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Media monitoring powerhouse Media Host acquires PEAR

Media Host is solidifying its leadership in the fields of marketing, advertising workflow, distribution solutions and broadcast monitoring, with the acquisition of Professional Evaluation and Research (Pty) Ltd. (PEAR), and plans to expand the group across Africa.

SA’s marketing technology solutions provider, Media Host, acquired PEAR, the first female Black-owned media monitoring and research company in South Africa. PEAR, alongside Adlytics and Adstream, now operates as a subsidiary of the Media Host group, with PEAR founder and CEO Shanaaz Nel taking the reins as Group CEO. Mike Smit, founder and former Managing Director of Media Host, will serve on the board and move into the role of Chief Strategy Officer of the group.

The acquisition builds a strong, integrated entity delivering end-to-end logistics and content distribution services, with a host of advanced research and analytical tools to increase brands’ knowledge and presence across the media landscape.

Smit says Media Host is now uniquely positioned to deliver on marketing needs in a changed landscape. ‘The pandemic seemed to accelerate acceptance of technology and demand for automation and data-driven advertising strategy. We will see automation taking over completely, and future decisions will be made on data. Now, advertisers are targeting individuals instead of demographics,’ he says.

‘The increasingly fractured media landscape and the emergence of new mediums and workflows is forcing brands and agency owners to seek highly specific skill sets with the expertise and experience to manage the risks of this new way of work. Media Host sits at the intersection of these new dynamics, providing the tech and expertise to build the central nervous system that every successful modern agency needs: an effective and efficient central traffic management platform, combined with a revolutionary dashboard to track compliance and provide competitor insights. These are exciting times for the sector, and my focus now is to strategically grow this business into a serious player across the continent.’

Nel believes for PEAR, this new chapter presents an opportunity to expand its reach and further enhance the advanced systems the company has been developing over the past 14 years.

With world-class tools built in-house to monitor and analyse media content, PEAR has been an industry leader since 2009. PEAR’s systems allow customers to track and report on content across South African, African and international print, radio, TV and digital media to assign value to exposure, analyse sentiment and explore competitor marketing. PEAR’s monitoring covers over 3,000 print publications, over 120 radio stations, 966 million websites and social media channels.

‘We have big plans. We want to expand into Africa, taking a consistent holistic proposition to market and exposing broadcasting in Africa to the whole world,’ says Nel.

Dr Jaco Pienaar, Media Host Chief Communications Officer and former Chief Knowledge Officer of PEAR has seen the entity grow from 10 people 14 years ago, to a group comprising around 160 staff members nationally. ‘Over the years, we have seen a lot of change in the industry and the group has adapted to meet evolving needs,’ he says. ‘While automation and analytics are key for our clients, we also see a growing need for expert consulting partners who have a deep understanding of the environment and can guide them on a strategic path. Clients are also shifting from multiple contracts to consolidated service contracts, and we are now perfectly positioned to serve as a one stop shop offering services across the board. At the same time, Africa is booming and there’s an influx of global companies wanting to understand the continent. We are ideally positioned to help them do so.’

Nel says Media Host’s comprehensive, data-focused offering will position the group for strong growth in the years to come. ‘As the CEO of the first black woman-owned media monitoring company in South Africa, and now CEO of a group of companies that is growing exponentially, my passion is for organisation and developing people. As the company grows across the continent, my focus will be to build our capacity to deliver on the big picture,’ she says.

She looks forward to building relationships with the creative agencies and advertising teams that Media Host has been serving for many years.  ‘We will continue to provide new and exciting products and services that drive strategic decisions for our clients and know that they will continue to enjoy the Media Host experience.’

Nel says that while the group is growing its reach and revenues, it also remains a responsible corporate citizen, continuously striving to develop local skills through bursaries, internships and mentorship. It also supports initiatives such as the Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation, the NSRI, TREK4MANDELA, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Trust, Pink Drive and CANSA.

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