goals should be built around as agencies, and specifically as media agencies. The triad relationship of client/agency/media owner cannot exist if one of the legs is broken. So this year, let’s lean in to hope, but let’s do it with eyes wide open, and include scenario planning against what we now know about the effects of the virus on ourselves, our colleagues, our brands and our industry. This will allow us to react better as the effects of the virus have their way with us, and indeed also prepare us for future shocks. Kagiso Musi

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Kagiso Musi is group managing director of Meta Media South Africa, which focuses on analysing and uncovering insights from the most granular forms of data, and utilising that data to help clients win. A graduate of the AAA School of Advertising, Wits Business School and University of Roehampton, Musi is also a member of the MAC Transformation Charter Council and a trustee on the board of Young Entrepreneurs South Africa, a member of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance.

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08.04.21 11:24

2021 and #MediaThatMatters: an important year for the media industry We all know how powerful media can be. ROXANNE BOYES contemplates what we could achieve if we used that power for good.


his article is not about media trends or forecasts for the coming year, as I’m sure there will be countless prediction pieces written on that. It’s about something of far greater importance: our position and our purpose as people within the media industry. It’s a topic rarely discussed in annual reports, but a critical component of our next steps into 2021. Last year was undoubtedly different, we are all well aware of that, but what made it profound was the silence that submerged society. Billboards projected to empty highways, newspapers were left untouched shelf upon shelf, coffee machines in once-crowded cafés collected dust, and shopping centres had not one pair of feet amble through their aisles to pop a product in a trolley.

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Habitual nature stopped. And for the first time in years, we were present, as the silence awakened loud thoughts and reflections. You might think that people – or as we like to call them, consumers – have thoughts all the time, but this was different. Consumption was replaced by contemplation, which became a catalyst. It was this collective awareness and the mindfulness of these thoughts that shook the world harder than any pandemic ever could. These thoughts traversed the globe through media, and then became actions – actions that shape-shifted social structures and will be recorded in history books for generations to come. Our world was in clear need of mass change on multiple fronts and this is where the media industry stepped up, in full force. This is what blew me away last year!

One example, which affected all African nations, was the #BlackLivesMatter movement. It questioned and reset social conversations, opinions and behaviour surrounding deeply embedded social constructs. This affected hundreds of millions of people today, as well as their futures and the futures of the next generations to come. The movement reflected a similar pattern to that of the #MeToo movement, which collectively empowered women, their bodies and their rights. The same applies to the various micro-movements that developed during Covid-19 promoting care for all, especially the vulnerable and the weak with #StaySafeStayHome and #FlattenTheCurve, which encouraged love for thy neighbour, shifting from a local to national and then international scale. These movements developed in a matter of days and created ripples that will last lifetimes. That is the power of media!

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IF WE CHOOSE TO CREATE COLLECTIVE CHANGE AS STRATEGICALLY AS WE LAUNCH A NEW BEER, THEN WE COULD BE IN FOR AN ASTOUNDING NEW REALITY WITH GREAT POWER… You, reading this article right now, work in an industry that is the agent for the change we so critically need in the world. This is how we need to approach 2021 – with knowledge of the influence, power and responsibility we hold in our hands. What if we used the same media channels and communication strategies currently being used to convince people to exchange their hard-earned income for a soda also to convince millions of people to buy and plant one tree seedling? What if we used the same media channels and communication strategies currently being used to make certain brands social status symbols also to make single-use plastic and littering socially taboo?



And if we do not proactively act on this position of great potential in a way that moves our world forward, our upcoming consumers, the Generation Zs of the world, are well aware of our position and will soon hold enough purchasing power to demand it. If anything, that in itself is one of my forecasts for the near future. Media, the most influential platform on earth, can and should be used for so much more than selling products and posting selfies. It has the potential to be the biggest catalyst for human connection and change, and we know it. It’s a platform we have perfected and chosen as our profession, so how now can it contribute towards our individual and industry purposes? It’s a very big thought, but we are very big by nature, and as the voice of the largest brands in he world we now need our own voice, hopefully one that can add significant value. So, as we look to revive, recalibrate and refresh our industry post this pandemic, let’s do so in a manner that makes the next movement #MediaThatMatters, shall we?

Roxanne Boyes

There are many issues that need to be solved, some so widespread that it seems almost impossible, but we have found the power to create such large shifts before, so it only makes sense that we continue to find the power to shift them in a positive direction in the future. If we choose to create collective change as strategically as we launch a new beer, then we could be in for an astounding new reality.

Roxanne Boyes is a media strategist who has spent time studying the faculties of economics, environmental and behavioural sciences and marketing. She is based in Kenya, and splits her time between her first love – strategy – and spearheading Vizeum’s SME incubator within East Africa. Since the very start of her journey, she has set her focus on the African continent as a strategist working across 27 different regions.

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How agencies and brands can build highly successful relationships BENOIT CACHEUX examines how in-housing affects the relationship between agencies and clients.

ACCELERATION OF THE IN-HOUSE TREND AND THE ROLE OF AGENCIES The topic of in-housing has not taken over our conversations with clients. We still think it’s an important topic, but the majority of our clients are not accelerating their shift to in-house models. We believe there’s a widespread realisation that taking all media in-house is a very difficult task in terms of talent, processes like finance and overall ways of working. However, we are building hybrid models that create a much deeper connectivity, with teams made up of clients and agency talent 24 I T H E M E D I A Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1

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working together as a joint team. It could be called in-housing, but we see it as a positive evolution of the agency and client partnership.

ACHIEVING INTEGRATION AND ALIGNMENT BETWEEN IN-HOUSE AND AGENCIES The better models for in-housing have this integration and alignment at heart, so if there’s a single best practice, it is the focus on ensuring that agency teams are closely connected to in-house teams, rather than in-house teams working more directly with clients’ teams. This connectivity drives not only best practices such as better audience planning, but also reporting and analytics with more data consistency and campaign intelligence. The latter is critical in ensuring there is one version of truth across both the agency team and in-house team.


CLIENTS RECRUITING MEDIA TALENT FROM AGENCIES: AN OPPORTUNITY OR A THREAT? It’s an interesting evolution as it means the marketplace is becoming progressively more competitive for recruitment. Traditionally, we had to focus on being attractive versus other agency groups. We now have to be competitive in a wider context. However, being a glass-half-full sort of person, I see this as extremely positive: increased expertise on the client side allows us to have more sophisticated conversations, do more innovative things and generally move faster.

WHAT’S THE MEANING OF TRANSPARENCY – THE MOST-USED WORD IN MEDIA? We want to ensure that our clients have full visibility of how their marketing budgets are invested, whether it’s for agency fees, media spend, tech costs, and so forth. This is critical and one of the core pillars of our organisation, Publicis Groupe. We completely agree that this is critical in any agency/client relationship. Over the last few years, the focus has been around programmatic and transparency.

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recently had the pleasure of joining an agency-brand fireside chat at the latest Programmatic Pioneers virtual event, titled ‘Thinking partnership, not service: How can agencies and brands build collaborative relationships to ensure mutually beneficial and highly successful alliances?’ Andrew Lowdon, director of agency services at ISBA, moderated the event. I was joined on screen by Richard Bettinson, director of media strategy and planning for EMEA at Hilton. These are some of the areas we discussed.


Traditionally, agencies have been more concentrated on the demand side, but we have now taken an active stance on helping to solve transparency issues on the supply side. Zenith’s involvement in the ISBA programmatic study is a great testament to our commitment to transparency.


while managing directly their in-house activation of media.

THE IMPACT OF IN-HOUSING AND THE AGENCY ROLE FIVE YEARS FROM NOW As you’ve probably gathered, we do not believe that all media will move in-house. However, we see a future where agencies and clients work very closely together on defining the right integrated model.

Data has played a central role for many years and has driven the growth seen in programmatic investments. However, it’s true that we are seeing an evolution in its sophistication, with an increasingly higher volume of first-party data being used versus the third-party variety. We’re seeing clients very focused on building second-party data partnerships, which we believe will be critical in the future and give brands partnering together a unique asset. We’re also gearing up for the changes coming with the gradual disappearance of trackers such as IDFA or third-party cookies. Getting ready for this new future now is essential!


We’ve talked about hybrid models and we see them as the future, where the ways of working and processes are engineered together, and they drive a much deeper level of connectivity between agencies and clients. This hybrid approach allows clients to focus on the performance of their business, and agencies to provide their expertise in strategy, execution and technology as we increasingly move to a world of automation.

Benoit Cacheux is global chief digital officer at Zenith. He is responsible for helping define global clients’ acceleration plans when it comes to advertising in the digital age. Cacheux’s focus ranges from building the right data and technological capabilities through to delivering new operational models for media activation, with the objective of driving superior growth for global organisations from a range of sectors such as FMCG, pharma, automotive, appliances, luxury, eyewear and beauty. He’s passionate about the latest ways of driving commerce, and innovation in marketing related to machine learning and blockchain.

GOING IN-HOUSE AND LOSING THE BENEFITS OF A CLIENT/AGENCY RELATIONSHIP If the client really wishes to go in-house, we would always recommend that they build their in-house operations with the support of the agency, and effectively create a hybrid model where the agency, in-house team and client team work together with common goals. A connected framework would allow a client still to benefit from their agency’s expertise,

Benolt Cacheux

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THE MEDIA’S JUNE 2021 ISSUE SHINES A SPOTLIGHT ON ALL THINGS SCREENS. From television and streaming, to mobile and digital out of home - and of course, the BIG one, video - we highlight the latest trends, issues and developments in these important media sectors. To be part of this popular issue, contact Tarin-Lee Watts on or call her on 079 504 7729


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Keeping research relevant




he year that was required us to innovate and operate outside of our comfort zones. We were presented with myriad challenges that could have made progress impossible had we not chosen to seek out opportunity in the face of adversity. Covid-19 and the accompanying lockdown laws and regulations, including media and advertising, impacted all sectors. Market research, under normal circumstances, is an area that is continually under scrutiny due to its importance in strategic decision-making. It is, for all intents and purposes, an essential service in the media and advertising industry. Currency research is arguably the most scrutinised due to its impact on revenue streams for broadcasters and advertisers alike. Therefore, a core requirement of this research is accuracy, which in turn requires that it be able to keep up with and adapt to changing circumstances. Future-proofing our currency research in line with the changing landscape therefore became paramount in 2020. As the pandemic hit and level 5 lockdown ensued there was no doubt that we would see fluctuations in audience data for both TV and radio – a huge disruptor being the changes to people’s daily routines and habits. People were no longer commuting to and from work; working hours were altered by home schooling, family life, and restrictions on movement, social interactions and the like. The shifts in routines and habits led to shifts in media consumption: mainly an increase in listening and viewing.

SAFEGUARDING RAMS AND TAMS Both the television and radio currencies were impacted as the makeup of the underlying research methodologies involved

Future-proofing currency research in line with the changing landscape became paramount in 2020, says GARY WHITAKER. Gary Whitaker

THE FUTURE IS FUSION A monumental win in 2020 came in the form of Fusion 2020, which answered the call of the media industry to bring a CURRENCY RESEARCH IS merged dataset to the market, including ARGUABLY THE MOST television data, products and brands, SCRUTINISED DUE TO ITS and insights into online behaviour. In partnership with the Publisher Research IMPACT ON REVENUE STREAMS Council and Nielsen, the BRC was able to ensure these hitherto unseen data points some form of critical face-to-face interaction, were incorporated into TAMS. In 2021 we will focus on the next namely interviewing possible iteration and investigate the respondents for the Radio Audience possibility of incorporating RAMS data Measurement Survey (RAMS) and into Fusion. maintaining the inner workings of the panel for Television Audience Measurement Survey (TAMS). Gary Whitaker is CEO of the Broadcast We were therefore faced with an urgent Research Council of South Africa. He has over 17 years’ experience in the fields need to replace face-to-face methodologies of market research, media strategy, and with virtual methodologies for both RAMS traditional and digital marketing. He has and TAMS. While the TAMS panel remained held positions at AC Nielsen, Millward stable and within acceptable levels of Brown, Mindshare, Nestlé S.A., MTN and Publicis Media. Whitaker’s core focus is health, RAMS did not stand up well to the delivering accurate data to enable the deep lockdown landscape as all fieldwork ceased. and meaningful consumer insights that After careful consideration by all relevant form the basis for sound strategies. stakeholders, the decision was made

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to run a fully comprehensive request for proposal. This allowed suppliers in the market to come forward with best practice proposals that would safeguard and future-proof the study. This year we are moving from a radio measurement paradigm to an audio measurement model to ensure we capture the full spectrum of audio, which includes linear and non-linear radio consumption as well as channels such as podcasting. In 2020, in terms of television, we saw a steady increase in online streaming and use of digital. Measurement of online viewing habits is a core focus for the Broadcast Research Council (BRC) in 2021.

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Algoa FM: Standing out from the rest Eastern Cape media house, Algoa FM, makes sure it stands out from the rest, asking advertisers, ‘What can we do for you?’



lgoa FM has developed a reputation among national and regional advertisers for its hands-on” approach to supporting marketing drives. “What makes us stand out from other media houses is that we partner with the client to take ownership of the campaign,” says sales manager Dennis Karantges. He says the energy the Algoa FM team devotes to campaigns is captured in the media house’s slogan – “fun is a serious business”. Established as a radio station 35 years ago, Algoa FM has grown into the biggest media house serving the region from the Garden Route to the Wild Coast and inland through the Karoo. In addition to being the biggest private commercial radio station in the region, Algoa FM now has a very strong online and social media presence, supported by its ‘on the ground’ presence involving the on-air personalities. The sales team works with advertisers to craft campaigns that deliver a measurable return on investment, according to Karantges. “Because we live here and are fully integrated into the local business sector, we understand the market. “We also conduct formal research,” he adds. Independent research commissioned by Algoa FM found that people in the Eastern Cape have become more conservative in their purchasing, choosing products they know and brands they trust.

“Research and experience also show that they trust Algoa FM presenters, who are all local celebrities, each with a loyal following. Advertisers benefit from this relationship as products spoken about or endorsed by the presenters are also seen as trustworthy by our on air, online and on the ground audiences,” he says. A new retailer leveraged off this relationship when it opened its first store in Port Elizabeth. The client asked Algoa FM to craft a campaign that would introduce listeners to the new store and its products, create thorough awareness of their physical address, grow Facebook likes, create engagement in a fun and informative way and, of course, ensure product sales – all during lockdown. Based on the success of their August launch, the client booked two additional campaigns in 2020 – one to promote a second store opening (in October) and another to promote their festive season specials. Fans get to meet presenters regularly during broadcasts or crossings from the premises of clients, such as the retailer in question. Packages range from full-blown live broadcasts to high-energy crossings from the presenter, who also interacts with the crowd. Algoa FM is constantly innovating and creating fresh new ways for advertisers to reach their customers. An example

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is the ‘Great Deal Promotion’, in which advertisers provide at least three special offers. The offers are made available before and after the event day in order to comply with Covid-19 protocols and to increase the return on investment. “This promotion speaks directly to our footprint’s psyche. Any retailer will tell you that we (the people of Algoa country) are particularly attracted to special offers,” says Algoa FM managing director, Alfie Jay. He encourages local and national advertisers to tap into the understanding that Algoa FM has built up over its 35 years in business by helping clients to connect with the people of Algoa Country. “What works in Gauteng or KZN will not necessarily have the same impact in the Eastern Cape or the Garden Route. There often is a better way for client and agency to invest their marketing budget. Generic ‘one size fits all’ approaches can also harm brands. “We’re always happy to discuss campaigns and try something new if it’s going to add value to the fun element of being part of the Algoa Country family,” says Jay. “Most of our sales consultants have become local experts in the fields of radio and online communication. What’s more, their advice and consultative approach is part of the package we offer.” T H E M E D I A Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1 I 29

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Radio isn’t on mute, so turn it up! While last year was a trying one for the radio industry, it also once again proved its value and agility, writes TIM ZUNCKEL.



f there was a year to prove that radio is tenacious, agile, tactile and versatile, 2020 was it. Add elements of care, compassion, fun and understanding alongside information, entertainment and news, and you really do seem to have the perfect media ‘friend’. While the country was changing gears between lockdown levels, making sense of the new normal and telling the person on the other side of their buffering screens, “You’re on mute, we can’t hear you,” radio was turning up the volume and delivering a message that was loud and clear to audiences and advertisers: “You can depend on me.”

The 2020 radio landscape changed daily as stations and practitioners set their best-laid plans and strategies aside, and recalibrated their programming plans to serve audiences and communities much-needed information at the peak of the pandemic. The year put focus on the value of well-planned broadcast systems, solid technical staff and in-tune programming teams. Empty studios, remote connections and rejigged programming plans saw the radio industry embrace the collective psyche of their communities. Working at home, being removed from loved ones, sharing moments, laughing,

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thinking, being lonely and getting sick – radio did it all. The true agility of the medium was highlighted by the fact that there weren’t huge recalibration shifts, but rather constant change and calibration as the daily needs changed. Besides the obvious, there were other challenges too. We saw many broadcast groups undergo organisational change, with retrenchments sweeping the industry. A shift in needs and required skills, a changing consumption landscape and commercial pressure have seen many experienced practitioners within organisations unemployed. T H E M E D I A Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1 I 31

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The short-term effect is devastating on the individuals, but I believe in many instances the need to refresh and push F5 at station level is key to ensuring long-term survival. I do think that as things settle this year, we will see those with unique skills in sales, marketing and operations add value as organisations feel the effects of shrinking teams. The need for campaign/project-based assistance and input will grow, and there will be a revival of creativity, ideas and energy. Those who can, will.



Tim Zunckel

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Community radio continues to be a source of talent development and identification. As a sector I think they have a right to be slightly less than enchanted with their commercial counterparts who snatch and recycle. Talent development, in all facets of the audio entertainment and delivery value chain, remains an issue.

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The community sector remains a key player in the radio sphere. Financial challenges have been mitigated by ad hoc funding, government spend and support from the Media Development and Diversity Agency (MDDA), and these interventions have managed to keep the transmitters on for many community broadcasters. It is heartening to see a push from the MDDA in the sector to address sustainable funding models and operational management training. There is no doubt that community radio is a pillar of society and a key contributor to the media sector.


The next year will see more opportunity unfold in the on-demand space, and as the industry slowly, very slowly, chips away at DAB+, the need for fresh and unique talent, ideas and concepts is more pressing than ever. My message to young, astute and creative practitioners is that the broader industry has yet to refresh their thinking on talent. There has never been a better time to leverage your own talent and create in your own space. If there is one lesson to learn from older broadcasters, it is not to allow your future audio career to be dictated by established broadcasters; the audio business is expanding and it needs your refreshing inputs.

lockdown. Reaching people in their homes and offering constant value allowed the industry to remain commercially attractive. The commercial sector has indicated that there were definite declines in revenues, but the shift to online eventing and concerts, as well as very lucrative airtime deals and discounted airtime, has led to revenue being maintained. Considering the scale of businesses closing down and job losses, the radio sector has certainly shown economic resilience.


KEEP LEARNING Research remains a space that enjoys budgetary consideration at a commercial level. The insights coming out of various organisations point to similar trends. Radio is trusted, audiences are consuming in different places and on different devices, there is digital platform traction, and audiences enjoy the content and promotions offered. The Broadcast Research Council (BRC) is looking to refresh its approach to audience data and this will certainly be an area that broadcasters will be keen to follow. For community media and SABC Radio, BRC Radio Audience Measurement is crucial to prove value for clients, as both the public and community sector operate in a generally research-lite or absent fashion. The data is also key for clients and agencies to help better inform the buying and placing of campaigns. Radio’s tactile approach in 2020 allowed it to offer value to businesses looking to innovate in the heart of

TUNING IN TO THE FUTURE With face masks still replacing pop covers, what else does 2021 hold? The SABC will continue to be an organisation in flux. Colleagues who have survived the onslaught of the S189 will tell you that the Auckland Park facility is notably empty. Has the organisation retrenched the right people and are they now better suited to become sustainable? The SABC board has been

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MY MESSAGE TO YOUNG, ASTUTE AND CREATIVE PRACTITIONERS IS THAT THE BROADER INDUSTRY HAS YET TO REFRESH THEIR THINKING ON TALENT notably quiet in the last year compared to previous years and regimes. Were the right decisions made and has the Minister of Communications had her final say yet? ICASA continues to regulate with often-unwieldy policy that allows for a fair degree of interpretation. There are still commercially awarded licenses in the Free State and the Eastern Cape that have yet to go live and a variety of other compliance issues that plague the industry. As an organisation they face major developments in the tech and frequency spaces that must be hugely challenging to address. When the sanitiser bottles and thermometers get packed away and the industry is able to meet again, I’m sure there will be stories to be told. I’m also hoping that as a business we will take an opportunity to acknowledge the vital role played by our industry in the most challenging times the modern world has seen. Radio isn’t on mute. Mamela. We can hear you. In the words of Queen, “Radio, someone still loves you.”

Tim Zunckel is a media consultant, creative programmer, trainer, problem solver and lover of audio who is always keen to engage, and share thoughts and ideas. @TimZunckel

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OFM and its loyal listeners Any chance to learn something should be met with an open mind if we are to unlock future opportunities. While 2020 was dubbed ‘stifling’, there was a silver lining amid the dark cloud of Covid-19 for media and, most especially, for radio.



e learned that while everything was falling apart and credible news was hard to come by, OFM was a brand relied upon by its audience for accurate and trustworthy information related to the coronavirus. We learned that radio listening was up by 30% (Kantar) by May 2020 and that 71% of Central South Africans listened to more radio than usual, during the then lockdown, across all of OFM’s available platforms – radio, mobile and desktop apps. The absence the Broadcast Research Council’s (BRC) Radio Audience Measurement Survey meant that OFM had to inform itself about its audience and their media consumption habits. The last reading pinned OFM’s 7-day cume at 315 000 listeners. The pandemic forced the brand to be more insights-driven than ever before. Our independent research studies and insights paved the way for more agile products that met a demand that otherwise would have not necessarily have been discovered. But radio is more than an extended aerial with a tuner and speaker. The modern age has given radio the opportunity to expand and meet its audience in cyberspace. OFM has spent much of the last three years aggressively investing in and developing adjacent digital platforms including social media, desktop and mobile apps, as well as a revamped website and streaming service, OFM Stasie2. OFM’s

online users have increased almost 2% year-on-year to 1.745-million online users by December 2020 and a further 260 000 unique online streams. This excludes the ambitious podcasting planned for 2021, which includes an association with leading podcast publisher, Wondery.

WHAT DOES THIS ALL MEAN? OFM is creating an ecosystem where the brand and listeners can find and access each other across various and different platforms. We know that in 2021, OFM listeners indicated that they are likely to listen to more radio, and streamed audio services, than they did in 2020. • 54% of OFM listeners indicated that they are likely to consume more radio • 65% indicated that they already listen to more radio between 06:00 and 09:00 and that many kept their radio tuned onto OFM from 6am, in the car, at home and at work. An insight, revealed time and time again from the BRC RAMs, is that OFM has one of the highest instances of time spent listening over 7 days – 20.97 hours • 16% indicated that they are likely to consume more streamed audio offerings. “The study indicates the absolute strength of radio and audio consumption, listener engagement, and the loyalty OFM listeners have toward OFM. In 2021, OFM turns 35 years young and the station can be proud that radio and audio

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consumption is getting stronger,” said Nick Efstathiou, CEO of the Central Media Group, holding company of OFM. This translates to the absolute value of audio. Where there is engagement, there is a prospective solution, and radio sits at the table of this digital revolution. Audio remains inescapable and OFM intends to build on the legacy of its last 35 years in audio.

WHO IS OFM? OFM is Central South Africa’s premier commercial radio station offering a mix of music, news and entertainment. The station serves the influential SEM 7-10 market with a footprint across the Free State, Northern Cape, southern Gauteng and North West. The brand is synonymous with the people of central South Africa and covers the full spectrum of listeners from urban youngsters to pensioners, from working moms and dads to successful professionals, and from rural communities to agricultural producers. OFM offers a number of niche features – including an agricultural programme, agri news twice a day, entertainment and sports features. Our audience is incredibly loyal and supportive. OFM enjoys one of the highest instances of time spent listening to the radio in South Africa. OFM is part of the Central Media Group with its head office is located in Bloemfontein, with a studio in Welkom. T H E M E D I A Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1 I 35

08.04.21 11:40

What to expect from streaming in Africa for 2021

The entertainment industry has undergone a seismic shift over the last year and with streaming now at the forefront of its future, the African streaming market is set to grow five-fold in the next five years, reports YOLISA PHAHLE.

Yolisa Phahle

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ooking back at 2020, there’s no need to reiterate just how much has changed on a global level as we’ve had to adapt to a radical new lifestyle involving lockdowns, mask-wearing and social distancing. The impact on the entertainment industry, particularly the streaming sector, has been extraordinary. With millions of people around the world stuck at home, unable to go to church, weddings, funerals, the shops, the cinema or even to meet up with friends and family, the adoption of streaming services has accelerated rapidly. In 2020 globally, we saw the launch of AT&T’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock. Disney+ grew from 20 million to 73 million subscribers between February and October. Netflix crossed the 200 million subscriber mark. Apple TV+ launched heavy-hitting new titles, and the billion-dollar short-format mobile gamble Quibi folded in December. Additionally, the line between traditional and over-the-top (OTT) platforms became increasingly blurry, with Warner Bros. opting to release its biggest titles on HBO Max as well as in theatres, a move that could threaten the survival of cinemas.

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One just has to take a look at the number of streaming titles nominated for Golden Globes to see how much the power dynamic has shifted from traditional Hollywood to the big streaming players.



When it comes to Africa, we are seeing similar trends. The reality is that doing business in Africa is challenging, something that MultiChoice has learned over the last 30 years. Infrastructural issues aside, the complexities of multiple languages, cultures, currencies, banking systems and regulatory frameworks make it a complex continent in which to thrive. This is our home, however, and we continue to thrive and learn how best to navigate the challenges that are inherent to the opportunities. External analysts at Digital TV Research predict that the African streaming market is set to grow five times larger by 2025, maturing to 12.96 million subscribers, up from 2.75 million in 2019. These numbers point to a great opportunity before us, and we remain bullish. Bringing global trends closer to home, in South Africa the impact of 2020’s Covid-related lockdowns on Showmax was dramatic. There was a 50% spike in active users and a doubling in play events on the platform in South Africa during the strictest lockdown period across all categories – international series and movies as well as local movies, series and kids’ content. Rather than changing what people were watching, lockdowns changed how


ONE JUST HAS TO TAKE A LOOK AT THE NUMBER OF STREAMING TITLES NOMINATED FOR GOLDEN GLOBES TO SEE HOW MUCH THE POWER DYNAMIC HAS SHIFTED FROM TRADITIONAL HOLLYWOOD TO THE BIG STREAMING PLAYERS people watched. For those individuals who may have been curious about streaming before, lockdown saw them take the plunge and sign up to see what streaming on-demand was really all about.

INNOVATION STATION What all of this has meant for us as a fundamentally African streaming business – operating in 46 African countries and a number of diaspora markets – is that we’ve had to change the way we work. We’ve had to become more agile, more strategic and have had to push the boundaries of innovation. It remains essential that we address consumer needs, create excellent content that Africans love, and deliver it to our customers in the way they want to watch it, with best-in-class technology and a compelling, personalised streaming experience. Last year, a big focus was launching Showmax Pro, which adds live sports streaming from SuperSport as well as live music channels and news to the existing entertainment offering. We are seeing positive uptake in South Africa as well as key markets including Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana. Showmax also became the first streaming service to make mobile downloads possible for offline viewing and to launch a mobile-only plan, a move that has since been followed by the other key players.

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The MultiChoice group has also had to innovate, with 2020 seeing the release of the DStv Explorer Ultra and the announcement of the DStv Streama. Both devices allow users to add streaming apps like Showmax, Netflix and Amazon Prime in addition to DStv. Ultimately, people want to be entertained with stories that reflect their lives, languages, hopes and fears, so it’s not just in our technology that our business has had to adapt to a growing streaming African market. Showmax has put a lot of energy into growing and curating our South African and African catalogues, and have seen steady growth in local content viewership across the continent over the last 12 months as a result.

WE’VE HAD TO BECOME MORE AGILE, MORE STRATEGIC AND HAVE HAD TO PUSH THE BOUNDARIES OF INNOVATION Hyper-local content remains a strategic differentiator for the MultiChoice Group, with close to 2 000 hours produced in the first half of the current financial year, bringing the group’s total local content library to around 60 000 hours. As streaming continues to accelerate, we’re in the exciting position of leading the way with an Africa-first OTT offering that is designed for local markets.

Yolisa Phahle is CEO of General Entertainment for MultiChoice Group Africa. She oversees entertainment strategy for MultiChoice, including channel acquisition, channel production, sales and distribution, and local production. With roots in South Africa, but born in the UK, Phahle was a successful musician before returning to South Africa in 2005, taking on M-Net’s Channel O and turning it into Africa’s leading music channel.

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14.04.21 11:33

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Openview’s set-top box brings wi-fi connectivity home



penview, the free satellite television service and part of the eMedia Investments group, is pleased to announce the launch of its very own wi-fi enabler (dongle), Openview Connect, in partnership with Vodacom as the prepaid mobile data provider. Through the Openview set-top box, Openview Connect will enable wi-fi connectivity in homes that remain unserved by fibre networks. It is poised to provide first access with a simple, practical solution that brings immediate benefits to any Openview household not yet connected through fibre or other means. Target homes can also benefit from wi-fi connectivity on a pay-as-you-go basis. The Openview Connect data dongle will drive increased connectivity for families across South Africa and act as a plug-and-play hotspot for Openviewenabled homes that wish to Get Connected and Stay Connected. For a once-off fee of R599, Openview customers can connect up to 10 devices simultaneously with operating data rates of up to 150Mbps speed on 4G LTE – lightning-fast compared to most home fibre connectivity options.

CONNECTING PEOPLE The tangible benefits this connectivity can bring to communities across South

Africa are multifold and life-changing. On a social level, Openview Connect can help households stay in touch with friends and family. Besides providing instant access to news and information, e-learning platforms like Vodacom e-School, free-to-browse career websites for job seekers and even parenting advice are all available free of data charges. Openview executive Mmatshipi Matebane explains further: “Introducing the product into the market bears testament to how we always strive to provide our customers with the best TV and information solutions. With our business projections channelling us towards three million home activations in the near future, we believe that Openview Connect will upscale our product offering to both new and existing customers. We welcome Vodacom on board and look forward to a fruitful partnership of two healthy properties.”

DEMOCRATISING TECHNOLOGY Rashid Tar-Mahomed, managing executive for unbranded channels at Vodacom, says, “Vodacom has connected millions of South Africans for over two decades, and we are fully committed to forging ahead with our mission to democratise access to technology. Our vision is to be a leading techno business that connects everyone to critical information and resources for a better future.

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The satellite TV provider’s partnership with Vodacom is bearing fruit for its customers.

“With our core pillar of ‘Inclusion for all’, we always make sure to partner with likeminded brands that share our values around technology’s opportunity to enable innovation and inclusivity,” Tar-Mahomed adds. “We are excited to partner with Openview to help bridge the digital divide in this country and transform the lives of all South Africans.” Openview customers can RICA their Vodacom prepaid SIMs by downloading the My Vodacom App and clicking on the ‘RICA a Friend’ tab. They also have the option to RICA in person at any participating Vodacom outlet. The partnership with Vodacom will allow Openview customers to benefit from Vodacom’s ConnectU platform, which gives all customers on South Africa’s leading network access to specific zero-rated sites such as jobs, education, health and social portals, at no cost. This is in line with Vodacom’s vision of connecting people to participate equally in a digital society. Currently enjoyed by over two million households nationwide, Openview has been a go-to family brand that ticks the boxes for obligation-free world-class entertainment and continues to deliver on the promise with Openview Connect. The brand extension wi-fi connector will be available at leading retailers in South Africa. Visit T H E M E D I A Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1 I 39

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If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that adaptability is needed not just to thrive, but also to survive. This has certainly been true in business, where the mettle of marketers has been thoroughly tested since the start of the pandemic, writes NICOLE GREENFIELD-SMITH.

Nicole Greenfield-Smith


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TUNING IN TO THE MOOD OF THE NATION The Covid-19 crisis created a distinct need for enhanced social awareness, as advertisers were required to tune in sensitively to the emotional state of the nation. Marketers quickly had to assess the appropriateness of their messaging as the world turned upside down – and kept on changing. Tone became a critical factor and many marketers talked about the pressure of empathetically reflecting the national mood.

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Adapting to adversity

ovid-19 necessitated change at breakneck speed for brands. Priorities shifted, consumers began to behave – and feel – differently, and marketing strategies had to turn on a penny to accommodate the state of flux brought about by various lockdowns. To delve into this further, Thinkbox – the UK marketing body for TV advertising – commissioned Work Research to explore what the Covid-19 crisis really meant for marketers. At the end of 2020 they conducted interviews with 12 senior clients, who reflected on the pandemic’s impact on their businesses, and revealed their perspectives on what changes they foresaw in their approach to marketing throughout 2021 and beyond. Six clear themes emerged from the research (there’s also a short film summarising each theme, which you can you view at


Broadcasters also quickly adapted with virtual programming and socially distanced audiences. TV advertising gave many brands a way of aligning themselves with what the British public were going through. Ben Newbury from Yorkshire Tea highlighted the position that many advertisers found themselves in: “We always had to take that healthy sense check of ‘What’s really going on?’ And [we knew] we were going to get this right or wrong before we pressed go. It paused a lot of stuff that we made. We held it, and we held it, until we felt the time was right to go live.”



BRAND AND RESPONSE The balance between brand and response was brought into sharp focus by Covid-19. Advertisers were forced to rethink their campaigns, often at incredibly short notice – firstly because the hard sell no longer seemed appropriate, and secondly because trust and mental availability became even more crucial in the post-Covid world. It made sense that marketers turned to the channels that consumers were most likely to see and trust. Payback was also crucial as brands needed to generate immediate sales but also shore up their brand health in the longer term, to withstand any future lockdowns. Simon Wallis from Domino’s summed it up the attitude to marketing during Covid-19: “We used three guiding principles as some kind of compass. First: keep serving our customers and looking after our people. Second: build brand preference and look after our

communities. And third: ensure that the brand comes out of the crisis stronger than it went into it. In other words, take actions today that our team members and customers will remember for a lifetime.”

REACH AND GROWTH One of the most radical shifts Covid-19 instigated was in consumer behaviour, particularly when it comes to purchasing. For many advertisers, a positive benefit of lockdown was a growth in their consumer base as customers either chose, or were forced, to deviate from their usual brand preferences and try something new. The inevitable challenge is how to make those changes stick – or win back the customers that were lost due to the pandemic. This challenge is causing marketers to refresh their thinking around mass reach, their distinctive assets, and light consumers in 2021. Amy Butterworth from Tesco highlighted how things have shifted: “Targeting eally changed from a sub-segment of society to everyone who does a shop – no matter where to be honest – everyone who needs to buy food, so basically the whole population.”

FAST-FORWARD The pace of brand change has been unparalleled since lockdown started. One client described it as “10 years of change in one”. Evolution went into overdrive, leading to many brand initiatives that were previously unimaginable. Ultimately, businesses changed because people changed – and the effects weren’t just limited to advertisers. Innovation was also at the heart of the broadcasters’ agendas. New programme formats, ways of watching and an increased use of rich back catalogues meant that TV stayed relevant for both audiences and advertisers as everyone adjusted to the pandemic way of life. Gayle Noah, from L’Oreal, said: “We’d already started on the ecommerce journey many years ago, but I would say

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TV WAS VIEWED AS A RELIABLE AND EFFECTIVE VEHICLE FOR BUILDING BRAND AWARENESS AND TRUST ON A MASS SCALE that Covid-19 really accelerated our plans by about three years. So within a matter of weeks we had activated a lot more platforms, channels and retailers to start driving ecommerce.”

SIGNALLING All media are not created equal. Different media channels signal different qualities about the brands that advertise on them. The importance of trust, quality and brand strength has been amplified throughout lockdown. These signals are entrenched in TV – and its advertising – and help explain why the medium was so valued throughout the pandemic. TV was viewed as a reliable and effective vehicle for building brand awareness and trust on a mass scale. It was also unique in the way it helped people feel good again due to its ability to harness the power of positive emotion. These attributes were of huge benefit to advertisers throughout lockdown. Chris Ladd from Nationwide said: “I can’t believe there won’t be some long-term benefit from us having market presence in the medium that has always given off a sense of trust and stature.” Nicole Greenfield-Smith is research content lead at Thinkbox, the UK’s marketing body for television. Greenfield-Smith has commissioned, managed and worked across virtually every one of Thinkbox’s research projects – many award-winning – since she joined the company back in 2006. She began her career in media after completing her masters degree in Research Consultancy. She worked for several organisations including Ebiquity, Flextech Television, the BBC and Accenture before landing the role at Thinkbox and finding her spiritual home.

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Major shifts in media Print continues to offer advertisers exposure to a discerning audience and readers a trustworthy source of information, writes JOSEPHINE BUYS. advertising during the initial uncertainty and some long-standing print brands became early casualties. As the founding CEO of the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) prior to joining the PRC, I’m on record with my firm belief that print will not die; it will become niche and extremely valuable (just like vinyl records). I have also championed digital acceleration – and for the publishing sector, the pandemic became a catalyst for exactly that. The PRC produces the biennial Publisher Audience Measurement Survey, which

provides a reading currency to deliver an accurate measure of reading behaviour across multiple platforms. Before the pandemic we had already started seeing the migration of readers from paper to screen. During lockdown we embarked on producing an adspend and activity tracker to study shifts in adspend and consumer behaviour. This showed a massive surge in online readership at the beginning of lockdown, largely due to consumers seeking news on the pandemic and lockdown restrictions. While it levelled out somewhat, theYoY



d Tracker research conducted by the Publisher Research Council (PRC) confirms that lockdowns acted as a catalyst for digital transformation across all media. It’s no secret print suffered in 2020. The sudden initial lockdown brought printing presses and distribution to a halt. Consumers, largely confined to their homes, were unable to buy their favourite reads and print circulations suffered as a result. Advertisers abruptly stopped


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tracker comparing 2019 to 2020 shows that news sites retained 30% more readers online. The PRC’s pioneering FUSION research, which fuses multiple data sets to create more informed and insightful audience measurement research, proves that readers (vs viewers, listeners or glancers), continue to read. They are simply shifting their reading habits online. While we celebrate the sustained migration of readers online, the truth is print now offers unique niche audiences of extremely valuable and loyal readers. People who continue to buy print titles are true brand fans, a select group that otherwise can be difficult for other media to reach. Now more than ever, print offers advertisers a targeted medium aimed at reaching discerning consumers. Print has long been, and continues to be, recognised as a trusted, brand-safe print-ad-printready.pdf print-ad-printready.pdf 1

















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environment for advertisers. In this age of misinformation and disinformation, I believe brand-safe media environments will become a priority for brands with integrity. So, while readers such as me who still enjoy the tactile, uninterrupted experience of our favourite newspaper and magazine titles will continue to buy printed media, others, especially younger people, will continue to build their relationships with their Josephine Buys favourite brands online. With online marketing set to move from cookie-based behavioural targeting to contextual marketing in the privacy age, publishers who have

embraced the creation of excellent content across platforms will not only survive, but thrive as consumers cautiously emerge from lockdown into the next phase. Readers are alive and well. Some are simply transitioning from paper to screen, while a significant number switch between print and digital platforms on a daily basis. This means it’s all about trusted and carefully crafted content, whether consumed in print or online.

Media and marketing pioneer Josephine Buys is CEO of the Publisher Research Council. Her diverse career has placed her at the forefront of embracing media in a variety of industries (and platforms), from publishing and entertainment to agencies and the public sector. Her experience spans sales, marketing, brand development and ecommerce. @jozib_sa

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The resilient print sector: local newspapers

Local newspapers remain an invaluable source of hyper-local content for readers, and thus an invaluable medium for advertisers, writes BRITTA REID.


here is a sector of the newspaper market that deserves attention because its fortunes counter the dominant, doom-laden narrative about the demise of newspapers. Over the past two decades, paid daily and weekend newspapers had a dire time of it: the combined circulation of the 18 top dailies halved and the top 15 weekly titles dropped by more than two-thirds. Then the pandemic struck, curbing mobility, creating fear of contact and hurting pockets. The recent Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC) figures for October to December 2020 starkly reflected this impact on newspaper sales: dailies dropped by 38.1%,

Britta Reid

weekends by 36.1% and weeklies by 45.7% over the previous year. It is a gloomy picture, but it reflects only 22% of the newspaper market based on distribution, according to Robyn Bishop, head of marketing at Spark Media. In the second half of last year, she points out, an average of 4 812 788 local newspapers were still distributed regularly – 3.3 times the number of sold newspapers. Gareth Grant, business unit head at The MediaShop, opines that the good news story around local newspapers gets lost: the sales houses should take the opportunity to “make more of a song and dance about it”.

LOCAL AND FREE NEWSPAPERS – PRUNING AND GROWTH The bulk of local newspapers (97%) are based on the free subscription model, delivered directly to the reader’s home. Publishers have selected the communities they serve based on their economic attractiveness to advertisers, whose funding covers the costs of publishing, printing and distribution.

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Accustomed to recalibrating distribution according to economic development, these publishers responded swiftly to Covid-19, discontinuing some titles, converting some paid titles to free, and amalgamating some titles to ensure that viable areas were still appropriately serviced. Though this pruning reduced overall distribution by some 13%, the total combined circulation of the remaining newspapers was reasonably stable, slipping by only 4.3%. The largest newspaper in the country is now Taxi Times, with an ABC figure of 144 940. It is an anomaly in this category, being distributed free to taxi commuters rather than direct to home.


DISTRIBUTION AND READERSHIP RESEARCH It is this free distribution that some media decision-makers regard with caution. TBWA media manager Anastasia Taylor suggests that this might be the reason these titles are sometimes overlooked. If someone buys a title, they are likely to read it; if they are given one for free, she wonders if the motivation to read it is as strong. Richard Lord, media and operations director at Meta Media, concurs, saying they should be taken “with a pinch of salt”, as it means publishers are “handing out more papers, or adding new papers and areas”. The major industry players have addressed this concern. Caxton has a long history of funding credible research to prove average issue readership of local print titles and provide consumer insights. Kantar conducts the ROOTS study among 27 553 purchase decision-makers in urban areas. Ads24 partnered with Caxton for the 2019 tudy, including 16 additional areas to cover their publications. Bishop makes the point that the success of local newspapers is built on the still-relevant insight that South Africa is not homogenous but made up

of a kaleidoscope of unique and different communities. These publications deliver relevant, hyper-local content that cannot be found anywhere else around service delivery, school news, community, and social and sport events. They act as watchdogs on community issues. Their weekly delivery supports the way people live and shop – week to week.

informative stories, writing understandable ‘news-you-can-use’ articles. Editors in the network of offices connected service organisations and aid schemes with families left destitute and hungry. Local newspapers have continued to provide invaluable support through the varying levels of lockdown.


Referring to ROOTS 2019, Bishop says that even before Covid-19, South African shoppers preferred to shop close to home, ideally travelling not more than 13 minutes for food and groceries. Shoppers also liked to plan their shopping, with 90% doing so – up from 78% in 2013. Kantar’s Covid-19 Barometer testifies to both these habits being amplified during lockdown. A concern with price has been acerbated, with 72% of respondents saying they now pay more attention to it. These observations suggest that local newspapers have a heightened relevance for shoppers going forward.

Grant argues that lockdown gave these local newspapers a new prominence for their fearful and working-from-home readers, who needed information about which businesses were operating and under what trading hours. These readers needed an antidote to fake news and were more comfortable with a delivered publication than a purchased one.

THESE PUBLICATIONS DELIVER RELEVANT, HYPER-LOCAL CONTENT THAT CANNOT BE FOUND ANYWHERE ELSE AROUND SERVICE DELIVERY, SCHOOL NEWS, COMMUNITY, AND SOCIAL AND SPORT EVENTS Local newspapers were also where people turned for support and reassurance: Tasmia Ismail, general manager commercial for Ads24 Media Solutions, cites the reactions of gratitude and relief that readers expressed in response to the PE Express’s headline: “Lockdown: You’re not alone, we’re in it together!”. Irma Green, national group editor for Caxton Local Newspapers, recounts how they instantly had to find the best way to keep their communities informed during lockdown level 5, establishing a national task team to publish to their 57 websites, monitoring what readers were most worried about and turning their questions into

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ADVERTISING ROLE Lord describes community papers as “almost the sole domain of the retail insert”, while Chris Botha, group managing director for Park Advertising, says, “they give advertisers real intensive coverage of a community with a leaflet”. According to Nielsen’s January – December 2020 ad investment reading, local newspapers now take 43% of the newspaper investment vs sold dailies’ 41% and weeklies/weekends’ 16%. However, they currently garner 68.6% of their support from retailers – a category that constitutes 21.61% of total ad investment. Britta Reid spent decades working for media agencies and owners across the fields of insight, strategy, implementation and leadership. Always a devoted mentor, she now relishes the opportunity to share her experience and views with curious media professionals through writing, training and consultation.

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Reimagining magazines With the sector taking strain long before the disruption of the pandemic, magazine publishers have had to get creative in order to survive, and perhaps even thrive, writes SANDRA GORDON.


020 was a ghastly year for the media, particularly the publishing sector. Magazine publishers who reacted quickly and positively to challenges are able to face this year with realism and a dose of optimism. During May 2020 both Caxton Magazines and Associated Media Publishing announced they were closing up shop. In hindsight, it’s a wonder the shake-up in the magazine publishing 46 I T H E M E D I A Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1

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sector waited for 2020, as circulation and advertising revenue had suffered steady declines over the previous five years. The revenue model that had served publishers well was way past its sell-by date, and onerous contracts to publish international glossies at the mercy of volatile exchange rates became nooses around the necks of publishers. Airline magazines were grounded and dozens of smaller niche titles simply drifted away.

2020 is recognised as the year in which the rules of publishing were rewritten, legacy practices were changed and established relationships were disrupted. Embracing technology, reconfiguring distribution channels and creating higher levels of value for readers took publishers out of their lethargy and into a world of collaboration, consumer-centricity, brand consciousness and fresh business models.

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Sandra Gordon


On a decidedly more positive note, during the lockdown South African readers embraced multiple contentreading platforms and the published word now finds itself at the top end of the SEM scale.

NO MORE RUNWAY Minette Ferreira, general manager of lifestyle and news at Media24, is both pragmatic and upbeat about the future as she and her team have been following a strategy of reinvention and repositioning over many years. “Suddenly, in 2020, the runway remaining for our four-to-five-year plan evaporated, forcing dramatic change,” says Ferreira. “The lesson I learned most was always to think forward and not look for excuses not to change when you can see the sands of time running out.” One of Media24’s first tasks was to exit from licensing agreements to publish Hearst titles such as Men’s Health and Runner’s World. Then titles such as Sarie and Fairlady moved to six editions a year, and Tuis and Home to eight; this decision was accompanied by further cover price increases.


ESPECIALLY NOW, WITH COVID-19, AUDIENCES ARE TIRED OF BULL; AUTHENTIC CONTENT THAT FILLS A REAL HUMAN NEED WILL WIN “These moves placed the onus on us to ensure and improve quality,” says Ferreira. “For example, with Fairlady we have upped the number of pages and expanded the content offering; it is easier for consumers to find cash for a luxury purchase every two months.” The overall result has been a 20%+ increase in copy sales since August. Another significant move saw Media24 magazines adopt an outsourced staff model. Editors were offered contracts to

produce magazines based on a fee per edition. Given a budget and the freedom to choose who they want on their team of content creators has meant the company has “a flexible cost base” and dedicated teams who can bring their own ideas to the table and deliver the “huge need for niche-interest content like gardening and crosswords; we are seeing fantastic sales of these stand-alone products”. Of the advertising sales front, Ferreira says: “A small, full-time team handles media agency sales for Huisgenoot/YOU/ DRUM and we expanded the outsource model to travel titles, True Love, Sarie and Tuis/Home. Focus, a vested interest in success and strict performance methods are supported by shared resources like our creative studio. Direct sales now play a big role in revenue. These titles are not classic big agency sales, and selling creative solutions rather than just a page ad is seeing good results.” Clients are offered an array of content and platform opportunities including events, digitorial, advertorial, and television. Advertising sales exceeded expectations in the last quarter of 2020.

AUTHENTIC CONTENT WILL WIN Lani Carstens is group managing director at John Brown Media, part of the dentsu Group. She stays alert to global trends, listing some of the standouts as inter-agency collaboration, increased omnichannel focus and purpose-driven content “backed by proper use of data and insights, and which responds to a human need. Video and podcasts will continue to dominate”. Although Carstens describes the future of magazine publishing as tough, she adds, “Print is not dead: we just launched a new magazine for Old Mutual called Nine Yards, targeting SMEs and entrepreneurs.” While operating under lockdown she kept in close contact with her staff and

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IT’S A WONDER THE SHAKE-UP IN THE MAGAZINE PUBLISHING SECTOR WAITED FOR 2020, AS CIRCULATION AND ADVERTISING REVENUE HAD SUFFERED STEADY DECLINES OVER THE PREVIOUS FIVE YEARS clients such as Pick n Pay, with whom she was in deep discussions to find a solution to “mitigate the significant costs associated with printing half-a-million copies”. They worked on altering the business model, building and launching a Fresh Living website within five days and switching from a free monthly (for Smart Shoppers) to a paid-for quarterly with a print order of 50 000. Following an omnichannel model, Fresh Living is now available in print (currently selling 38 000 copies per issue) and the full magazine can be downloaded for free. It also suits advertisers, who can reach Fresh Living readers in print, online, on social channels and in-store. Carstens busied herself further with the launch of a cooking channel, Just Cook at Home SA with Justine Drake. Despite many challenges, Carstens describes 2020 as a good year. “We collaborated with our sister agencies within dentsu and have fortunately won significant new business in the digital content space. Especially now, with Covid-19, audiences are tired of bull; authentic content that fills a real human need will win.” Sandra Gordon is CEO of Stone Soup South Africa. Founded in 2002, the company is 100% women-owned and managed boutique agency, specialising in bespoke public relations strategies and plans, communications, reputation management and events. Gordon was the founder of The Media magazine and The Media Online, before selling the publishing company, Wag the Dog Publishers, to Arena Holdings in 2019.

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Doubling down on digital

From the ashes of last year’s across-the-board disruption arose an opportunity for digital news publishers to shine, writes RIAAN WOLMARANS.

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Riaan Wolmarans



year ago, in January 2020, South African news websites were reporting on the new coronavirus outbreak in China – of interest, but not all that dramatic for a country down at the southern tip of Africa. Little did anyone know how quickly, and how badly, Covid-19 would disrupt our news industry. Less than three months later, the country entered a full lockdown. News publishers scrambled to ensure staff could work from home, and that reporters and editors had the right paperwork to carry on as essential workers. At Arena Holdings, the immediate effects included not being able to print our magazines, including Financial Mail. Newspaper printing continued, but distribution and sales became a nightmare. Retail outlets were closed, distribution routes became unviable and readers who routinely bought newspapers were confined to their homes, instantly breaking that habit. Customer support suffered when our external call centre shut down. We made quick technical changes to ease access to our e-editions (PDF replicas of our print editions) and marketed these online to our readers. Take-up was healthy but shady characters started distributing these for free on WhatsApp, so we had to prevent the printing and copying of e-edition pages.

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Most calamitously, though, advertising revenue – especially in print, which accounts for the bulk of news publisher revenue in this regard – disappeared overnight as advertisers faced the disruption of their own industries. This sparked urgent internal cost cutting at news publishers to protect cash flow, including cuts to salaries and retrenchments. Digital ad revenue also collapsed, but in many aspects seemed to have recovered by year-end, while print still bore the wounds of diminished circulation and revenue losses.


A VOTE OF CONFIDENCE Yet all was not doom and gloom. Most publishers’ website publishing systems already allowed staff to work from anywhere, so work was not interrupted. Record numbers of readers flocked to our websites to consume verified, reliable information about the crisis. At Arena, we interpreted this as a vote of confidence in the trustworthiness of our titles and the technical reliability of our websites, including TimesLIVE, SowetanLIVE and BusinessLIVE. Even though we made our coronavirus coverage free to read, our lockdown subscription special proved popular amid rising public acceptance of having to pay for quality online news (a trend boosted by recent paywall roll-outs at the Citizen and News24, and the Daily Maverick’s voluntary support model). Digital subscription revenue is a core focus at Arena Holdings. It is a sustainable way to keep our titles from failing as many others have in the past year, especially in the devastated local magazine industry. To sustain the spike in subscriptions from March onwards, we had to improve internal processes more rapidly than expected. This included our technical subscription systems, and our ability to analyse data gathered on our websites and use the results of this to grow our subscriber base.

So what lies ahead for digital publishing in 2021? We will keep making the most of the success of our websites in the past year in terms of both general readership and digital subscriptions. Three of our main focus areas, which should also ring true for other subscription-driven news publishers, are as follows.

QUALITY – CONTENT AND TECHNOLOGY We have to keep improving the speed and quality of our reporting to retain our more than 10 million digital readers per month, to entice them to use our websites often and for longer periods, and, most importantly, to convert some of them into paying subscribers. This is not an easy task given how newsroom resources have dwindled, but it is made easier by our ever-evolving in-house digital publishing systems, and by adapting our newsroom planning systems and workflows to the demands of the digital era.

ANY WEBSITE DEVELOPMENT MUST PRIORITISE EASE OF CONSUMPTION ON PHONES AND TABLETS, AS SHOULD THE WAY WE PRESENT AND PUBLISH OUR CONTENT We also keep innovating and improving our technology – often via strategic partnerships with external partners – to make the consumption of digital news, as well as central processes such as signing in or subscribing, as seamless as possible for our readers.

DATA AND SUBSCRIPTIONS Within the constraints of privacy legislation, we now gather more data about the behaviour of our digital readers and subscribers than ever before. This goes much deeper than simply knowing how many readers visit our websites or which articles they read. We must

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understand how the combination of our technology and quality content can convert a reader into a subscriber, how to identify potential subscribers and make them an enticing and well-timed subscription offer, and how to ensure existing subscribers do not cancel. All of this data requires careful but speedy real-time collation and interpretation to be presented to editors, reporters, management, the circulation team, marketing and more, so they can make informed decisions. We have a data team focused solely on developing our efforts in this area, which is the backbone of our digital subscription strategy.

MOBILE FIRST As expected, more of the country’s news consumers accessed our websites only via their mobile devices during lockdown. On TimesLIVE, that spiked as high as 90% of our audience. News publishers have to think mobile first at all times. Any website development must prioritise ease of consumption on phones and tablets, as should the way we present and publish our content. Fast and reliable apps are a cornerstone of any mobile publishing strategy, and competition in the local news app market is hotting up: the newly updated Business Day app has more than doubled its readership in just two months, for example. In summary, though the first year of the pandemic brought much tragedy and disruption, it also created an unexpected but welcome opportunity for our digital news industry to shine. The challenge in the next 12 months will be to hold on to those gains and turn them into muchneeded revenue.

Riaan Wolmarans is head of digital: media at Arena Africa. He is an experienced editor and manager with skills in digital publishing, website management and production.

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Martech and adtech are increasingly essential driving forces in achieving business objectives, writes JOE STEYN-BEGLEY.


ow, more than ever, there is a clear demand for responsible and accountable spending on advertising, with insightful and attributable reporting. Rapid digital transformation has spurred the desire to invest heavily in martech and adtech – but to what extent and in which order of priority need to be defined clearly. Looking back, it is safe to say that programmatic adoption in South Africa has boomed over the past few years. Although implementation is now arguably on par with our European counterparts, the initial resistance to early adoption and lack of immediate interest from the C-suite have resulted in a potential negative longer-term impact.

Joe Steyn-Begley

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DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION CHALLENGES Understanding martech deployment: The challenges faced include cost involved (with Covid-19 pressure now applied) and a clear understanding of the most relevant adoption approach. Decision-makers: The decision to invest in technologies such as a robust customer data platform is often made at executive level with less input from the individuals who would essentially utilise these technologies, and thus could potentially guide far better implementation and functionality. Data accessibility: With the muchdiscussed and deliberated looming sunset of customer tracking through third-party cookies, as well as increasing pressure to become compliant, a cohesive strategy that facilitates cross-channel customer interaction will now only be possible with a CDP or similar tool that allows you to centralise your audience strategy.

MARTECH OPPORTUNITIES Receptiveness to progressive solutions: Extreme changes in consumer behaviour have encouraged decision-makers to fast track the adoption of new technologies that can revive and ultimately safeguard their businesses from future pitfalls. Technologies such as media measurement and marketing intelligence tools and the insights they provide can answer many of the questions businesses face today. Advisory services: Most leading organisations have turned to consultancies

and advisories to guide their investment strategies, optimise their marketing and advertising activities, and improve their overall customer experience. These advisories, like Carbon1, can evaluate and assemble the right technology and people, identify gaps, and streamline the management of data accessibility, defining the path to achieving ambitious business and marketing objectives. Tangible results: By deploying the most suitable martech solutions, organisations can gain an extremely in-depth understanding of their clients. By leveraging multiple data points captured during the normal course of customer interactions, they can create advanced marketing and advertising strategies that give them a previously unobtainable level of influence over each individual shopper’s path to purchase. Executing strategy adjustments informed by these insights is critical when looking to implement fundamental changes for the better, increase ROI and maintain a healthy ecosystem of customer information.


Smarter, more targeted advertising

After spending over 15 years in the trenches of digital marketing, leading multiple teams to achieving recordbreaking revenue figures, winning numerous awards and playing a pivotal role in a number of highly successful mergers and acquisitions, Joe Steyn-Begley has recently spearheaded the launch of Carbon1 out of renowned digital specialist Mark1.

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The dichotomy of digital in 2021: an industry galvanised by Covid-19 The stakeholders in the digital marketing ecosystem need to pull together to face its challenges and capitalise on opportunities, writes PAULA HULLEY.



ith more than 346 million new internet users coming online globally, 2020 opened up the digital gates – including access, interactivity, and engagement. This phenomenal growth resulted in the equivalent of 10 years’ innovation in a mere six months. Local publishers saw a surge in monthly traffic, with News24, Fin24, the Citizen and Business Insider showing a month-on-month increase of more than 50% in unique browsers over the height of lockdown as we searched for credible updates in real-time online. This was combined with radical bursts of a global, collective energy that saw historical structures and ideologies being re-evaluated and recalibrated, redefining almost everything we know, even if we cannot fully articulate these monumental changes just yet. Our industry has been faced with equally significant challenges, and as the obstacles (and opportunities) of last year still hang in the air of this one like a thick fog, we find ourselves asking myriad questions about the nature of our businesses and personal lives: Do we move our business

Paula Hulley

completely online or keep our physical space as our primary customer touchpoint? Do we bring all our staff back to HQ or remain a predominantly work-from-home business? Do we stop using third-party data completely and move it all to

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first-party? Do I keep my career path linear or do I specialise and branch out into an expertise-driven field? In my experience, and as we build the bridge to better fortunes out of the year that was, the answer is in fact to choose both. T H E M E D I A Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1 I 53

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THIS IS NOT THE YEAR TO GO IT ALONE. MORE SO THAN IN ANY YEAR IN RECENT MEMORY, 2021 IS A TIME WHEN THE ENTIRE ECOSYSTEM – PUBLISHERS, AD TECH, AGENCIES, AND BRANDS – MUST COME TOGETHER TO MAKE SENSE OF IT ALL NAVIGATING DISRUPTIONS Some of the most notable disruptions from the IAB Global Brand Disruption Report that we can expect to navigate locally in the year ahead include: 1. The fastest-growing brands of 2021 will be store-less, data-rich, live, participatory, entertaining, localised and streaming. 2. Small brands will continue to gain market share. All the trends in production, distribution, retailing, and marketing make small brands more competitive against large brands. That said, big brands’ scale, recognition and trust still give them significant advantages. 3. You cannot delay gratification. With Walmart and Amazon competing to make two-hour delivery the norm 54 I T H E M E D I A Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1

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in major markets globally, delivery partnerships for rapid fulfilment are now essential for all brands. In what ways will this play out in South Africa in the year ahead? 4. How do I engage thee? Let me count the ways. While the goal of marketing remains ‘create a customer’, the way to do so is through participation via ongoing communities, social selling, live virtual events, classes and other forms of active involvement in the brand – tactics that will experience hyper growth as Covid-19 propels them into the mainstream. 5. Make it streamable, make it shoppable, and make it fast. Media advertising will increasingly focus on driving participation in live events. Successful publishers, brands and experience providers will partner to create live experiences and enable shopping directly. The growth of free, ad-supported, streaming TV will boost the usage of shoppable media. 6. Brands must be data companies that make things, not the other way around. Consumer-facing companies cannot remain competitive without growing their first-party relationships and first-party data.

LET CHANGE BRING US TOGETHER “Change will happen at a dizzying pace, and it will be happening everywhere at once – from privacy and policy decisions to addressability and attribution across every imaginable device, to the convergence of video and commerce in consumers’ living rooms, to an unstoppable drive for diversity across the industry,” continues Cohen. “This is not the year to go it alone. More so than in any year in recent memory, 2021 is a time when the entire ecosystem – publishers, ad tech, agencies, and brands – must come together to make sense of it all.” At the IAB we call this the ‘big tent’, with our membership crossing

WE NEED TO REMIND THE WORLD OF ALL THAT THE AD-SUPPORTED INTERNET HAS PROVIDED – AND CONTINUES TO PROVIDE all marketing, media, platforms, ad technology and marketing technology segments to identify relevant growth opportunities and deliver cross-purpose solutions. Whether solving for brand safety, viewability or benchmarking online ad spend in South Africa, it is the uniting of all the various industry stakeholders that enables the IAB to empower the media and marketing industries to thrive in a digital economy. “We must reset our commitment to working together as an ecosystem,” says Cohen. “We must park our egos and our pride of ownership at the door and pull together. The most challenging industry problems we face – crossscreen measurement; identity resolution; balancing privacy, personalisation and safety; and more – won’t improve unless we all work together. Ready or not, 2021 is here. When the industry looks back at this moment in 10 or 20 years, we won’t remember what ended; instead, we’ll remember what started. This is our moment. What we make of it is up to us.” Sources: DataReportal, July 2020; ITU, 2019 IAB 2020 Global Brand Disruption Report


As Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Global CEO David Cohen so aptly puts it, “Our ability to meet the very large changes ahead depends on how much we are willing to rise to the occasion. We can’t shrug and go back to business as usual. As an industry, we must reset our mindset. We need to remind the world of all that the ad-supported internet has provided – and continues to provide. The endless drumbeat of negativity about tracking, privacy, fraud and fears of Big Tech will continue in 2021. When naysayers shout, ‘What good is digital?’ the answer is: plenty. The free and open web that helped us all get through 2020 is indispensable.”

Paula Hulley joined the IAB SA as CEO on 1 July 2018, with more than 15 years of experience in building brands and consumer-engaging experiences. She joined digital agency Gloo in its first year of inception, going on to become MD of the Cape Town office and then MD of the integrated business, Gloo@Ogilvy, post the merger with Ogilvy in 2015. Hulley then became head of innovation and digital for Ogilvy Cape Town.

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Embracing the coddiwomple

With the future an uncertain destination, Relativ Media finds purpose in the journey.


oddiwomple: “To travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.” The past 12 months have brought with them a sequence of unexpected challenges to both business and families alike, teaching us several crucial life lessons. Change is inevitable and comes with myriad scary unknowns, but it also delivers opportunity for those who embrace the challenge of their immediate surroundings and circumstances in order to focus on the road ahead, adjusting course as needed along the way. The media industry has always craved collaboration, innovation, knowledge sharing and partnerships that are trusted, even more so through Covid-19. In the past we were all so busy responding to either client or agency – to achieve more reach with less budget, more innovation with no time, more digital with no creative – that we didn’t often give ourselves the space as an industry to find ways to do the undoable. Relativ Media identified with these needs and created a space for real engagement among industry experts, opening their virtual doors to the industry through The ‘Relativ Room’, a bimonthly platform for all agencies and client partners to debate hot topics, stress points and potential obstacles faced by the industry. 56 I T H E M E D I A Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1

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Through collaboration and an opening up of communication for all to have a voice, not only are we learning from each other, but we are also sparking those passion points again. Is programmatic DOOH going to be a hit or miss? What process do clients follow when deciding to select one vendor over another? Are shoppers still identifying with brands through ecommerce vs bricks and mortar engagement? Are media agencies collaborating within their teams and driving the best results for clients through truly integrated strategies across all channels?

WE HAVE GEARED OURSELVES FOR THE MOST PERSONAL AND TARGETED CONSUMER JOURNEY PLACEMENT WE HAVE EVER HAD With the recent mobility reports showing an over-performance of 8% on the norm of baseline residential traffic and only a -4% on workplace traffic, we can identify that the way traffic is moving has changed somewhat; however, the levels are very similar to those shortly before our first lockdown. Relativ Media has used

this past year to not only rebase and rethink but also expand. With bigger and bolder iconics on highways, the rights to Uber South Africa, and a growing network of super regional and regional malls across the country, Relativ Media can now assist brands with shopper engagement en route and through to point of purchase. We feel that investing in data through ROAD and Broadsign, while expanding our DOOH offering in key locations, has been pivotal in the immediate industry need, and the results from OMC speak for themselves. We have geared ourselves for the most personal and targeted consumer journey placement we have ever had. Growth is possible when you have the right people and are willing to learn from each other, supporting each other from start to finish. And who’s to say things should go back to the way things were? Dropping the barriers in the boardrooms, asking all the ‘silly’ questions, learning from each other – it’s all completely possible now that we have merged the human experience with our newfound digital availability. So, while the initial destination of choice might not have been reached and the coddiwomple continues, we can only speak to where we are and learn from where we’ve been.

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How Covid-19 led an outdoor media owner to look inwards

As what goes up must come down, people indoors will come out again, and out of home media will be waiting for them, says SIMON WALL.

Simon Wall


hat becomes of a category built on selling audiences when there is no audience? When billboards that once proudly proclaimed brand messages, gleaming in the sunlight on roadsides, no longer have commuters to communicate to? When consumers are told to stay at home – yet as the name suggests, the very nature of your industry relies on consumers being out of their homes? Like so many industries that are reliant on the inherently social nature of human beings, when lockdown was announced last year, our entire sector was forced to rethink how we did business. Tractor Outdoor celebrates its 20th anniversary this year, and I’m proud to say that coming from the most difficult year we’ve ever faced, we’ve grown up as a business. Not only have we proven our mettle, but we’ve also seen our priorities shift along with the goalposts as it becomes clear what is truly important.


Over the past few months it was exciting to see a rising spirit of collaboration, as media owners came together as a community, rather than as competitors.

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In 2020, we launched the Tractor Outdoor SME Advertising Fund, with the intention of supporting businesses that were hardest hit by the pandemic, also providing SMEs with free advertising via our media network in an effort to help them survive lockdown.

THE ACCELERATION OF DIGITAL HAS ALLOWED DOOH TO DEMONSTRATE ITS MASSIVE POTENTIAL AND THE BENEFITS IT OFFERS TO BRANDS BY ALLOWING FOR REFINED TARGETING WITHIN A HIGH-REACH, HIGH- FREQUENCY MEDIUM Jared Osmond of King James Cape Town summed it up perfectly when he said, “Clients want to be top of mind when times are good, they need to be top of mind when times are bad.” We were fortunate in that our business remained in a solid position, and we felt that it was our duty to help other businesses that needed support, using the resources at our disposal. The initiative was well received, and we’ll build on this in the year ahead. As we celebrate two decades in business, we’ve committed to helping another 20 SMEs in 2021, in the hope that they too will someday celebrate their 20th anniversary. When lockdown was first announced, we committed to keeping every staff member on payroll. However, the expectation was that employees would treat everyone on their own ‘personal payroll’ the same: domestic workers, gardeners and so on would continue to

THE FUTURE OF OUTDOOR Outdoor media is resilient. We’ve seen it with past crises such as World War II and the Great Depression: once the threat lifts, people come out in their droves. As an industry we’re well positioned to ride out the storm, and those businesses that survive will bounce back stronger and with the resilience to navigate future challenges. While 2020 was tough and it will be a while longer until things start to improve, the Queen of England’s words – illuminated on outdoor media at Piccadilly Circus, one of the most iconic outdoor locations of all time – continue to resonate: “We will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again.” With a career spanning almost two decades and multiple continents, Simon Wall is CEO and a founding shareholder of Tractor Outdoor – one of the largest independent media owners in South Africa, specialising in connecting brands to consumers through its network of OOH and DOOH inventory. He has a degree in marketing from the University of Cape Town.

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No 2020 reflection would be complete without a nod to the increasingly important role that digital plays in a new, low-contact world. How does this look in the world of outdoor media? Innovation in the sphere of digital out of home (DOOH) media, of course. Programmatic buying is a well-known concept internationally, but less so in South Africa. The acceleration of digital has allowed DOOH to demonstrate its massive potential and the benefits it offers to brands by allowing for refined targeting within a high-reach, high-frequency medium. We’re one of the first to offer a programmatic approach to DOOH buying, enabling a marketer to bid against other competing businesses for the same target audience – effectively buying impressions on a cost per thousand basis via an advertising exchange. And this is only the tip of the iceberg; I expect to see a lot more innovation in this space in future. We also recently became the first specialist OOH media owner to join the Interactive Advertising Bureau South Africa, a move that demonstrates an increasing ‘blurring’ between the offline and online world. Will the classic billboard become a Covid-19 casualty? While traditional OOH may have taken a knock, there’s still a crucial place for it in a post-pandemic world.


be paid in full, as they too have their own families to provide for. We recognised the importance of protecting our ecosystem, and we knew that in order for our broader community to survive, we needed to do our part. The SME campaign also became a pivotal or ‘trigger’ moment for us, which led to a shift in our entire approach to business. We’re now in the process of obtaining our B Corporation 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, as we recognise our potential to create ripples of change that will positively impact the social and environmental fabric of our country.



There is nothing quite like a larger-than-life billboard in an iconic, high-traffic location – and I don’t expect we’ll say goodbye to it any time soon.


The industry realised that in order to survive, we needed to work together to find creative solutions to the challenges we faced. We’re all too familiar with the ‘We’re in this together’ messaging that’s been brandished across every medium known to man, and while its repetition may have rendered it a platitude, the sentiment is true for our industry. Partnerships between operators, smaller suppliers, media owners and clients were born – a silver lining that saw us come together to ensure the survival of our category, which will continue long after the virus has left us.


Bouncing back… A positive forecast for OOH BEN MILNE takes a look at PSI owner dentsu’s new forecast for ad spend in 2021. The good news is that with the predicted recovery of auto and passenger traffic, the global OOH market is forecast to grow at 14.9%.




lobal advertising investment is forecast to grow by 5.8% globally in 2021, according to the first dentsu Ad Spend Report since the global pandemic began. The report combines data from 59 markets and anticipates that $579-billion will be spent globally, with all regions enjoying positive growth to offset a fall of 8.8% in 2020. Western Europe (7.5%), Asia-Pacific (5.9%) and North America (4.0%) will see particularly strong growth figures, which will be driven by increasing investment in key countries such as India (10.8%), the United Kingdom (10.4%) and France (8.9%).

Ben Milne

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FOR OOH TO CAPTURE THE SPEND GROWTH FORECAST FULLY IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE SECTOR CONTINUES TO INVEST IN UNDERSTANDING CONSUMERS’ CHANGING RELATIONSHIPS WITH THE MEDIUM Industry sectors that have been impacted the hardest by Covid-19 will also see the biggest bounce-backs. Based on analysis in eight markets, the travel and transport (28.4%), media and entertainment (14.5%), and automotive (13.8%) sectors will all grow significantly after being hit hard by the pandemic. There will also be consistent levels of growth for sectors such as technology (6.0%), finance (5.6%) and telecoms (4.8%), which all proved relatively resilient in 2020. 60 I T H E M E D I A Y E A R B O O K 2 0 2 1

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SO WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR OOH? With restrictions on social activity, OOH media was disproportionately impacted by the crisis. The good news is that with the predicted recovery of auto and passenger traffic, the global OOH market is forecast to grow at 14.9%, the fastest-growing media channel (except cinema). It is expected to recover 50% of the loss suffered through the pandemic by the end of 2021, taking spend in the OOH market to around 88% of the levels seen in 2019 and putting it on course for a full recovery to pre-pandemic levels by the end of 2023. Looking at regional variations in the forecast, a clear pattern emerges: regions hardest hit in 2020, such as Latin America (growth rate of -42.6% in 2020 vs 2019), are forecast to grow at faster rates in 2021 (51% growth forecast in the case of Latin America) than those who were less impacted like Asia-Pacific (-15.9% in 2020 vs 2019), which is forecast to grow 8.2% in 2021. A more important signal of recovery is the speed at which each region can get back to pre-pandemic levels of spend. Examining the situation through this lens, we can see that all regions of the world will recover to around 88% of 2019 levels in 2021, with the exception of Europe, which will take longer to recover, reaching 83% of 2019 levels, and Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa, which are all forecast to recover more quickly to more than 90% of 2019 spend levels this year.

A V-SHAPED RECOVERY Covid-19 has presented our industry and the world at large with unique and unprecedented challenges that will no doubt leave a lasting legacy. It has accelerated the pace of change and the ongoing digital transformation across our industry and society at large. OOH will experience a relatively V-shaped recovery, which serves to demonstrate the strong fundamentals

and resilience of the medium. Growth is forecast to be driven by digital OOH, which continues to evolve quickly, both in terms of offer (including programmatic capabilities) and demand (advertisers’ use of this medium). While a return to growth will be welcomed all round, the road to recovery for marketers should be supported by investments in ways that will put consumer intelligence at the heart of their business strategies. We know from our own CMO survey that understanding consumer behaviour in a post-pandemic world is the biggest challenge marketers face. For OOH to capture the spend growth forecast fully it is imperative that the sector continues to invest in understanding consumers’ changing relationships with the medium. What will be the impact of new travel and work patterns that emerge in 2021? What is the balance between urban and sub-urban impressions and impact in a world where people live more locally? Which of the observed changes are temporary and which will persist? Helping brands and marketers navigate the impact of these changes to OOH, along with giving them confidence in audiences returning to our medium (supported by data), will ensure our channel not only remains relevant in 2021 and beyond, but is also better positioned than before. Full dentsu Ad Spend Report January 2021.

Ben Milne is managing director of Posterscope’s international division, PSI. He has worked for Posterscope for the last 20 years in various planning, strategy, innovation and leadership roles across the UK, Russia, China and recently Japan, where working alongside the dentsu Inc. OOH division he established Posterscope in Japan. The World Out of Home Organization is the only global Out of Home Association, working to promote and improve the OOH industry on behalf of its members.

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The accelerated shift to digital that advertisers made in response to the significant restrictions placed on people’s lives through lockdowns will also endure. Digital will account for half of all spend for the first time, with social (18.3%), search (11.0%) and video (10.8%) expected to benefit the most. Meanwhile, the return of major sporting events that were delayed last year such as the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, and UEFA European Football Championships will also represent a significant driver of growth. TV is set to benefit in particular from these live events as advertisers look to capitalise on the huge global audiences they draw. However, with continued travel restrictions likely, the growth opportunity that these events normally represent for out of home (OOH) is likely to be lower than previously expected.



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