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The theme of the 24th Pamro conference was 'Resilience & Innovation: navigating the media landscape in Africa'.
The theme of the 24th Pamro conference was 'Resilience & Innovation: navigating the media landscape in Africa'.
Image: 123RF/rawpixel

Pamro’s annual conference is an opportunity for media owners, marketers, brand managers and advertising executives to share current research methodologies, as well as best practice, challenges, successes and failures. The theme of the 24th conference was “Resilience & Innovation: navigating the media landscape in Africa”.

The winning Pamro paper was presented by Matt Angus-Hammond, regional director for West Africa at GeoPoll. His paper, “The Democratic Republic of Congo Media Landscape Survey 2023: Context, Execution and Insights”, shared the story of why and how GeoPoll conducted the biggest-ever media audience survey in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and what insights it revealed about this crucially important but poorly understood market.

Second place went to Technology & Analytics director Mehdi Aman and Integrate MD Siham Malek for their paper “Overcoming Memory Bias: A Non-Invasive Methodology for Tracking Digital Behaviour in Morocco”. As the digital landscape continues to evolve, capturing in-moment digital behaviour becomes increasingly vital. Traditional survey methods often depend on respondents’ memory, resulting in recall biases that can distort the data.

The paper was based on research that introduces a non-invasive, agile, respondent-friendly and automated data collection approach designed to track real-time digital behaviour and counteract memory bias. By using self-reported data, it avoids the necessity of intrusive tracking apps on the respondent’s device, enhancing user privacy. Operating under tight timelines and using an offline approach, Integrate, an affiliate of Kantar, employed a mobile panel representative of Morocco’s digital population for the study.

The innovative methodology, combining segmentation and diary methodologies with Integrate’s data collection tool, Nfield, and automated data quality checks, facilitated rapid fieldwork and operational responsiveness and emphasised data quality. Within one week, the company had collected 2,985 data points, leading to the first digital segmentation in Morocco and attracting significant media attention. In-moment studies such as these hold immense potential for understanding usage, attitudes and media consumption habits, signalling a new era in the study of digital behaviour.

Third place went to a paper titled “Learnings from India on Effective Use of Return Path Measurement Data — Building blocks for adapting change in Africa’s Video Content Research”, presented by Nitin Kamat, chief growth & partnerships officer at TAM Media Research, and Tejas Naik, senior vice-president of strategy group & business development at TAM Media Research. With Africa and India sharing a similar media diversity and growing popularity of multidistribution platforms for audiences, there is an opportunity to learn, adapt and accelerate growth trends with effective use of return path measurement data in Africa. The paper focused on how TAM Media transformed usage of audience measurement with its case studies.

Gen Z thrives in the social media realm ... [it] not only seeks entertainment and creative expression but also uses social media for digital activism

Nosipho Gama, executive head of department responsible for business enablement at DStv Media Sales, and Kunal Panja, research and insight lead Africa, UK & Europe at Borderless Access, presented a paper titled “Brighter prospects for the African consumer”. Africa is poised to outpace Asia as the world’s fastest-growing region, and in the future is expected to contribute 38% of the world’s population.

With the internet and technology helping to transform Africans’ lifestyle and behaviour, DStv connected directly with consumers in an un-intrusive way through Borderless Access’s always-on, deeply pre-profiled online panellists. The paper explored how Africans adapted to a fast-paced lifestyle, urbanisation and technology transformation, and explained the consequential impact and evolution of media consumption habits.

Melissa Webb, senior client director at Human8, presented a paper titled “Unleashing Africa’s potential within the media & entertainment space”. Seamlessly blending physical and digital worlds, Gen Z thrives in the social media realm, with platforms such as YouTube, TikTok and Instagram playing a central role in their lives. This digital-native generation not only seeks entertainment and creative expression but also uses social media for digital activism, such as the #FreedomToBeMe campaign, where they express their perspectives on Freedom Day in Africa. They are venturing into the metaverse, engaging in online gaming, creating avatars and embracing virtual experiences.

Africa’s first metaverse, Africarare, is gaining momentum as a platform that showcases African creativity and connects the continent to the global digital economy. In this transformative year, the media and entertainment sector faces the challenge of balancing online connectivity with the need for meaningful connections and social wellbeing. Audiences, which include Gen Z, desire authentic and relatable content, rejecting the “picture perfect” mentality often found on social media.

The paper explored how media brands can shape the future by facilitating social wellbeing and championing sustainability. By redefining values, partnering with organisations and acting on social wellbeing goals, it concluded that media brands can have a positive impact and resonate with the socially conscious younger generations in Africa.

Nielsen SA’s Terry Murphy and Peter Langschmidt presented a paper titled “Fusion”, which covered all the principles of fusion and explained how it works, as well as its inherent advantages over classic single-source surveys. The paper included case studies and examples from projects that have been done in SA with the PAMS hub survey and TV, radio, digital and brands data donor surveys.

Paul Ruston, business development director at Ipsos MediaCell, delivered a paper titled “Cracking Cross-Media Measurement — learnings on resilience and innovation”. Advances in technology and changes in behaviour have made understanding cross-media usage a top priority for audience measurement. The paper provided insights from cross-media services it has developed on how users are consuming media by platform. It also offered views on how measurement may evolve and on future opportunities for the region.

Ditsotlhe Ketlogetswe, MD of Venture Bliss, delivered a paper titled “Botswana Audience Measurement Survey”. The measurement programme included a national establishment survey to ascertain the TV and radio universes in addition to giving a full overview of all media in Botswana, as well as lifestyle and brand usage. It also included a weekly mobile diary of TV and radio station listenership, which is combined with TV station logs to determine programme and genre audiences.

Benjamin Rietti, a director at E-Tabs, presented a paper titled “Size does not matter. Meeting highly demanding reporting needs through automation”. Report automation is often thought of as limited to just mass generation of charts, but it can be so much more than that. The paper discussed how it is possible to automate even the finest of details on PowerPoint and Google Slides reporting — ideal for trackers and multimarket projects, but even applicable to ad-hoc studies. Report automation has been demonstrated to save up to 80% of reporting time compared with manual methods, offering opportunities to not only drastically reduce turnaround time on report production but ensure optimal accuracy too.

The presentation highlighted how even small teams are able to deliver on heavy reporting demands and meet clients’ increasingly demanding requests while enabling them to compete with much larger research firms and deliver high-quality reports that would be time- and cost-prohibitive if prepared manually.

Irada Sultanova, MD of Marsa, and Renata Uhlarikova, founding partner at Pure X Media, presented a paper titled “The TV currency in Azerbaijan — the new beginning!”. The paper was a sequel to a 2022 Pamro paper in which the “Do it yourself” approach undertaken by Azerbaijan was presented. Almost a year later, the service has been successfully launched and well received by the entire media industry. This year’s paper focused on the clients’ reactions to the new rating service and peeked into the data, the challenges after it went live, the impact the service has had on the industry, uptake by local and international entities, and the future of audience measurement in the country. It illustrated how a robust audience measurement system contributes to the performance of the media market in the country.

Ian Walker, a consultant and broadcasting station owner at Ultimate Media, presented a paper titled “Closing the Attribution Loop — the next generation of radio/TV measurement.” Radio has demonstrated that campaigns linking creative features to advertising effectiveness have been built on how audio can communicate and influence behaviour even when heard passively. Sadly, though, radio measurement has failed to provide brands with effective return on investment. The paper revealed how passive radio measurement, harnessing consumer data points, can close the attribution loop.

Ask Afrika’s Maria Petousis, executive for TGI & Benchmarks, and Mariëtte Erasmus, executive for Research Services, delivered a paper titled “Precision in message delivery”, which explained how data-driven insights play a critical role in shaping effective communication messaging.

Nathalie Sodeike, service line lead for AUM-syndicated media at Ipsos, and Joe Hall, head of audience insights at Euronews and Africanews, delivered a paper titled “Understanding Affluent African Audiences”. Wealthy audiences play a significant role in shaping trends and driving economies. They lead unique lifestyles that set them apart from the general population. Affluents are recognised as opinion leaders within their communities and professional spheres, making them influential figures. 

The impact of the pandemic has changed their lives: some behaviours have altered while other pre-pandemic habits have resurfaced. The presentation shared the latest insights from nine African markets and showcased how this powerful audience differs from affluent consumers in other regions and the general population. It also highlighted the clues that suggest that they are ready to spend again and their societal issues, and showcased how they are shaping modern business practices.

Daniel Wong-Chi-Man, global head of marketing and business development audience measurement at Ipsos, moderated a discussion with Doreen Bangapi, country manager at Ipsos Tanzania, titled “There’s news and there’s real news …”. Access to information, distribution of content and regulatory constraints vary from market to market. Media consumption is changing as audiences seek to understand the truth. Leveraging insights from recent studies, this paper highlighted how the rise of technology is affecting the way audiences consume media and the public perception surrounding the freedom of the press.

This article was sponsored by Pamro.

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