INTERNATIONAL: ME AND MY MARKET; Josh Dovey, managing director of Eurospace Africa, Johannesburg

By JOSH DOVEY, campaignlive.co.uk, Friday, 13 September 1996 12:00AM

Like so much in South Africa, the advertising and media industries are in a period of transition. The party atmosphere in the country that followed the free elections, success in the Rugby World Cup and the African Nations Cup (sport is big here) and re-entering the world community has gone. In terms of both government and business, the hangover of stripping away the layers of a closed society and trying to become competitive is here. It is sinking in that President Mandela’s popularity overseas is no protection against the realities of a global market.

Like so much in South Africa, the advertising and media industries are

in a period of transition. The party atmosphere in the country that

followed the free elections, success in the Rugby World Cup and the

African Nations Cup (sport is big here) and re-entering the world

community has gone. In terms of both government and business, the

hangover of stripping away the layers of a closed society and trying to

become competitive is here. It is sinking in that President Mandela’s

popularity overseas is no protection against the realities of a global

market.



Of course, this creates enormous opportunities for companies and

investors with a robust disposition who are prepared to take a mid- to

long-term view. Most of the major US agency networks have returned to

the market on the coat-tails of their major clients.



Omnicom recently out-manoeuvred Cordiant and bought the locally-owned

Bates SA (Campaign, 9 August), now trading as DDB. Cordiant has since

taken a major shareholding in another local agency. Other big players,

Hunt Lascaris TBWA, Ogilvy and Mather, Rightford and Lindsay Smithers

Foote Cone Belding are all thriving. It is the medium-sized, non-

affiliated agencies that are being squeezed as international client

realignments bite and margins come under pressure.



Another recent market dynamic has been the development of media

specialists - mostly dependants (South Africa seems to have leapfrogged

the small buying shop stage). My company, Eurospace, for example, as the

media arm of Omnicom, now has a 14 per cent market share. And because

the concept of specialists is accepted by most international clients,

growth has been rapid.



The deregulation of the media has also aided the transition. In the

past, media owners enjoyed cosy monopolies. The good news for

advertisers is that this is breaking down across all media and the

industry is getting rid of ratecard rigor mortis as competition arrives.



Much of this will induce a certain sense of deja vu in the UK, but South

Africa has squeezed it all into the past two years. It’s a pretty good

start.



Key facts



Total adspend 1995: R4.6 billion (dollars 1.1 billion); up 15 per cent

on 1994



SA population: 42.6 million



SA households: 8.8 million



Daily consumption: TV viewers, 49.2 per cent; radio listening, 61 per

cent; any newspaper, 15.6 per cent



Main home languages: Zulu, 29.7 per cent; Sotho (all), 21.3 per cent;

Afrikaans, 13.7per cent; Xhosa, 9.1 per cent; English, 7.2 per cent;

Tsonga, 5.1 per cent; Tswana, 5.0 per cent; Swazi, 3.1 per cent



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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