Tag: media

Caxton – publisher of titles such as People and Bona – has announced it is withdrawing from magazines, while Associated Media Publishing (who published Cosmopolitan, House & Leisure, Women on Wheels and Good Housekeeping) closed permanently on 1 May.

Associated Media CEO Julia Raphaely said in a statement that the Covid-19 lockdown resulted in the closure of printing and distribution channels.

Launched by media industry doyenne Jane Raphaely in 1982, over the last decade Associated Magazines was transformed into AMP under her daughter, Julia’s, leadership. The company has always been a family business.

Raphaely thanked employees and warned that the future of many other industries is equally uncertain.

Meanwhile, Caxton & CTP Publishers & Printers announced yesterday that it was in the process of withdrawing from magazine publishing.

The decision has been made “in principle”, according to a statement issued by the board on Tuesday, and the company is consulting with employees.

The decision will affect approximately 250 employees. Titles affected are Bona, Country Life, Essentials, Food & Home, Garden & Home, People, Rooi Rose, Vrouekeur, Woman & Home and Your Family.

General Manager Anton Botes said while 10 of the brands were definitely affected, Caxton was attempting to accommodate Living & Loving, and Farmer’s Weekly – which has been published for over 100 years – elsewhere within the stable, “where we see synergies” with other publications.

The magazines have been battling to survive in recent years. The board attributed the closure to a “steady and continuous” reduction in advertising spending in the media sector as well as a decline in circulation revenues.

The added negative impact of the coronavirus pandemic on an “already difficult trading conditions for magazine publishers” made the final decision unavoidable, the statement added.

Salary cuts have been implemented at other media companies, including weekly investigative newspaper Mail & Guardian, Independent Media and African News Agency.

By Sinenhlanhla Jalibane for The MediaShop

Loadshedding has once again become one of the most used buzzwords in South Africa. While we wait for government to attain a better solution to their “technical problems” and revert with plans to overcome this crisis, loadshedding continues to have dire implications on everyone, particularly for television advertisers and broadcasters.

Advertising budgets have already been reduced but now with the power out, what does this mean for advertisers, and the media industry in general?

1. Viewership decreases

Television indisputably remains the largest media consumption channel in South Africa. It is still the most effective way of reaching a higher number of audiences at a high frequency. However, it is no secret that such media platforms are highly affected by loadshedding.

Viewership is a client’s first concern when there is a blackout. It means that millions of South African TV households are off, reducing the potential TV audience of a particular channel or programme which has a huge effect for advertisers.

We have been experiencing stage 2 and 4 of loadshedding recently. With that said, it is imperative to remember that having these power cuts means not reaching a household for at least two or more hours during each blackout. This is of serious concern especially when power is cut during prime time, which decreases viewership even more significantly. It results in adverts only being seen by a handful of people, who might not even be the target audience for the brand being advertised, which is then seen as wastage by many.

Britta Reid commented on a research article in 2019 published on The MediaOnline from The Broadcast Research Council, on how adult ARs for the 18h00 and 20h00 dayparts were affected. She commented that about 2% of adults on the BRC TAMS panel were flagged as having experienced power cuts during stage two, compared with 15% of adults during stage four . This equates to a huge number of audiences being lost due to loadshedding and it doesn’t seem like it will get any better.

2. Concern over reach

Secondly, clients have become sceptical about whether their brand will be seen by the right audiences as loadshedding makes it difficult to plan schedules. I remember once when Eskom had promised two hours of loadshedding but it went off for 3h30mins. This left me wondering how many TV adverts were being aired during this time that I would have missed.

Clients will (if they haven’t already) start questioning the value they are getting from advertising if they lose audiences during loadshedding.

Yes brands are aware that performance will be affected (not that they’re happy about it) but there is unfortunately nothing that marketers and broadcasters can do at this point, as it is beyond their control.

3. Even digital is affected

Lastly, cell phone network coverage has also been getting disrupted and it seems this will continue to be the case during our electricity crisis. It’s making our jobs as marketers even more difficult. Just as we were trying to chase audiences in the digital space, it is now going to be harder to reach them whenever we’d like to.

We all love our smartphones, but their battery life is not as great as we’d like it to be. Power banks and portal chargers can help sustain battery life, but with port connectivity it seems like it would be a struggle to get advertising messages across audiences.

People would also rather save their battery to ensure for instance that their alarm wakes them up in the morning, rather than to scroll through their phones only to come across adverts that will deplete their battery even further.

So what do we do?

While the country has enjoyed a few days of no loadshedding now, there is still an unnerving sense of uncertainty around Eskom’s sustainability. President Cyril Ramaphosa announced during his SONA 2020 address that the Eskom issue was unavoidable. This shows that we’ve got a long way to go and for brands, we need to think of alternative ways to reach our audiences.

It seems like the old school “wireless” radios would be of good use at this point for people to still consume news during loadshedding and this, without a doubt will cause an increase in listenership on the radio.

Maybe it’s also time to put more faith into apps such as EskomSePush to plan around most areas that are experiencing loadshedding to ensure audiences are not lost. Imagine scheduling adverts to be aired on a Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at the same peak time as loadshedding is scheduled? Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Print is still growing in Africa

GroupM, WPP’s world-leading global media investment group launched the Africa Media Index: its inaugural study on the media landscape in Africa. The study aims to provide insights on trends and knowledge of the media sector and how it affects investment, governance, local business and economies.

This study comprises data from 14 African countries, namely: Ivory Coast; Ghana; Nigeria; Kenya; South Africa; Uganda; Zambia; Namibia; Zimbabwe; Tanzania; Mozambique; Botswana; Angola and Ethiopia. It identifies trends that are relevant to industry investors looking to increase their footprint and reach multiple audiences in a meaningful way across Africa. The report focuses on five key categories which are Economy & Business; Media Landscape; Media Consumers; Technology; as well as Governance & Legislation.

Federico De Nardis, CEO at GroupM Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), says, “Many companies – both those already on the continent and those wishing to reach consumers and businesses across Africa – often struggle to find consistent and reliable information which gives a clear understanding of the media landscape. The intention of the Africa Media Index is to bridge that gap.”

Africa’s media landscape is a whirlwind of change and growth in activity, and its power can be harnessed by knowledgeable investors. Sub-Saharan Africa hosts 17% of the world population today, but only represents 2% of world GDP, and even less when we look at advertising investment, which is USD 2.6 billion or 0.47% of global investments. However, due to mobile and Internet expansion, strong urbanisation and a booming middle class, the next 30 years should tell a very different story.

The media consumers and media landscape
While the African middle class population is growing impressively, so is their access to technology and media consumption. This is demonstrated through the rising sales of televisions, which now replace radio as a preferred purchase option in places where electricity supply is increasingly available.
Access to the internet also accounts for a large growth in the media landscape, however, internet use is restricted by high data prices in various regions. More than 83% of respondents believe online media is growing significantly, while 75% of them think radio, through internet broadcasting is on a high trajectory. However, the same respondents are also bullish on television, with nearly 62% of positive growth.
In addition, print media is experiencing positive growth, contrary to what is happening in the rest of the world. For example, in Kenya newspaper consumption has grown by 14% in 2018 versus the previous year and 12% in Nigeria according to ‘This Year Next Year’ report, by GroupM Global.

Governance and legislation
Media growth in Africa is beneficial and a contributing factor to deepening democratic processes. In recent years, political uncertainty dominated the business headlines where heightened political tensions saw a military coup in Zimbabwe, a widely disputed election in Kenya, and highly contested elections in South Africa and Nigeria. These might appear as isolated events but they are an amalgam of events that increased media interest in Africa.
Of the surveyed respondents, 49% of East Africans and over 36% Southern Africans think media corruption is “highly prevalent”, while 41% West Africans say the media is hopelessly corrupt. Corrupt state media, bribe taking journalists and self-censorship by the independent press were cited as examples of corruption.
As a result, the risk impact of changes in legislation and regulation has increased considerably as many African governments continue to implement laws governing information and ethical operations of businesses.

Economy and business
When investors seek media investment opportunities, a holistic knowledge of the investment environment is required, including the relevant forces at play in governance, local business and economies that affect the media sector. The sector is influenced by the society it services, and in turn the media influences the societies that hear, read and see its output.
Investment indicators, as opposed to business confidence, for Southern Africa are good overall. Leading in this is South Africa with an overall score of 65.97, which takes three of the top five positions in overall Economy and Business rankings. However Ghana (51.65), and Kenya (47.67), being in the top five, reflects a mixed regional picture. Meanwhile at the lowest of the spectrum on the continent is Mozambique, whose overall score is 34.89.

Technology advancements
One of the biggest challenges for African governments and media houses will be to close the media access gap between urban and rural areas. If this is left unattended, there is an increased risk of widening inequality between those who have access to a plethora of innovative and rich media options (TV and video in all forms: Linear, VOD, SVOD, OTT and all online platforms) and those who are not exposed to it.

Electricity is a necessity for new media expansion for all regions, and West Africa is seen prioritising urbanisation more than others. Southern Africa is viewed as prioritising fibre lines according to 17.66% of respondents, particularly with the South Atlantic Cable System arriving in the region. These respondents have however reported the highest data prices, with three quarters classifying prices as expensive and 33% say data is somewhat expensive, however 40% of them say it is very expensive.

“The 21st century new media wave has been driven by the African people as they are choosing preferred mediums and content. Investors in Africa’s media industries can be assured that African media consumers are the same as media consumers in other markets who are perpetually craving better media services that are interactive and advertising that is created to each market’s unique nuances,” concludes De Nardis.

Two weeks ago John Robbie, who has been steering the 702 breakfast show for nearly 15 years, announced his retirement. Last week, 30-year media stalwart Terry Volkwyn resigned. As consolidation of South Africa’s media houses continues at a rapid rate, one question remains: is this the end of the independent press?

During Robbie’s tenure the station has evolved into one of South Africa’s most respected media platforms, sparking heated debate on topical issues.

After Robbie’s announcement, 702 released the following statement:

He has won numerous awards and interviewed significant news makers on almost every major news story to affect South Africa, often setting the Gauteng and national news agenda for the day.

Redi Tlhabi, who has been with 702 in the mid-morning slot for 10 years, will take over afternoon drive from 15h00 to 18h00.

Her current show, 09h00 to 12h00 will be permanently hosted by Eusebius McKaiser who has been filling in for Redi for the past three months while she has been on maternity leave.

“When John first discussed his plans to retire, earlier this year, we were saddened by his loss to the line up but are in an exceedingly fortunate position to have the depth of talent on our station that we do,” said 702 station manager, Thabisile Mbete.

This new line up strongly reflects South Africa. It is balanced and will take the station into the future.

And then Primedia Broadcasting CEO Terry Volkwyn resigned last week amid continuing minority shareholder dissatisfaction with the planned takeover of the company by the Times Media Group (TMG).

Volkwyn said she would step down at the end of June.

Primedia group CEO Roger Jardine could not expand on reasons for Volkwyn’s decision to quit after 30 years of service.

Jardine said that Volkwyn would become the chairwoman of Primedia Broadcasting from January and would be replaced by Omar Essack, the deputy group chief executive at Kagiso Media in February.

The signs are there that something strange is afoot with South Africa’s independent media houses as a number of industry veterans are being lost in the consolidation shuffle.

Independent Newspapers
Independent Newspapers, which dominates the English-language newspaper industry in South Africa, is not a happy place. After starting a Section 189 process, in terms of a section of the Labour Relations Act three months’ – nearly four months’ – ago, 72 of a staff of about 500 journalists across the land have agreed to take retrenchment packages. Altogether 92 applied for the packages. That means that all but 20 of those who applied have got the packages. In other words, the company – headed by former fishing boss Mohammed Iqbal Surve, well known for his close ties with ruling African National Congress – has agreed to let nearly a quarter of the writing – and photography – staff go.

Everyone, all journalists below the rank of editor, at the (Johannesburg) Star, the (Kimberley) Diamond Fields Advertiser, the (Durban) Mercury, the (Durban) Daily News, the (Durban-based) Sunday Tribune, the (Cape Town) Cape Times, the (Cape Town) Cape Argus, the (Johannesburg) Sunday Independent, the (Cape Town) Weekend Argus (Saturday and Sunday editions), the (Durban) Post, (Durban’s) Isoleswe, and the Pretoria News, received a letter giving them the option to take a voluntary retrenchment package. They were told that if they wanted to remain with the company, they must re-apply for their jobs.

Details of how many applications have been made for the 400 or so jobs left, or rather being re-advertised, in the company – outside the editors who are guaranteed their posts – is not known. But it is known that those who want to continue to work at the company have been applying for as many jobs as possible.

On 30 November 2016, the 72 journalists will leave the company. That is agreed to already, although a dispute has been declared by the SA Typographical Union and the Media Workers’ Association of South Africa over when the guaranteed two months’ retrenchment pay kicks in. Another group of journalists are exploring the possibility of adding two extra dispute matters (see below) to be considered by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration later this month – on the 25th of November, just days before the curtain falls on their Independent Newspaper careers.

There are some high profile writers who have agreed to take the package. At the Weekend Argus Fatima Schreuder, a well-respected court reporter has opted to go. Weekend Argus content editor (known in old newspaper parlance as news-editor) Di Caelers is also leaving. Cape Argus photographer Michael Walker is also moving on. In Durban veteran environmental reporter – and the winner of countless environmental reporting awards – Tony Carnie, has opted for the package. Also in the retrenchment queue at the end of the month are Warda Meyer, a political reporter for the daily Cape Argus – who has focused on the Western Cape legislature – and Jan Cronje, a general reporter at the Cape Argus. Carryn Dolley, a senior Weekend Argus reporter, has already joined the Media24 team as deputy news24 news editor under editor Adriaan Basson. Leon Muller, Picture Editor at the Weekend Argus, was at first turned down for retrenchment, but later it was accepted. Jayne Mayne, Arts editor of the Cape Times, is also darting for the door as is Billy Suter, the Arts editor at the Mercury. Lindsay Dentlinger, Cape Argus Metro reporter, has not had her contract renewed. Chelsea Geach, another award-winning reporter at the Cape Argus, left two months ago to take up a position at Media24.

Primedia
Times Media Group (TMG) has emerged as the frontrunner to buy Primedia from its shareholders for an undisclosed amount.

Business Report has been reliably informed that the group has staved off competition from potential bidders, such as Thebe Investments and media company Caxton. But the transaction is expected to face stiff resistance from Primedia’s minority shareholders, who have accused the company of putting financial interests above media diversity.

Sources who spoke to Business Report on condition of anonymity said negotiations between TMG and Primedia were at an advanced stage. “There have been discussions behind the scenes and it is now all but a question of time before Times Media takes over,” one said.

Primedia is a media and advertising group that targets premium consumers. It is jointly owned by the Mineworkers Investment Company (MIC), Brait Entities, Old Mutual and FirstRand Group.

Besides a portfolio that includes premium regional radio stations, such as 702, Cape Talk and the Eyewitness News Service, Primedia also owns cinema chain Ster-Kinekor.

Conclusion
Media Monitoring Africa director William Bird confirmed that he had heard of the pending Times Media buyout of Primedia. He said while the transaction made business sense, the lobby group was worried that it would concentrate media ownership in South Africa even further.

“Further consolidation in the media is not what the country needs,” Bird said. “It would kill the diversity that is so important to keep our democracy going.”

The concern is that these independent media groups will join the beleagured state broadcaster, the SABC, in becoming nothing more than a mouthpiece for the ruling party – undermining any attempt at the free press an evolving democracy like South Africa so desperately needs.

By Gary Oberholzer for www.702.co.za; Chris Bateman and Donwald Pressly for www.biznews.com; and www.iol.co.za

Getting the word out

Any business owner would love to have their business mentioned in the media. That is why many hire public relations agencies or have their own in-house PR professional. But if you need to do it yourself, here are six tips that are (almost) guaranteed to score you press coverage.

Pick your target
Target a specific publication or journalist with a corresponding area of interest. By appealing to a writer’s existing passion point, you’re far likelier to get a foot in the door. If you’re not sure where to start, head to Google – a simple topic search will quickly reveal the names of journalists who regularly cover it.
Dive a little deeper by trawling through their Twitter accounts, identifying views and areas of interest, and crafting your story to appeal to these.

Offer exclusives
By offering your story as an exclusive, you have a far greater chance of success. Rather than emailing your pitch, give the editor a call and ask for their input upfront, so that you can expertly craft your story in line with their suggestions. That way, you’ll ensure that when your story arrives in their inbox, they’re expecting it.

Work the calendar
It might feel contrived to use occasions like Valentine’s Day and Christmas to score coverage for your brand, but the reality is that journalists are hard pressed for seasonally-specific content over these periods.
For instance, if you’re a property brand, you might want to consider an article focusing on tips for couples looking to buy their first home together.

Another way is to request a copy of your targeted publication’s editorial calendar, which will identify the topics to be covered over the course of the year. By writing a story specifically for a planned feature, you have a good chance of success.

Team effort
Whilst being credited as the sole purveyor of expert insight in an article is undoubtedly first prize for any business, the reality is that journalists prefers an unbiased story with multiple sources.

By pitching a story angle and offering up multiple spokespeople able to add further insight, you are making a journalist’s life easier by basically doing their job for them.

Yes, you might have to share the headlines with one of your rivals, but by positioning yourself as a collaborative force, you’ll better position your business to be seen by the right types of readers, and start establishing your brand as a go-to source of industry insight.

Curate local content
Journalists in Africa are starved of local statistics, having to rely heavily on facts and figures from abroad to substantiate their stories. As such, local research findings are highly sought after by media outlets, so if you can supply your own, you’ll be able to get positive media coverage. It will also help to establish you as a credible, well-respected industry leader.

Use the news to your advantage
By keeping close tabs on current events and providing stories in line with a topic currently occupying the news agenda, you’ll be in a great position to score some high impact wins.

For instance, with the Rio 2016 Olympics around the corner, and you just so happen to be a security company, you can give safety tips to those attending the Summer Olympics. There you’ve got the perfect angle to hook your story on.

Digital fuels media industry growth

After more than a decade of digital disruption, the African entertainment and media industry has entered a new landscape – one where the media is no longer divided into distinct traditional and digital spheres, according to a report from PwC entitled Entertainment and media outlook: 2015 – 2019 (South Africa – Nigeria-Kenya).

Continue reading

Running the exact same spot over and over
Repetition is a good way to drive messages deep into the cerebellum, but in a digital world where variety is abundant, a repeated piece of content can drive people insane. If you want to push audiences away in no time (or punish them for some reason) simply ignore the fact that they might want new and fresh material that contains the same message. Content creators who take the time to edit multiple spots and mix things up find greater engagement and retention.

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