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Ads24 Media Solutions keep their clients in touch with market insights

The “Celebrate Sundays Java Session: Hindsight is so 2020” webinar, hosted by Ads24 Media Solutions, provided their clients with the insights to navigate the currently choppy waters of business. Britta Reid shares her insights.

Opening the session Gayle Edmunds, Content Editor: Ads24 Media Solutions asked Rapport Editor-in-Chief, Waldimar Pelser and City Press Editor-in-Chief Mondli Makhanya to reflect on the lessons learnt during the pandemic and the challenges the country faces.

Globalisation is great, until…

Pelser ironically observed that globalisation is great, until a pandemic strikes. Dealing with the challenges required huge global co-operation, effort and resource in areas such as vaccine development and the identification of new strains. On the other hand, when it came to implementation, governments in nation states had to be able do their jobs. Both levels have to be balanced.

Makhanya opined that a lesson that still needed to be learnt was how to fight something like a pandemic without destroying the economy and livelihoods. Whilst the response was understandable, he believed that tactics, other than the sledgehammer or “pardoef”, approach needed to be found. The lesson of global co-operation had been imperfectly learnt, with vaccine nationalism trumping the greater good. Another lesson for the future was to take a softer, more persuasive approach to getting citizens to comply with regulations. Heavy-handed approaches had created resentment.

Democratic project under threat

The democratic project had been under threat for some time Makhanya stated: COVID-19 had provided the cover for anti-democrats to amass and exercise power. It raised the question of whether citizens should ever again allow governments to exercise so much power over their lives. Pelser concurred that the ease with which people accepted restrictions could be attributed to fear.

People no longer know who to trust; if populations cannot agree on facts, then it becomes impossible to run projects in the public interests. The media has a huge responsibility to check and present credible facts. Pelser warned that if governments want to keep populist movements in check, they need to understand their citizens.

Challenges for the South African government

Pelser suggested that the South African government could regain the trust of its strained and weary citizens, if it takes meaningful action on corruption. The roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine also presented an opportunity.  Rather than providing more social grants, the government needed to focus on economic growth and job creation. Makhanya underlined that the government must tackle these areas with urgency. Rather than speechifying, the government needed to implement the plans contained in the National Development Plan and National Recovery Plan to attract investment.

Pelser doubted whether the scheduled elections would take place: the current situation does not favour the two major parties. This would be a great blow to democracy Makhanya believed, because politicians needed to have a limited timeframe against which to deliver.

Consumers want caring brands

The second half of the session focused on the results of a survey, carried out by Forum24, in January 2021, via an online panel mirroring the readership of Rapport and City Press.

Edmunds revealed that nine out of ten readers believed brands should support social movements e.g. Black Lives Matter and ending Gender-Based Violence; three out of four are prepared to switch to a competitor whose values resonated more with their own. Readers strongly believed that buying local will help to re-start the economy.

Ecommerce opportunities

With 45% of the readers doing more online shopping than previously, Tasmia Ismail, General Manager Commercial: Ads24 Media Solutions, pointed out that the ecommerce journey satisfaction was crucial. There is great scope for growth for smaller businesses in this area. Ads24 Media Solutions can create ecommerce solutions and assist in the marketing of them, whilst Media24 has the fulfilment capability.

Credibility reach and accessibility

Liezel De Lange, Managing Editor: Rapport, stressed that the way people consume news has been changing for some time. Traditional and owned media remain trusted sources of news, while social media and Google do not create content.

Changing lifestyles

Readers still place importance on current and economic affairs, financial health and education, but there is a growing interest in lifestyle topics such as home improvements and fitness. The Sunday news brands are well placed as they have always provided a broad mix of news and lifestyle editorial, helping their readers put together their best lives. One in three readers now define themselves as foodies (and a similar number now plan to lose weight in the next six to twelve months!)

Readers are looking to upgrade their cellphones, data access, laptops and P/Cs, as well as TV sets in order to keep themselves and their families connected and informed. Editorial has provided them with advice in these areas.

Reader concerns

De Lange pointed out that whilst 58% of readers had been able to save during the pandemic, they were not better off. 90% of readers were concerned about their financial status, with half of them reviewing their financial arrangements. Savings on travel, fuel, alcohol and entertainment were offset by increased expenditure on food and groceries, tech and vitamins. Nearly all readers (eight out of ten) were concerned about their children’s education.


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