Signs of Life or Back to Square One?

Nobody with any real commitment to the media industry in Mzansi has truly enjoyed watching the meltdown at the SABC. The SABC serves an important market sector and we need the commercial arm to be firing on all cylinders. OK. Given the recent developments at Akward Park , perhaps “firing” is an unfortunate turn of phrase. But you understand what I’m saying.
Well, you can imagine my excitement when the first signs of commercial life came this week in the form of guaranteed audience packages for October. In short “SABC Television will guarantee a specific CPP against a pre-determined target market”. There are a few advertisers who have operated on a guaranteed audience/ CPP basis for a while but the broader application of this buying approach signals at least some awareness within the halls of SABC commercial management, that the old “take it or leave approach” to inventory management is over.
There are three packages …
Package 1 (LSM 5-8): R500,000 guarantees TVRS and CPPS as follows:
• 321 TVRS @ R1,558 against all dayparts
• 199 TVRS @ R2,513 against primetime
• 504 TVRS @ R992 against shoulder time
Package 2 (LSM 7-10): R500,000 guarantees TVRS and CPPS as follows:
• 234 TVRS @ R2,136 against all dayparts
• 138 TVRS @ R3,628 against primetime
• 330 TVRS @ R1,514 against shoulder time
Package 3 (LSM 8-10): R500,000 guarantees TVRS and CPPS as follows:
• 156 TVRS @ R3,214 against all dayparts
• 128 TVRS @ R3,914 against primetime
• 197 TVRS @ R2,534 against shoulder time
OK so far so good. Obviously advertisers will have to check these CPP levels against projected levels for conventional SABC discounted buys (because negotiated discounts don’t apply on top of these CPP parameters) but it’s a step in the right direction. Right?
I thought so too until I checked the small print.
Terms and conditions include the fact that “contracts exclude the ability to choose specific environments”, which in this day and age is no small point. After all, viewers call environments programmes and programmes are what they choose to watch or nor watch. I’ve never heard any TV viewers talking about their favourite dayparts.
And of course another relevant fact is that “in the event of SABC TV failing to reach the objectives of the contract for any reason whatsoever, any claim by the advertiser against SABC TV shall be limited to a rebate as prescribed by the advertising code and regulations”. So in other words, if the SABC totally under-delivers and the campaign doesn’t work, the advertiser will get back only the under-delivered portion of the investment. No small consideration.
Even these clauses advertisers can live with. They are, after all, not dissimilar to the clauses governing OATS packages on DSTV.
The one clause that, sadly, leads me to the conclusion that Fawlty Towers has not really come to terms with its loss of status in the market is that these packages only apply “when a terrestrial or complete television exclusivity commitment is signed”. Say what? SABC exclusivity when you are talking to LSM 8-10?
I can’t even think of an animal on National Geographic or Discovery Channel that can bury its head deeper than that.

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