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  • Speed Date with Hanel Arieli, Operations Manager at Reach Africa

    Give us your elevator pitch: Who is Hanel? The greatest blessings in my life are; being married to an incredible man and being a mom to our twin boys (men) and my matriculant daughter. My combined business experience positioned me well to lead and support the force of Reach Africa. I joined Reach Africa in 2021 with no advertising experience except for consuming ads during my everyday life. My journey has been marked by learning, growth, commitment, making a positive impact and staying true to myself. I can honestly say that I don't see myself in another industry. Tell us something no one knows about you. I'm inactive on social media (so you'll never What series are you currently bingeing? Chicago Med, Fire & PD What is one thing you want your advertisers to know about Reach Africa? At Reach Africa we are a solid unit of diverse humans, with each individual empowering the other to be the best version of themselves. We strive to be the market leader in digital ad solutions.

  • Streaming, skipping, staring at the screen, spell-bound – how the way we watch TV has changed

    The millennial generation is now all grown up – and so has the world of media that surrounds us. And while our eyes have yet to turn square, as threatened by our parents, our viewing habits have fundamentally changed. The days when you would see the whole family slouched on the couch, tuned in to watch the latest episode of The Fresh Prince, are very much in the past. As technology progresses, the broadcast basket has expanded to see a plethora of new streaming players enter the market. Our adoption curve has ramped up and we’ve become sophisticated digital citizens, which entails a change in how we consume broadcast content. While there are massive shifts in the global television audience, there are also certain factors that are unique to the South African landscape, which give rise to a distinct set of behaviours. Here’s how our viewing habits have changed over the past few years. From zombie to zealot There are different viewer ‘states’, meaning how we consume content and our general receptiveness to outside intervention.  We can categorise these as an ‘active’ viewing state (think of a sports fan yelling at the referee on a screen) and a ‘passive’ viewing state. The square-eyed TV zombie might be a stereotype, but there’s certainly truth in the fact that certain television content nudges us into a passive viewing state, where we mindlessly consume what is shown on the screen before us. Our viewing state will determine the level of attention that content gets. Consider a podcast on a niche topic, such as mental health, which broadcasts bespoke content to a highly-engaged audience. Streaming generally pushes audiences into a more active viewing state. We choose what we want to watch, when we want to watch it, and we pay for it. Streaming brings us back to a fully-engaged, zealous viewing state – like we saw in the early days of TV. We’re invested now. From appointment to on-demand Appointment viewing is where a viewer would tune in to watch a certain show, on a certain night, at a certain time. There’s a few things that have catalysed a huge shift away from appointment-based to on-demand viewing. The first factor, unsurprisingly, was the Covid-19 pandemic. When consumers were trapped at home, we saw a boom in streaming services. Our workday had changed during lockdown, with people working all hours of the day, and no longer willing to only watch their favourite shows at certain times. Viewers became accustomed to the convenience and freedom that on-demand viewing entailed, and even with the pandemic in the past, these behaviours remain. Secondly is the not-so-little factor of loadshedding. When it goes dark, consumers now access their favourite shows on their charged-up laptop or cellphone. As a result, we’ve seen viewers move away from the TV and toward their devices, where they can stream their favourite shows or movies to their hearts’ content. Finally, is the power of the algorithm. The intelligence of streaming services is getting smarter and algorithms are increasingly sophisticated. We’re becoming accustomed to having a viewing experience curated and customised to our personal preferences – and we aren’t going back. From fee to Freemium As the proliferation of streaming services continues, competition for eyeballs heats up. But SA viewers remain under financial pressure thanks to the rising cost of living and so, we’re fickle. If budget is limited, we’ll cancel our Showmax subscription when The Gentlemen is on Netflix one month, and then cancel Netflix in favour of Showmax when Tracking Thabo Bester is on the next. Added to this is the fact that big players, such as Netflix, are reaching saturation point in their subscriber bases, and are looking for new ways to monetise. As a result, streaming providers are increasingly offering ad-funded programming or ad-supported tiers to prevent stagnation in their viewer numbers, while viewers will be looking to providers to offer more value. Viu is an example of an AVOD platform that dominates the local market. This is where the ‘freemium’ and AVOD models are rapidly gaining ground, as cost-conscious viewers don’t have to rack up steep subscription fees. Instead, they can binge their favourite shows in exchange for watching a couple of ads.

  • Burning up your screens

    We’ve rounded up our top picks of the most binge-worthy shows from your favourite streamers. You’re welcome. Skeem Saam It’s Viu’s most-watched show for a reason. This SA drama shines a light on the plight of today’s African boys, and the challenges they face transitioning into manhood. Kick back with the Kunutus and friends while you stream the first three episodes for free. Available on Viu (first three episodes free) and SABC 1 Our rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Story of Park’s Marriage Contract If you’re still riding the K-wave hard after Squid Game, this K-drama is for you. The show follows the story of Park Yeon Woo, a lady from an influential family in the 19th century, who suffers a tragic fate when she loses her husband. In a fantastical twist of events, she travels through space to present-day Seoul, only to be saved by a man who looks eerily familiar… Available on Viu (first three episodes free) Our rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ The Gentlemen We’re loving the criminal antics of British high society in this posh and perilous new show by Guy Ritchie. When aristocratic Eddie inherits the family estate, he discovers that it's home to an enormous weed empire — and its proprietors aren't going anywhere. Available on Netflix  (R199 per month) Our rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Tracking Thabo Bester Racking up the most-day first views of any documentary on Showmax ever, Tracking Thabo Bester is a true-crime look at the convicted murderer and rapist who was the most-Googled person in South Africa in 2023, earning him the title of Daily Maverick’s “SA Villain of the Year.” Available on Showmax  (R89 per month) Our rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  • Speed Date with Adiela Dramat, Senior Client Partner at Reach Africa

    Who is Adiela Dramat? And go! Drop the T, because I prefer coffee! (Good) Drama Queen of the boardroom! Millennial mom to two boys, who is based in Cape Town. Twenty years of media and marketing experience across various disciplines. What series are you currently bingeing? I'm more into movies; I love musicals and movies that are based on real events. The last movie I enjoyed with my boys was Grand Turismo and the next one we’re looking forward to is Dune: Part Two. What is the single biggest thing that will influence how South Africans consume content this year? The SA consumer is a global consumer – in everything, but especially entertainment. What affects how we consume content? Loadshedding, accessible fibre and affordable data. Where do you see content monetisation heading? Across any and all devices. If I need to pick one, it will be the Smart(er) TV. Being audio and sound-enabled via an app and with camera features for social interactions in real-time will lend itself to an enhanced VR experience. Best part of your job? Being at the forefront of digital solutions for ad agencies and brands. Being able to offer the industry something across more than one vertical and maintaining a relevant space at the table.

  • Hot local content just makes good business sense

    The success of MultiChoice’s Shaka iLembe – its best-performing drama series to date, once again demonstrates South Africa’s appetite for local content. The debut episode was seen by 4.3 million viewers – the highest viewership MultiChoice has recorded for a single episode of scripted content. The show, which tells the tale of the Zulu king, is not only a locally-resonant story, but it also features a local cast and is produced by local production company, Bomb Productions. Then there’s SABC’s Uzalo, available on Viu. Uzalo remained the number one most-watched show in South Africa in December 2023, racking up over 5.8 million views, while Skeem Saam, also available on SABC and Viu, remains hot on its heels. Look to linear TV. The top ten shows currently are all local. Now look to subscription TV; again, all local. What is this telling advertisers? Local content just makes business sense. Urban Brew Studios Keletso Rakuemakoe summed up the ‘why’ well: ”This trend is driven by…a desire for content that reflects the diverse experiences and identities of South Africans, a growing sense of national pride, and an increased investment in the local entertainment industry by broadcasters and production companies.” And what’s even more interesting to note is how great local content is growing South African streaming audiences. Viu, recently hit 4,6 million monthly active users. eVOD, eMedia’s streaming service which also boasts a strong local content focus, announced in June that it had reached a milestone, acquiring 800,000 registrations within two short years following its launch. South Africa has a youthful population with a median age of 27 years, and younger people are generally very comfortable with streaming services and accessing content via multiple devices. This, combined with the fact that the public and private sectors are on an aggressive drive to bring low-cost internet to more people, means rapid growth and new opportunities – even in a market with historically patchy internet penetration. Says the Africa OTT TV and Video Forecasts 2023 report, “Africa will have 15.57 million paying subscription video on demand (SVOD) subscriptions by 2028, up from 6.15 million at end-2022,” while PwC’s industry insights report, Africa Entertainment and Media Outlook 2022-2026, has stated that VOD’s revenue growth outlook is expected to outpace TV subscription revenue by 2026. This demand for local content will only grow as heavy hitters such as Viu and Netflix – encouraged by viewer eyeballs – invest more into African content production. And so, for advertisers, exploring local content opportunities and including streaming in your platform stack just makes good business sense.

  • Three things that will shape advertising in 2024

    In a turbulent macro-environment, shifts in consumer behaviour become especially difficult to predict. The past few years have been extremely tough on South Africans from a financial standpoint, thanks to the pandemic, loadshedding, skyrocketing interest rates – hell, even the shortage of eggs. But South Africans keep it moving. We take a pressurised environment in our stride  –  because we’ve always had to. We’ve built extreme resilience, becoming ultra-inventive in how we survive. This agility, however, means that consumer behaviour becomes more difficult to precisely predict. So while we admit to having no crystal ball, here are three major events that we believe will shape SA’s advertising landscape in 2024 – and how marketers will respond. The third-party cookie goes – the rise of the contextually relevant ad With data privacy concerns on the rise, Google has announced its plans to decommission third-party cookies, in line with a more privacy-conscious approach. This is a big one for advertisers, with 41% of marketers anticipating that the loss of the cookie will be their biggest hurdle in coming years, as they lose access to their consumers’ browsing habits and demographical data. Marketers will need to work even harder, and the contextually relevant ad – created in accordance with users’ preferences – is expected to come into its own, as advertisers focus heavily on clever ways of tapping into their audiences’ interests. The Attention Economy remains a battleground – in-game advertising to boom The Attention Economy – a battle for consumer attention as the ad landscape becomes increasingly noisy and human attention spans, in turn, wane – remains a huge focus for marketers in 2024. In parallel, the in-game advertising sector is expected to ignite interest, as marketers realise that gaming offers a highly captive, rapidly expanding audience. A Carry1st study has indicated that over a six-year period, the number of gamers in sub-Saharan Africa rose to 186 million people, more than doubling. Of this number, the vast majority (95%) are reported as playing on mobile, proving the Sub-Saharan Africa mobile gaming market to be the fastest-growing in the world. While gaming offers a completely captive audience, the key is for advertising to become part of the gaming experience – gamers do not want their playing interrupted with videos. Advertisers must discover unobtrusive, impactful ways to seamlessly insert their brands into the gaming environment while penetrating the gamer’s subconscious. Traditional media dominated by the elections – more eyeballs on digital This year is election year and you can expect the ANC, DA, EFF and all the smaller parties to be vying for our votes across every traditional media channel they can access. For consumers, this barrage of election news means that the current length of our goldfish-like attention spans shortens even further. For marketers, this also means that the cost of traditional media advertising will skyrocket, as parties pump huge money into advertising. For this reason, brands typically pull back spending in an election year, as it becomes too pricey. However, this provides more legroom for digital, which is more agile, has a lower cost barrier and a shorter turn-around time. Despite the political noise and loadshedding, TV remains a powerful medium but brands need to be far more strategic in how they insert their messages into the content. No one is interested in ads, they tune in for the content. Now, if you can work your brand into the script of a popular TV show that you know is watched by your consumer, for example, you will have far more brand resonance.

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