TheSouthAfrican and Mediamark ink partnership deal

With multi-channel advertising being the next frontier for multimedia sales house Mediamark, a newly signed deal with digital news publisher, TheSouthAfrican, makes perfect sense.

Mediamark was traditionally known as a broadcast sales house, but made digital moves as long as a decade ago, and is now solidly positioned as a multimedia player. As CEO Wayne Bischoff pointed out, the company has worked with other digital offerings such as Gumtree, D6 School Communicator and Vodacom “so our experience with operations beyond the broadcast field is extensive and varied”. In fact, in 2010, it became a Microsoft partner in South Africa.

Now it’s digital position has been strengthened further. Mediamark and TheSouthAfrican announced on Wednesday that they had entered a partnership deal that would see Mediamark serving as the exclusive sales partner for TheSouthAfrican. It would offer clients access to the website’s advertising inventory, sponsorship opportunities, native advertising solutions and other customised packages.

“We are passionate about building solutions that deliver on clients objectives – be that across one or multiple channels,” said Bischoff. “Ultimately, we believe that brands require the same thing: A sales house which can provide excellent service, deep client relationships in the market and that can deliver great insight led campaigns for advertisers.”

Bischoff said TheSouthAfrican’s “content creators” would be the key differentiator, allowing them to offer “truly customised opportunities that will include not only a display presence, but multiple content touchpoints that will truly integrate clients into targeted and contextually relevant sections in the environment”.

Added to this was TheSouthAfrican’s strong mobile presence, and this would be a key focus for Mediamark.

Bischoff said the audience was “robust, growing and quite unique in its make-up and reach, and the way they engage, so we will be sure to take advantage of all of these factors”.

Mediamark has a powerful portfolio of partners, which would allow the company to bring them together and leverage off each others’ strengths. “A key example of this is Mediamark’s intention to use its extensive broadcast footprint to create integrated radio and digital campaigns,” he explained. “Our regional radio stations have a deep affinity for South Africa, matching our lucrative high LSM audiences across channels. This makes TheSouthAfrican a good match that will allow us to extend our reach of audiences across multiple mediums.”

He said until recently, TheSouthAfrican’s sales efforts had focused on international advertising, catering to expats, rather than in-country sales teams. Bischoff said the international team would continue selling outside of South Africa, while Mediamark would represent the site at home.

TheSouthAfrican began as a print paper for expatriates living in the United Kingdom. With Blue Sky Publications, it evolved in 2003 into an online platform. Now, in 2019, it attracts around four million unique browsers and 12 million page views per month.

“The website has also shown aggressive growth, almost doubling its unique browsers since last September 2018,” said Bischoff. “Advertisers have always advertised in newspapers – whether it was to capitalise on the daily or weekly reading habit, or to target specific target market or environments in newspapers. The migration of readers to consume news digitally is exploding and we need to convince advertisers to move to these lucrative areas of digital advertising, particularly using consumer data to target ads, persuading major legacy advertisers to also advertise online and moving into new revenue areas.”

Discussions began three months ago, with both companies undergoing “exhaustive” due diligence to ensure the partnership was a good fit.

“Mediamark has also been very careful in building its digital portfolio, ensuring that all the partners we bring on fit well not only within the digital division, but across the business,” Bischoff said. “It’s also important that we can be sure that we can deliver on the numbers that we promise, and all too often networks can grow beyond the sales teams ability to deliver on this promise. This is a scenario that we have always been very careful to avoid.”

James Durrant, commercial director at TheSouthAfrican, said it was Mediamark’s proven sales track record, as well as the ability to create innovative marketing solutions for clients, that made them the right partner. “With capabilities such as its creative lab, world-class traffic and billing system and market intelligence team, they are well positioned to help us grow our revenues,” he said.