How are the TV ratings? What are your TV ratings like? Having recently launched HFA TV, Africa’s foremost Fashion Channel on Cable Network; PlayTV (formerly Consat), this is a question I am getting all too used to hearing, and with despair I reply: I wish I knew.
By Damilola Amolegbe
You cannot discuss the television industry’s value chain without talking about adequate audience measurement and I have wondered how, since 1959, we are still unable to resolve something so critical in driving fair Advertising & Sponsorship Revenues.
For a decade, Nigeria has relied solely on the diary audience measurement System which has been championed by Media Planning Services (MPS), yet, to more of a disservice not only to the media industry but to advertising agencies as well, who require in-depth information on how to reach their target audience.
For the newbies like me wondering what diary audience measurement means, it simply means a “reporter” visits an office or residence and asks whoever is there, at that moment what they are watching. This is an immediate threat to the industry, as the census/MPS:
- Exaggerate their top-of-mind channels and are not precise about what they actually watch.
- Are unable to reach specific target audiences such as high net worth Individuals, millennials, lower-income households to name a few.
- Late turn-around time of one month on “data capture” due to processing & formatting.
- Corruption; media companies bribing their way to the top of the list to appeal to advertisers, due to the lack of transparency using diary audience measurement system.
Quoting Vesselin Shaoulov, CEO of GARB Audience Measurement in Bulgaria in a recent interview conducted with ContentNigeria.Net “Looking at the African market, right now, South Africa is more than three times bigger [in value] than Nigeria, and there’s only one reason for that: they have metrics and Nigeria doesn’t. South Africa has 60 million people, US$300bn in GDP and a profit of US$1.5bn in the media market.
However, Nigerian media is making US$400m with a population of 200 million. Over US$400bn GDP is produced here – therefore the economy is larger than South Africa by 30% to 40%, and the population even more so. Yet, Nigerian media makes less than a third what South African media does. It is unfair to Nigeria.”
The value of Nigeria’s Broadcasting Advertising Market is not proportionate to its Population, though by 2020, the gap between South Africa and Nigeria is projected to decline marginally to 72% from 76% in 2016, and can decline at a faster rate if these are taken into consideration:
- Formalizing the relationship between ‘Primary Value-Chain Stakeholders’ (Broadcasters, Marketers and AD Agencies and ‘Secondary Supplier Stakeholders’ (Audience Research and Advertising Monitoring Houses) such as; Broadcasting Organizations of Nigeria (BON), Media Independent Practitioners Association of Nigeria (MIPAN), Advertisers Association (ADVAN), GeoPoll, Infotools and Monitoring Services Nigeria to name a few, and together form a Council Board.
- In South Africa, broadcasting audience research is managed by the Broadcasting Research Council of South Africa (BRC). The BRC is a nonprofit organization governed by an Independent board made-up of television and Radio Broadcasters. Its primary responsibility is to commission and oversee the delivery of television and radio audience measurement research for broadcasters as well as the advertising and marketing Industry.
- Television Audience Measurement (TAMS): The TAMS is a *Peoplemeter based research tool. The Council Board ensures that it has proper controls, transparent reporting and regular audits in place, making it easy for users to be able to access the data through various industry standard media planning software tools.
- Expect from the Council Board the development of a multi-year roadmap for transitioning audience & advertising measurement system from the current privately managed model to an industry-led and funded model; to review the efficacy of the diary system and recommend options for making it more scientific and robust OR introduce a *Peoplemeter system.
Content producers like myself have become increasingly reliant on close relationships for advertising, which unfortunately belittles the authenticity of our creative output in favor of a few decision makers, instead of millions of TV viewers readily available, hindering us from reaching our full potential.
*Peoplemeter is an electronic method of television measurement that moved from active and diary-based to passive and meter-monitored. It was created by America Marketing Research Firm, The Nielsen Company.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published in The Spark Magazine. Find the magazine here to read other articles.