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  • khulumamedia 5:24 pm on March 23, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    It’s the end of Media Planning as we know it … and you can blame Aki Anastasiou 

    I’ve been thinking really hard about whether to update my book Media Planning – Art or Science? But if I do update it, what should I call it?
    The problem centres on an internal dialogue about whether the term Media Planning still has any meaning. In fact, I wonder whether media planning has an effective role to play in advertising and communication anymore and whether we aren’t training people for a job that will most certainly not exist beyond the Groot Digital Migration. Mind you, at the pace at which Minister Muthambi is moving, I’ll probably have ceased to exist myself. I mean the last Groot Migration took place in ox-waggons but even they were moving at a faster pace than our Faith, despite the fact that they stopped for a braai every night.
    Now the demise of media planning would create a significant problem for me because my Twitter handle @Mzansimedia describes me as “Africa’s oldest surviving media planner” not Africa’s oldest surviving unemployed media planner. And we all know how important Twitter is because if you can Tweet it you can write it! I mean at this stage I have posted 3480 Tweets. That’s 487,200 characters. At an average 10 characters per word, that is 48,720 words. OK, make that 20 characters because of grammatical interference and the fact that these days we have to accommodate big words like programmatic and optimization, which makes 24,360 words. That’s two chapters right there.
    But I digress. The point is that if Media Planning doesn’t exist, what should l call my book?
    Stumped for meaningful solutions I took myself off to listen to the self-styled Geek God Aki Anastasiou address AMASA on the recent global CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas. Really fascinating! But as I went from one OMG insight to another, from holograms to self-driving cars, it occurred to me that to leave that forum and commence writing a book which had a separate chapter on Cinema and another on Television, separate chapters on Newspapers and Magazines, and even separate chapters on Radio and Mobile, would be the unthinking act of a supreme Luddite.
    The problem with Media Planning is it implies the place to commence the process, the solution to the communication challenge, is the medium itself. Get the right balance of reach and frequency, add all the media numbers together and you get a result. It’s essentially a throwback to that old chestnut from Marshall McLuhan … The Medium is the Message. If the medium is the indeed the message then the answer must be to just get more media exposure. Preferably for less money of course.
    In a world where media distribution is ubiquitous however, we are increasingly coming to understand that …
    The Message is the Message and that The Message is Content.
    Increasingly the role of the former media planner is to map out the optimal distribution of content across media platforms, whether intuitively or through programmatic planning, not just to maximise the total number of people exposed to the campaign but in order to maximise the relevance and impact of content delivery at each and every point of contact with the consumer.
    When we look at it from this perspective, we realise that classifying newspapers and magazines, or cinema and television, as separate media channels is an obsolete way of planning. We need to look at this from the consumer’s perspective. Some consumers read (call them reader imperatives). Some consumers listen (listening imperatives). And some consumers are watching imperatives. But the vast majority of consumers do everything. They read. They watch. They listen. They interact.
    As planners we need to analyse the consumers content preferences and the media behaviour they exhibit in order to access their priority content. This allows us to break down the media silos that keep our strategic thinking mired in the past and to overcome the challenges of fusing digital and traditional media in any campaign.

    media planning to content mappingIf I am listening, does it make any difference whether I “listen” on a radio or on my mobile phone? If I am a “reader”, with a specific content interest in the news, does it make a difference whether I read the news in a printed newspaper or a digital edition on my computer? It is not the fact that the source of my news is newsprint or the App on my mobile phone that is significant, it is the content itself. And the commercial content placement opportunity that this knowledge creates. Of course new technology allows me to go beyond consuming content and to actually create content. I don’t just read, watch and listen to the news. I have the power to create news. With UGC I am the news.
    The mobile phone is merely a delivery mechanism which facilitates my reading … or my listening … or my watching. It isn’t a separate medium. That’s why there should no more be a chapter in my new book on digital than there should be a chapter on electricity.
    When I rewrite my book there won’t be a chapter on radio. There’ll be a chapter on Listening. No chapter on newspapers. But a chapter on Reading and within that chapter, sections on newspapers, magazines, the internet and mobile. No television chapter but the book will unpack all forms of Watching from television, through cinema and taxi TV, to digital OOH and smartphones.
    That’s why I’m going to be calling my book Content Mapping – Art or Science?
    And I’ll be changing my Twitter handle to @Mzansimedia – Africa’s newest Content Cartographer.

  • khulumamedia 5:39 pm on July 2, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    A world without AMPS maybe! But a world without Fred Perry? 

    In view of the alarming standoff between the media-owners and SAARF, I’m often asked to reflect momentarily on a world without AMPS, as there seems to be a perception in some sectors of the media industry that nobody is actually addressing these issues.

    Firstly that perception is incorrect. Interested parties are putting in a massive amount of work behind the scenes to try and preserve the rich heritage of media and marketing information contained in AMPS and I, amongst many others, have been commenting on this for the past 2 years through this blog.  

    The problem is that many people, people who should know better, are confusing the need to preserve the information contained in AMPS with attempts to preserve the legal entity which is SAARF.

    As I have indicated in several blogs AMPS has not been without its shortcomings. Some of those shortcomings may be directly attributable to the intransigence of SAARF’s previous management, others to the inability of traditional research methods to keep pace with quantum change in the manner in which people consume media. Indeed these days the really interesting insights come, not so much from the large sample quantitative evaluation of the consumer’s media consumption, but from a qualitative interpretation of their user generated content.

    Whatever the case though, throwing the baby out with the bath-water is rarely a sound behavioural practice. Certainly it tends to be terminal for the baby and conceiving another baby is very rarely an effective compensation to mother for losing the first one.

    The industry needs to fix AMPS and if in fixing it to everybody’s satisfaction we give it another name, then so be it. For the moment that name seems to be JES (Joint Establishment Survey). Call it Fred if it makes you feel better. If in creating JES we have also to reconstitute SAARF, to make it more inclusive of stakeholders and make its management more transparent, then let’s do that as well. Right now the industry likes the name JIC (Joint Industry Committee) but if it needs a new name, call it Perry.

    You remember Fred Perry? He’s not the last Brit to win the Men’s singles at Wimbledon but he’s certainly the last interesting one.

    Speaking of interests, what then do we want? Very simply as data users, responsible for investing hundreds of millions with media owners, we want …

    • Unrestricted access to media data.
    • Improved and more inclusive sampling
    • Valid and reliable data and this implies media consumption data that is not produced by media-owners for media-owners (my recent blog Radio – The Sounds of Silence refers). In this context, the phrase “publish and be damned” springs to mind. Here’s the bottom line for media owners. When it comes to producing audience figures, you can’t mark your own homework.
    • More transparency in management of data-production and more engagement from both advertisers and media agencies in the process of data creation.

    To a very large degree the impasse between media-owners, marketers and agencies can be attributed to the fact that there has been an increasing juniorisation of the participants in industry based market and media research initiatives, to the detriment of both AMPS and SAARF. So for heaven’s sakes, put the egos aside for the moment and let the big players sit around a table together. As The Economist once observed

    “When you’re brawling on the edge of a cliff the big question is not ‘who is right’ but ‘what the hell are you doing on the edge of a cliff’“.

    So I can conceive of a world without AMPS and SAARF. In fact I can even conceive of a better world without AMPS and SAARF. But I can’t conceive of a world without Fred Perry. I believe in longevity and that even the oldest moth eaten brands & services can be rejuvenated if they are subjected to intelligent and honest scrutiny. You don’t get to stand the test of time (and the AMPS-SAARF model has been around for 40 years) unless the brand has inherent substance. It will need to be refreshed. Sure. Its roll will need to be refined. Sure. But it can endure and it can remain cutting edge.

    You can of course chase after the latest fad but after Morbid Murray’s exit from Wimbledon today, I wonder whether in another 80 years, stylish young people will be aspiring to wear branded Murray gear, as they aspire today to wearing Fred Perry.

    When media owners rush off to create their own little Fred Perry clones, or worse still attempt to create their own alternatives to Wimbledon, they should not expect that somehow media strategists will a posteriori find a way of putting the pieces together again. That is the stuff of fairy tales. And that is something I do know about because unless we get the egotists off the edge of the cliff I’ll be spending the final years of my life in media, not diving headlong into the new and exciting media challenges in Mzansi, but reading Humpty Dumpty stories to my grandchildren (see my earlier blog … The SAARF-AMPS Debacle: Stick ‘em in the naughty corner … or learn to play darts!).

    Now we don’t know whether Humpty Dumpty jumped or whether he was pushed. But we do know one thing. You can’t put him back together again.  

  • khulumamedia 8:38 pm on June 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Radio and the Sounds of Silence 

    I was listening to radio this morning. That is actually tuned in and listening as opposed to cruising around with a bit of muzak in the background, dodging taxis and trying to time my lane-changes so as to pass through the Nazi-tolls with my car perfectly centred on the dotted lines. To be honest I don’t know if that actually works in terms of confusing the gantries but it’s really good fun watching the drivers in your rear-view mirror attempting the tactic once they’ve figured out what’s going on.

    So, because I was listening I was really intrigued by the evidence led by acoustic engineer Ivan Lin at the Oscar Pistorious trial today. He reminded me of something truly fundamental about the broadcast industry. Something we’ve basically forgotten even though Simon & Garfunkel sang about it a long time ago …

    People talking without speaking

    People hearing without listening.

    The difference between hearing and listening. You know what I’m talking about.

    butt hurt

    Hearing is simply the passive act of perceiving sound via the ear. If you are not hearing-impaired then “hearing” simply happens.

    Listening on the other hand is something you consciously choose to do. Listening requires concentration so that your brain processes and constructs meaning from words, sound & sentences. Listening leads to learning and is arguably the pre-cursive state for “theatre of the mind” to exist. And as we all know, “theatre of the mind” is the cornerstone of creative radio. Or so the RAB keeps telling us anyway.

    When we consider that one the most fundamental assumptions in media planning is that people consume media despite the presence of advertising not because of it, we come to understand that, when we are talking radio, most people are “hard of listening” rather than “hard of hearing”.

    When it comes to using media research data however, in our desperate desire to win over the hearts and minds of procurement executives, most media decision-makers have become obsessed with the reliability of the data rather than applying their minds to understanding the validity. And if you don’t know the difference between reliable research data and valid research data, I’ll see you at the AMASA Weekend Workshop next month.

    Most of us are so used to accepting the standard definitions of media consumption that we have forgotten to interrogate what they actually mean. If we consider the current definition of radio listenership embraced by the industry …

    “By listen we mean that you personally listened to the radio. It may be all of a programme or only part of it. It doesn’t matter whether it was your own radio or somebody else’s. Nor does it matter where you listened to it.”

    we have to wonder whether we are not in fact measuring “hearing” rather than “listening”.

    Of course one of the key advantages of reporting the “hearership” of a radio station, rather than some measure of active listenership, is that the reported audience figures will remain high. And as we all know, the higher the hearership the higher the advertising rate. It’s a grand system. As long as you keep the data reliable (and radio data in Mzansi is reliable to the point of terminal predictability) and control the qualitative variables, you can be sure nobody is going to derail the procurement train. In fact, it’s not dissimilar to the print industry’s firm commitment to a definition of readership which has almost reached the laughable point where there is an inverse correlation between circulation and readership.

    Best way to do this of course, is to own the research data.

    So when the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) in Mzansi gives the marketing, advertising and media industry the middle finger, as they have done, and sets off to create a new audience currency that better suits their commercial needs, you have to question whether it’s their intention to continue measuring “hearing” (which will keep those audience numbers & ad-rates nice and high) or whether they intend to catch the ROMI train with the rest of the media world by attempting to measure the actual impact of radio (which is a function of active listening) on any communication plan.

    On reflection, I’m pretty sure I can work out which route the NAB will favour, despite the fact that increased radio audiences will translate into an increased expectation of in-market response amongst agencies and marketers. And increased expectation will lead to under-delivery (not in procurement terms but in marketing and advertising terms) and ultimately the demise of the medium as an effective communication tool because radio stations are selling listeners and delivering hearers.

    Actually advertisers are beginning to figure this out but many have arrived at the wrong conclusion in response. Witness to this fact is the almost complete erosion of the traditional 30s radio spot in favour of massively expensive activations. Most radio activations are little more than advertisers paying a premium to convert hearers to listeners, by giving away their margins, in order to fund payment for the total audience, which of course includes the hearers the advertisers weren’t interested in the first place.

    It’s a sad indictment of the media industry in Mzansi that it remains so firmly committed to selling (and I guess buying for that matter) the LCD (Lowest Common Denominator) of so-called listenership, viewership and readership at a discount, when they should be taking a leaf out of the digital book and selling the HCD (Highest Common Denominator) at a premium. If the digital industry was run by broadcasters in Mzansi, they would still be trying to flog page impressions to advertisers.

    But hey! We’re all fans of the next shiny thing. It’s so much more fun starting something new than it is to polish up the previous, and admittedly tarnished, shiny thing. As Paul and Art sang …

    And the people bowed and prayed, To the neon god they made.

    And the sign flashed out its warning,

    In the words that it was forming.

    And the sign said, the words of the prophets are written on the subway walls

    And tenement halls.

    And whispered in the sounds of silence

  • khulumamedia 4:43 pm on January 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    The Secret to Monetizing Facebook in Mzansi or Phansi OGFA Phansi! 

    Many media people have commented that I don’t blog nearly enough. And it’s true. I don’t. It’s not like I don’t have anything to say or that I don’t spend time reflecting on new insights on the media industry. It’s all about “time” and as we all know, particularly in media these days, time is money. In fact the real barrier to the growth of the digital industry in Mzansi is “time-spent” relative to “money-recovered”.

    Ever since I’ve taken an interest in digital media the primary point of focus has been on the issue of monetization. In particular, how do you get someone who has been consuming your product for free to start paying for it? Greater minds than mine have pondered this issue with little success. Bar one or two notable exceptions of course. So you can imagine how excited I am, thanks to SANRAL, to have found the answer. It’s so elegantly simple that I’m actually a little embarrassed at not having thought of it sooner.

    The answer to monetizing your digital content is quite simply to charge people for it. There you have it. Just charge them for it. And if they don’t pay you, hand them over to the eToll Nazis who will collect the money for you. You don’t even have to invoice people. You just charge them.

    So yesterday, empowered by this brilliant eureka insight, I decided to start charging anybody reading my Facebook page R5 per reading day. So with 388 Friends that’s a potential income of around R58,000 a month. Of course that’s the worst case scenario because if you factor in “Friends of Friends” and the concept goes viral, the dividend yield is exponential. It makes the average Ponzi scheme look timid.

    If of course a Friend reads a comment on somebody else’s device then the reader is not liable for this amount but they have clearly transferred the liability to the “device supplier”. In this instance, the onus is on the reader to provide the details of this 3rd party or accept liability for reading. Simple.

    The SAFAMP (Sanral Facebook Monetization Principal) system is as much about the carrot as it is about the stick and regular Facebook readers are heavily incentivized. If a Friend knows they will be reading my page on a daily basis, then all they need do is pay a once off R7 at the beginning of the week which is an effective 80% discount on the ad hoc R35 weekly charge.

    Now cynics amongst you will point out that not every Friend will read everything I say every day. Well that’s the nice thing about SAFAMP. It doesn’t matter. You just charge them anyway and then make them prove that they’ve haven’t read it. It’s fool-proof because in order to prove they haven’t read your Facebook page, they have to reply to your comment which means de facto they have in fact read it and that they owe you R5. Joseph Heller eat your heart out!

    When I say potential monthly revenue of R58,000 I am of course talking RBPM (Revenue Before Punitive Measures).

    I was quite alarmed and more than a little disappointed to discover this morning that not one of my Facebook Friends had made any effort at all to affect payment yesterday. You seriously have to doubt the commitment to the relationship. Under normal contractual circumstance this would create a problem but this is one of the true benefits of a priori contracts. You can just revise the terms of the contract as you see fit.

    So as of today I have taken the regrettable step of levying a further fine against my Facebook page readers. Those who viewed my Facebook page yesterday (and didn’t pay up) now owe me R15 & if they have read my comment today advising them of the fine for late payment, that would make a total balance of R20. So tactical use of DAF (Day After Fining) means the potential monthly income could be as high as R174,000.

    That’s the basic SAFAMP principle but I have added a further “added value” revenue stream which considerably increases overall per capita yield. All personalized response comments are charged out at R10. So an individual reading my page (R5) and receiving a comment from me by way of response (R10) has a daily yield of R15. With use of tactical DAF that would be R45 per person per day. A gross income of R523,800 per month.

    Of course, if they don’t pay, you just hand them over. So it’s all good.

    An additional benefit of SAFAMP is that accounting overheads are minimal as there are no invoices and it’s essentially a cash business. Some of my more enthusiastic Friends, who are good law-abiding South Africans, have already offered to pay and have requested bank details. Of course, under no circumstances whatsoever am I prepared to provide my Facebook readers with bank details electronically and all payments must be in person, by appointment at my offices in Kensington. And here’s the part I really love … all personal appointments are charged out at R100.

    Assuming 100% late payment (because you can’t really trust anybody these days) potential per capita yield is in fact R145, yielding potential revenue of up to R1,6m (R145 x 388 Friends x 30 days). Perhaps you should just jot this formula down because as a broad principle I don’t do itemized billing. It is after all a pretty simple system, so I expect my Friends at all time to know exactly how much they owe me.

    Speaking of which, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, I’ve monetized my blog as well. If you’re reading this, you owe me R5. Tomorrow it will be R15. So best you pay up now.

    Or you could just join OGFA (Opposition to Gordon’s Facebook Alliance).

    • Dave Granville Roberts 12:28 pm on January 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Brilliant my boy! Just brilliant. The whole farce is laughable and deserves to fail, as it surely will. God bless

    • Mike Nussey 8:52 am on January 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Seems as if you have been advising SANRAL. I suppose their cheque is in the post?

  • khulumamedia 9:51 am on December 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    A Media TrilOOHgy Part 3: If you want to milk the cash cow you need to go MOOH 

    The OOH industry is a bit like the Tardis. It’s a great deal bigger than it looks from the outside and like the Tardis, nobody, not even The Doctor really knows how it works. From the outside the OOH industry looks like 4,7% of advertising investment in South Africa but when you step inside and start factoring in all the component-players who power the sector, it looks a lot more like 11,8% of total adspend. That’s a huge chunk of energy that’s not being directed into the engine room. R2,4 billion to be precise.

    Historically the OOH industry has presented its face and supposedly its case to the media industry through OHMSA (Out of Home Media SA). The OHMSA name has undergone several iterations over the past 35 years but the focus has remained much the same. In recent years though, OHMSA has lost a great deal of traction in terms of its ability to present a holistic OOH offering to the industry.

    To the outsider peering through the door of OHMSA, it would appear that internal dissension has significantly pruned the membership tree and stunted it’s growth but given the obvious nature of the collective enemy facing the OOH sector, one can only wonder “why”? Surely there is sufficient common ground … sufficient common cause … to direct the co-ordinated energies of the OOH industry into taking on the Darleks (or is that NABleks) who are trying to take over the mediaverse?

    Surely there can be no bigger task than trying to grow OOH share of the pie? And I’m not just talking about improving the reporting, I’m talking about really growing the sector.

    A significant part of the problem is due the historical pre-occupation with legislative and regulatory matters, rather than with stimulating growth. A glance at the Aims and Objectives as outlined in the OHMSA Constitution is revealing. It starts with a stated aim “to promote and to protect the interests of the Association and its members” and ends 13 points later with the need “to enforce expeditiously the strict compliance by its members of the provisions of this Constitution”.

    In between this Alpha and Omega of stated purpose, there is very little clear reference to actually marketing the OOH sector to the media industry. In fact in over 20 pages of legalese there are only two veiled references to actually promoting the medium …

    • to promote and publicize the OOH industry, by way of advertisements, exhibitions & otherwise
    • to elevate the skills, knowledge levels and professionalism of employees and users of OOH media

    And there hasn’t been a lot of either going on of late.

    If OHMSA is to once again assume the mantle of OOH champion, shouldn’t the focus be shifting from trying to regulate the industry towards selling the efficacy of the medium in the new millennium? That is not to say there should be no regulation but there will always be sharp practice in the industry. Caveat Emptor! Rather train clients on the value of an uncluttered OOH environment than to lambast them for going in where angels fear to tread.

    If you want to wash your dirty linen in public fine, but while all this internal squabbling over “legal” and “illegal” sites has been going on,  the Cybermen have stolen what is arguably the most powerful OOH medium of them all, tablets and mobile phones. If there was ever a medium that belonged in OHMSA its digital but you’re not going to draw them in if you start off by throwing the rule book at them.

    It’s time for OHMSA to change its primary focus and quite possibly its name. It’s time to start Marketing Out of Home. If you want to milk the cash cow you need to go MOOH!

  • khulumamedia 9:50 am on December 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    A Media TrilOOHgy Part 2: A billboard by any name would look as sweet. 

    Why all the fuss about the correct way to categorise Out Of Home media? Isn’t a billboard just a billboard? Of course Shakespeare said it best … “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” You just have to believe that David Ogilvy and Shakespeare would really have got along. After all, they were both masters of long copy communication.

    In terms of reporting adspend, the benefits of creating a more inclusive definition of OOH are obvious and significant. But is there anything to be gained from these machinations in terms of the way we actually use the medium?

    The AMASA textbook Nuts n Bolts of Media Planning defines Out Of Home as “essentially any type of advertising that reaches the consumer while he or she is outside the home and on the move”. This definition certainly qualifies as “inclusive” but, if I may lean once more on the Bard, therein lies the rub. It’s too inclusive.

    If I choose to read my newspaper on a park bench somewhere, does it suddenly convert from being print to being OOH? When I listen to radio in my car, should that suddenly be classified as Out Of Home Media exposure just because I happen to be in the OOH Zone?

    Unlike other media messaging OOH advertising is, or should be, created exclusively to be consumed in the OOH environment where is powers of persuasion do not require the explicit consent of the consumer. That’s its primary point of difference from other media formats. That’s what we have to teach a generation of digital natives who think that, when it comes to information and creative content, a building wrap is really just a very large website.

    The global revolution in consumer behaviour and media consumption is challenging many of the accepted fundamentals of media strategy. The singularity of the couch-bound primetime TV audience, or the car-bound drive-time radio listener, has been replaced by multi-platform access to the “always on” media consumer.

    That’s why the focus on high reach in media has been replaced by a focus on thematic message relevance (the content of the message as it relates to the consumers’ situation) and decision interval relevance (the timing of message exposure at critical points either in terms of product consumption or product purchase).

    It’s not enough to simply drop your TV imagery onto an OOH format and hope that consumers will make the connection. In order to maximise the value of communicating with consumers in the OOH Zone you need to deploy messaging that is specifically created for the time and circumstance in which the consumer will interact with it.

    Perhaps the most futile creative indulgence of all is for advertisers to take a print ad and use it in the OOH Zone without adjusting the layout and copy elements. Consumers simply don’t have the time to try and absorb multiple communication points and long copy. It has long been held that the most important guideline for effective advertising on a billboard, and other OOH formats for that matter, is to ensure that the message is single-minded and succinct.

    One of the most compelling studies in this regard was conducted by the University of Alberta for Evian Water. It was discovered that, for every extra message included in the billboard, there was a corresponding decline in effectiveness for the campaign. Awareness declined from 41,1% for the single-message board to 29,2%, for the 5-message board.

    When it comes to advertising in the OOH Zone, more often than not, less is more. And that is something that even David Ogilvy knew but Shakespeare would never have understood.

    Triloohgy Part 2

  • khulumamedia 9:45 am on December 16, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    A Media TrilOOHgy Part 1: Jerry Maguire and the media mirror. 


    On my very first day in media I asked my Media Director, the legendary Frank “FK” Muller, what I thought was a very reasonable question. “What’s the key to media planning”? Without hesitation he replied “it’s all done with mirrors”. Personally I’d been hoping for something a little more substantial. Perhaps even a manual. But no! That was it. It’s all done with mirrors.


    And of course after 35 years in the business I now know that he was absolutely right.


    You have to present your thought process and the data in the best possible light in order to sell yourself and your plan. It’s a case of shifting the angle of the mirror to create the right perspective on the data. Never to crook the data but to extract new and meaningful insights from the data.  That’s why I still love the manifesto from my alma mater McCann Erickson … “The Truth Well Told”.


    So you have to ask yourself why the OOH industry has consistently chosen to adjust the mirror to reflect itself in the worst possible light.


    Nielsen Media publishes the definitive database reporting adspend in Mzansi. Adex. Now Adex isn’t perfect but it is the adspend data benchmark. As a convention, media owners have historically reported their adspend figures at gross rate card level. As planners we know that this is not the “bottom line” in terms of actual media owner revenue but nothing wrong. Just using the mirror to show themselves in the best possible light. The Truth Well Told.


    The OOH industry, on the other hand has chosen to report actual “net net” revenue figures. That is adspend net of discount and net of agency commission. This equates to some R1,6 billion annually or 4,7% share of voice. But in order to make an apples to apples comparison with other media we need to reweight this figure back up to a nominal gross rate card rate.  Assuming a very conservative 10% discount level and 16,5% agency commission, this means that OOH adspend is not R1,6 billion as reported but R2,1 billion.


    Of course one of the other problems attached to reporting actual revenues is that many companies don’t want to effectively open their book to competitors. And so many OOH media owners don’t report adspend. A significant cross section of OOH companies, currently not reporting advertising revenue figures to Nielsen (incorporating OOH platforms such as large format building wraps and stadium perimeter boards, advertising in shopping malls, washrooms, fitting rooms and in-store, some forms of transit media and activations etc.) submitted annual gross revenue figures for independent scrutiny and inclusion in Advertising in the OOH Zone.


    These combined adspend figures reflect at least an additional R2,4 Billion in advertising investment, which in turn significantly boosts total OOH adspend to some R4,1 Billion or about 11,8% of advertising investment. This estimated figure corresponds more favourably other emerging markets such as Russia (16%), China (11%) and Mexico (9,5%) and what is really significant in local terms, is that it means the OOH sector is bigger than the magazine sector in terms of advertising support.



    So how does this help the OOH industry? Once again it comes down to mirrors and the power of normative planning. Against current reported norms, when a planner invests 7% of budget in OOH clients are inclined to ask “why are you over-investing in OOH”? If the norm is 11,8% then 7% represents an under-investment and is a much easier sell. You double the OOH revenue though simple media mirror-nomics!


    If Jerry Maguire was a media strategist I know which figure he’d rather be working with and just what he’d be saying to the OOH industry. Help me Help you! Find a way to report the adspend data to Adex. That way you complete me.

  • khulumamedia 4:27 pm on October 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Start training now – or go live in Orania. 

    In a recent blog (Stick em in the naughty corner or learn to play darts) I suggested that the best way to deal with the latest media insurrection would be to take the ringleaders and stick them in the naughty corner. Isolationism certainly works with little kids but unfortunately when you use child psychology on adults it seems to have the opposite effect. It stimulates delusions of independence rather than acting as a socialising agent.

    Take Orania for instance.

    We all know about the little town somewhere in the Karroo that has been created as a last bastion of Afrikaner identity. But how many of us know that it has its own currency? The Ora! First issued in 2004 the currency is not recognised anywhere outside Orania itself, nor is it sanctioned by the SA Reserve Bank. So basically, the Ora has the same value as Monopoly money. Probably less because if you have nobody to play with, you won’t even bother taking the Monopoly board out the box.

    So good luck all you exponents of the “stuff the media industry it’s our money” school of thought. I hope you find someone to play board games with other than yourselves. Otherwise you might end up celebrating “Bittereinder Dag” on 31st May with the rest of Orania.

    For a moment though, let’s just assume that there will be an outbreak of sanity in the coming weeks. That the various industry bodies will play the long game and do what’s best for the entire media economy, and not start printing their own banknotes. Let’s assume some form of unitary single source establishment survey actually survives and that the local market continues to have access to a free media trading currency. That currency is called Data and unlike the Ora you can trade with it globally.

    Here’s the problem though.

    You can have all the data in the world but if you don’t have the right people to interpret the data then you’re no better off. All you’ll have is an Excel spread sheet full of a different set of numbers.

    In South Africa, we have become so preoccupied with our own internal standards and the shape and composition of the local industry that we are very close to losing sight of the real performance issue, which is demonstrating our ability to deliver against increasingly demanding international standards of media planning and strategy.  We don’t have a right to be listened to when we protest that planning media South Africa is different. That we have special needs. We have to prove to global clients that partnering with local media decision makers is in their best interest, strategically and financially and that nobody understands this process better than the media planners in South Africa.

    Employment is not empowerment any more than buying a pair of running shoes makes you an athlete. It’s just the first step that signals your intention. What empowers any individual in the commercial arena is the ability to do the job. What makes world class athletes is natural ability, guts and commitment. Funnily enough, that’s pretty much what makes great media planners as well.

    So while we argue about AMPS and SAARF and “whose money it is”, the industry continues to neglect the biggest challenge of all. The growing skills shortage in media!

    It is time to put aside the squabbles and start developing the talent. The whole FET SETA set-up has been a dismal failure and as a result, industry initiatives are failing to match the need for skilled media decision-makers. We need an urgent consolidated effort, under one umbrella body to tackle the issue of skills development in the media industry. And we need to make it our number one priority.

    Otherwise you’ll have to take your new media currency and go live in Orania. At least they understand Monopoly money there.

  • khulumamedia 8:46 pm on October 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Suppose They Created a Market Segment and No One Came? 

    Writing in McCalls about her son’s resistance to the Vietnam conflict in 1966, American author and poet Charlotte E. Keyes tweaked a line from a Carl Sandberg poem and posed a universal question: “Suppose They Gave a War and No One Came”? It became a rallying point for Vietnam “Peaceniks” and Keyes and her son Gene were branded as communists and draft dodgers.

    I know how she feels.

    In 2008 I was branded a media terrorist for daring to suggest that, by creating sub-sets or extensions to the LSM 7-10 bands, SAARF had de facto created a 14 LSM model. Well, they’ve been up to it again.

    As from AMPS 2012AB, further extensions have been applied all the way down to LSM4, giving media planners a de facto 17 level split within the LSM template. Now in the past SAARF has suggested I should desist from making such misleading observations because the industry will be confused. So let me just test your level of comprehension.

    Once upon a time AMPS sub-divided the South African market into 8 socio-economic segments. Now AMPS divides the market into 17 socio-economic segments.

    Is there anybody who doesn’t understand this? Anybody who is confused?

    You see, as long as I call them segments, everybody is happy. But, when I say that AMPS divides the market into 17 LSMS, then apparently it becomes incomprehensible.

    Now I’m sure that, other than dilettantish academic interest, there must have been a reason for this additional segmentation, even if it is not immediately apparent. This reason has not, however, been fully articulated to the industry, so I’m assuming the reason they were created is so that planners can use and extract value from them.

    Naturally, the LSM bands are not airtight pockets and serve to bring together groupings of people from the total population into a continuum of contiguous and sometimes slightly overlapping groups. The good news is that the 17 LSM splits (sorry I mean segments) invite and allow for a more spontaneous and logical re-clustering of the overall bands into functional market and media segments. One such approach to clustering the LSM bands is found in the revised Muller Cluster Model.

    Based on a mid-point analysis using median HH incomes and tipping points in media consumption affinity, such as the transition from SABC ALS radio to other independent commercial radio formats, or the shift from Free to Home (FTH) TV to Pay TV, the model recognises 6 primary market clusters, each with very distinctive media consumption patterns …

    • LSM 1-3: Traditional (11,9% of Population)
    • LSM 4-5: Transitional (30% of Population)
    • LSM 6: Middle (22,6% of Population)
    • LSM 7-LSM8 Low: Upper Middle B (15,9% of Population)
    • LSM 8 High – LSM 10 Low: Upper Middle A (16,7% of Population)
    • LSM 10 High: Elite (2,8% of Population)

    This is not to suggest that The Muller Cluster Model should be seen as some sort of panacea; an invitation to abandon the core criteria which would normally underpin the target market description. The model does however exhibit a great deal of elasticity in media selection and has the additional advantage of improved sample sizes (with the exception of the Elite market).


    Is clustering data a sound media practice?

    If you are a using phrases like “LSM 4-7” or “LSM 7-10” in your marketing plans, then you are already effectively clustering the data. The vast majority of TV planning and buying in Mzansi is done using LSM clusters with demographic overlays. My concern is that these clusters are merely assumed historical conventions with no logical foundation in the data itself. The market has moved on and smart media strategists are not only trying to move with it but actually get ahead of it. 

    On the other hand, you could carry on talking about 10 LSMS. After all, what’s the worst that could happen if they created a market segment and nobody came?

    As published in The Media: October Issue

  • khulumamedia 1:02 pm on September 10, 2013 Permalink | Reply  

    Could a media algorithm pass the Ogilvy copy test? 

    More and more people have told me not to bother re-writing my text book Media Planning – Art or Science? next year. Apparently the debate is over. Media strategy is definitely a science and by Christmas I’ll be replaced by an algorithm.

    I’m told algorithms are much more efficient than media strategists. They unerringly match available media-owner inventory against the best prevailing price and hey presto, more GRPS than you could possibly hope to hope to fit onto a single Excel spread-sheet report. After all, media exposure is just a commodity and the cheaper the price, the more cost-efficient the campaign.

    Given the explosion of media offerings, I would have to concede that point. Algorithms are better at statistics than media strategists. But I’ve never met an algorithm that could pass the Ogilvy copy test the way media guru, the late Alan McClarty did. Just to prove a point to himself! And of course to prove a point to Robyn Putter. Because if media didn’t contribute to the overall communication and creative debate then Robyn would just send you back to the media department and make you eat worms.

    Nowhere are algorithms more superior at media strategy, apparently, than in monetising their “understanding” of consumer search-psychology and click-thru patterns. They will match message to relevant consumer environments with unerring accuracy. And for good measure, from a media perspective, they’ll only charge you for actual exposure. Page impressions. Unique hits. Likes. Retweets. Whatever you want! You only pay for what you actually get. Zero wastage. Procurement heaven!

    So given the incredible insight of even the most mundane algorithm, you’ll imagine my amazement yesterday when I discovered that the unthinkable has happened. An algorithm has failed to perform. Well, failed to perform from a human perspective that is because I’m sure the media cost efficiencies were impeccable.

    In researching social media trends this week I have sadly been drawn to YouTube and the horrendous imagery surrounding the Pinetown truck crash in which 22 innocent people were killed. An absolute tragedy that should be made compulsory viewing for all motorists in Mzansi. Horrible! Imagine my amazement then to discover that KFC has a pop-up TVC for their new breakfast offering slap bang in the middle of that footage.


    Seriously? This is good media placement? Maybe we old media strategists are dinosaurs. Maybe we don’t have Google’s statistical aptitude but I’ll tell you something Colonel Sanders. No media strategist with even half a brain would attempt to sell fast-food at someone’s funeral.

    By the time I launch this comment into the blogosphere, I’ve no doubt that there will have been an outbreak of sanity at KFC and this TVC will have been removed. But I know one thing for sure. It won’t be an algorithm that has removed it. It will be an intelligent and sensitive marketer. And if it hasn’t been removed then my advice is send your algorithm for counselling. After all even The Terminator had a gentle side.

    I was recently sent an email from a media company offering me a platform which “uses a real-world algorithm which blends available ad space with the desired target audience reach, frequency, price, budget and asset spread to optimise an online media plan with limited waste.”

    They claim, “we love maths but we love media a little more.”

    Well in response to that let me say that I am going to rewrite my book next year. And I’m still going to call it Media Planning – Art or Science.

    Because I love advertising but I love media a little more!

    • mike 8:29 am on September 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Great read…. really enjoyed that.

    • Byron 9:50 pm on October 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Gordon – always insightful!

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