Kirsh remains loyal to media as it evolves with technology
William Kirsh has not discounted a JSE listing, but for now he is quietly building his new media empire, writes Thabiso Mochiko
Try as he might, William Kirsh cannot escape his media roots. The founding CEO of Primedia has positioned his new company, Tritech Media, as a media technology group.
About six years ago, Kirsh launched Value+ Nettwork, which had a major focus on loyalty programmes and made a number of acquisitions in line with this strategy. But in August 2015, Kirsh revised his strategy and renamed the company Tritech Media because Value+ Nettwork had a narrowly focused strategy.
Loyalty is still part of Tritech Media, but the group has evolved into what Kirsh describes as a media technology company using proprietary technology to deliver customised content over digital media.
Tritech has 20 companies and three distinct business units mainly providing communication platforms, which includes real-time location-based marketing in and around shopping malls as well as to commuters.
"We now have a huge portfolio of businesses that can provide customised or corporate precise communications, which is a more accountable form of advertising than traditional media — which are not able to engage precisely with the consumer — and provide exact return on investment to advertisers," says Kirsh.
Being rooted in technology and digital media, the businesses are highly scalable, he says.
Scalability allows additional revenue to fall to the bottom at little or no cost, "which makes this business model a lot more valuable than traditional media", says Kirsh.
In addition, traditional media do not have the ability to customise content for consumers, says Kirsh. "Customised content allows consumers to choose the content they want, when they want it and from whatever digital device," he says.
According to research firm Forrester’s 2017 media industry predictions, there will be a shift by media companies towards the integration of advertising technologies and marketing technology, capitalising on the data these media entities have in their back pockets.
Tritech’s priority is to reach the consumer mainly through all-pervasive cellphones. "This is becoming the preferred medium of communications by advertisers," says Kirsh.
Complementary businesses in Tritech are starting to work together, which enables advertisers to track the entire consumer journey.
An example is real-time location businesses ProximityID and Ionizer, which can integrate with KaChing, which uses licence-plate recognition technology at malls to open boom gates.
Although the business has shifted focus, loyalty is still key to its growth.
All major retailers have a loyalty programme and many more need one as they aim to retain existing clients.
Tritech subsidiary One Point is working on a single application platform that will give consumers the ability to see all their loyalty cards and the points they have, and enable them to exchange points from one programme to another.
Commenting on loyalty programmes, Adrian Zanetti, MD at NEXT Solutions, says customers today are more empowered than ever, because they can access information about products and services over the internet in real time.
"This is why brands should keep reinventing themselves and stay relevant.
"The key is a customer benefit programme that operates on a personal level with customers, treating them as individuals and taking care of their unique life moments, at that specific point in time," says Zanetti.
Tritech is pursuing international acquisitions and one of its subsidiaries, Colony, is already testing its platform with 12 radio stations in Mississippi in the US.
Kirsh says he would not discount a JSE listing, but for now he is quietly building his new media empire.