According to Accenture, local content alone will not be enough to stimulate more growth in the South African media market. The local media industry needs to evolve at a similar pace to the global industry, investing in digital capabilities and infrastructure, or risk being left behind.

Additionally, significant network and infrastructure improvements are required to address the challenges local media players face in terms of reaching audiences. The effective adoption of digital media technologies to unlock value will require a collaborative effort by all the stakeholders within the media industry, specifically, policymakers, industry bodies and business.

Three digital opportunities for South African media:

1. Hyper-personalisation and contextualisation

Having great content is no longer enough to stand out amid the overload of information that consumers face. Improved user engagement is now also an imperative for the media industry. Traditional methods of advertising fail to engage consumers – irrelevant adverts disrupt user experiences and promote the use of ad-blocking software. ‘Enhanced-pull’ personalised advertising helps to convey a brand’s value proposition to a more receptive audience.

Hyper-personalised user experiences, which could add R42 billion in value, are driven by advanced algorithms that use contextual information — such as content previously consumed, online behaviour, social media activity and connections, and location — to present users with the most contextually relevant personalised advertising and content recommendations.

2. Content fragmentation across platforms

Content is being distributed across a growing number of platforms, devices and mediums. The increasing amount of time spent by customers online, particularly on mobile devices, has amplified the demand for Over-The-Top (OTT) media platforms. Increased use of OTT services and the growing popularity of short-form content and second-screen services is changing broadcasting, presenting broadcasters with new advertising platforms by offering integrated services for both the first and second screen.

Advertisers can broadcast content to users on instant messaging and social platforms. These online platforms allow for the delivery of free and paid content and allow service providers to engage with consumers and monetise their customers’ activities. Netflix, for example, is an effective subscription-based OTT service that distinguishes itself by providing data-driven hyper-personalised recommendations to consumers for content consumption across multiple devices and by using analytics to determine what content to commission or licence.

3. Partnerships and convergence

Technology is enabling enterprises to partner with their audiences, using online platforms to fund or co-create innovative content, and deliver more engaging and interactive experiences.

Advanced analytics and collection of data from social media and online platforms enable content creators to incorporate the ideas of audiences when creating new content. This fosters additional consumer loyalty and engagement. Such digital additions to the industry (e.g., user-generated content) have the potential to generate an estimated value of R10 billion. Media companies will need to invest in digital analytics and platform capabilities to realise this value.

For more insight into the opportunity for value creation that digital technologies offer stakeholders in the South African media sector, and the steps they need to take to realise that value, click here.

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