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A World of Changes in the South African Media Landscape

A World of Changes in the South African Media Landscape

Ashish Williams




Consumer confidence has improved in the last 3 years, spending power has increased, and for the first time in a long time, consumer savings ratio is in positive territory.

The South African consumer is confident and change in lifestyle needs are matched by shifting expectations. Meanwhile, digital media is the fastest growing medium in the country; the correlation to consumer confidence is clear.

There are myriad factors that influence the media landscape in South Africa. But three prominent developments crucial to understanding change; the great shift towards digital integration, the importance of quality content and the correlation to engagement, and the growing need for brand safety practices.

The shifting landscape - by 2019, South Africa’s internet market will more than double to R76.2 billion. 

New mediums including video-on- demand platforms and the video gaming industry are growing rapidly and generating a lot of excitement. This is starting to revolutionise how people consume content and will force content distributors to devise more technology-led distribution methods, and most importantly new revenue models in the next few years.

Digital media consumption and integration is easier to measure than more traditional forms of media and content creators and distributors will leverage this data to build consumer journeys that give individualized holistic views of the new consumer across traditional and new media.

Reaching the “new” connected consumer requires quality content, advanced technology, and digital expertise to unlock new revenues, especially from digital media platforms

The interaction revolution between media and the consumer stems from new technologies including data management platforms, advertising exchanges, and real-time programmatic technologies. There is also increasing complexity in how digital consumers are reached. Due

to media and device fragmentation, the challenge is immense in making the right business decisions regarding efficient spend in effectively segmenting digital consumers by their engagement levels.

Media activities are often non- consecutive. The widespread nature of simultaneous media consumption means that the vast majority of internet users go online while they watch television; few media activities occur in isolation.

Effective segmentation requires insight into the consumer journey. Without experienced specialists who understand the changing dynamics of mass communication and how digital integration has altered the new media landscape, we may not effectively target consumers. We need to invest in digital tools that measure consumer behaviour, triggers, and consumption patterns. The trick will be to find the right consumer at the right place by deploying the right content and allow content to drive ROI.

Engagement alone should never be a key performance indicator, loyalty and trust in a brand built through content will ultimately define success

We simply can no longer ignore the significance of digital, and the need for engaging content. Since 2012, mobile internet usage has increased from 28 percent to 39 percent, or approximately 3h15min per day. With a steady growth in mobile usage, it is critical to deliver content in a variety of different formats and across all of the different platforms while understanding the attention span on these platforms.

Creating effective, agile, non-fatiguing content that engages audiences is key as audiences are more discerning. New content creation models must be considered as old models have become insufficiently slow. Brands must deliver content more frequently and optimized based on best data practices.

Analytics and data leadership can be a competitive advantage and

will become the heart of everything we do in creating consistent and measurable data points, while asking the right questions and defining clear measurement benchmarks. Establishing best in class reporting techniques for smart interpretation is crucial to ensure that all business challenges can be answered.

A Closer Look at Brand Safety and Reputation Risk

Going hand-in-hand with data leadership is brand safety. In a digital world where sharing is inevitable, brands are increasingly at a higher risk for reputational damage than ever before. Brands need to carefully consider how to manage their reputation. This is where brand safety and placement plays a crucial role in ensuring reputational risk is minimised. Ignoring brand safety can cause irreparable damage that can take years to overcome.

Online privacy concerns for South African consumers are above the global averages. 70 percent of online users are concerned about how companies are using their personal data, compared to the global average of 62 percent. Brand advertisers must become fully committed to brand safety in order to enable our clients to place digital advertising where it has a real opportunity to

be seen by the right target audience and in an appropriate editorial environment.

Every business must prioritise and align investment in technology and people to provide a viewable, fraud- free, targeted and brand safe digital advertising environment. Whilst there can never be a guarantee of 100 percent contextual brand safety, within this ever-changing media landscape we need to ensure that we get it right. We must be drivers of continuous improvement in brand safety best practices.

Holistic Integration

We can no longer afford to think in silos. The numerous factors that influence the media landscape in South Africa can’t be addressed in isolation. Everything is connected and innovation and transformation in this industry comes with great responsibility that translates into acknowledging consumer concerns about data safety and privacy as digitisation and multi-screen accessibility adds layer after layer to the once ‘traditional’ media landscape.

When we analyse these three changes affecting our future, we must recognize that these elements are inextricably linked and therefore business efforts must be coordinated in accordance.