Universal McCann’s Suliman predicts Year for Online advertisement in Africa

Technology & Convergence

The challenge this year for advertisers is to really connect with their consumers in credible spaces online and learn how to become part of their personal space with an authentic voice, not 'client or brand-speak', predicts Nazeer Suliman, Universal McCann South Africa GM in his broad predictions for 2008.

Q: Adspend generally, do you predict a slow down or a continued upward spiral for 2008?

I don't think we'll see a marked downward trend. Global and local trends show strong growth. However, the continued upward hike in interest rates, may well impact ad-spend further down the line - considering that early indications point to a slowdown in the economy.

Q: General trends/usage of print, radio, TV, outdoor, out of home - where is the money going to go. TV will always be king but who will the other winners be and who will suffer?

The current profile of spend by media type will continue into 2008. However, if anything, 2008 will be the year for online, when it finally comes into its own. We will see more communications companies gearing up with online/digital offerings and capabilities. Advertisers will grow more confident in "colonising" this space after more than a decade of slow experimentation and exploration. This will in most part be driven by an increase in online access and broader consumer appeal.

Q:Online and mobile - predictions for 2008 - increased usage or more of the same? Your views on social networking/ blogs / podcasts etc as media channels?

Mobile penetration will continue to grow as the three mobile network operators battle it out in the lower to middle end of the market. It's the only viable segment to fuel volume growth. Online access will continue to grow, in part to new product offerings and convergence (internet access bundled with existing technology products). Social networking will surge, claiming new addicts - it's better than crack! Successes like Facebook that combine networking with the ability to "blog", "message", "game" and upload personal paraphernalia will continue. The challenge for advertisers will be to carve a credible space in these areas by facilitating the "personal user drivers" that fuel the social networking phenomenon. This means that advertisers will have to get out of "broadcast"/ "intrusive" /"target" mode and learn how to genuinely "befriend" their prospective "mates" with credibility.

Q:What do clients / media agencies / media owners need to do to engage more with consumers / what more we can be done for communication to stand out?

Agencies will continue to demand flexibility from media owners in driving communication innovation. The standardised production lines of most media owners will come under continued strain as agencies continue to demand anything but the standard. New connection options will challenge traditional media owner power. Clients will continue to up-skill and reconfigure their marketing departments to meet the continued growth in market and consumer complexity and the challenges that this brings.


Nigeria: Amake says BOB TV 2008, a Time to Build Capacity for Broadcast And Film Industry

As the countdown to BOB TV 2008 begins, organiser Amaka Igwe told us that the entire programme is being packaged as a contribution to helping build capacity in both sectors where Nigeria has made significant inroads since 1992 when the broadcast industry was deregulated, a development that coincided with the coming of the Nigerian home video, later christened Nollywood.

Just in the final days of last year, JWT, one of the biggest US advertising agencies marked out Nollywood as one of the 80 things to watch this year.

It is a global rating and one of the very few from Africa. In spite of the global popularity and following, at home Nollywood suffers some snipes, jeers and contempt treatment over quality thus giving vent to perennial call for some kind of programmes that will help build capacity in the sector.

Being one of the prime movers of Nollywood Igwe said the 2008 programme will help build this capacity as she is putting together a comprehensive package that will look at the various sensitive features of Nollywood and broadcasting. Local and international experts will address the various packages.

Theme of the 2008 programme is Greater Heights for African Films and this will be addressed by four major conferences under the subheads - Filmmakers, Finance, Broadcasters and Advertisers.

The knowledge of the organisers most of who have traveled extensively pursuing broadcast and movie concerns is demonstrated in the diversity of topics put together and constellation of personalities they have assembled to address the issues.

There will be a lot of focus on new media which today occupies the height of most broadcast discourse across the world. The reason being the advent of digital formats and high definition facilities which have altered the way creative business is done.

There seems to also be a deliberate invitation to the financial sector operators to play their role in the industry as they will gather to discourse importance of finance to the broadcast and film sectors and how all the parties can interface with each other.

Theme of the Filmmakers Colloquium is: Arts, Business and Politics: Strange Bedfellows? This will be addressed by a veteran in the sector, Chief Frank Okonta, boss of Nkem Gallery based in Lagos.

But the sparks will really begin to flow when the session on Finance opens. With the sub- theme: Infrastructural Development for the Entertainment Industries, the panel will be chaired by Mrs. Cecelia Ibru, MD/CEO, Oceanic while the lead paper will be discussed by Mr. Albert Okumagba, MD/CEO, BGL.

Others in the team are: Gabriel Ize-Iyamu, Ex-Director, UBA, Kene Mkparu, GM, Odeon Cinema, London, Tony Ikoku, MD, Minaj TV, Henry Nelson, Executive Director, Ecobank, Ben Murray-Bruce, CEO, Silverbird Group, and Charles Igwe, MD, Big Pictures. The session will be chaired by Dr. Raymond Dokpesi, Executive Chairman of Daar Communications plc, owners of Raypower FM and AIT.

The Broadcast Colloquium will focus on Broadcasting in Africa and the Challenges of New Media. The lead paper titled: Regulatory Environment and the New Media, will be delivered by Engr. Bolarinwa of the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC. While most of the other discussants in the team, from advertising to private and public broadcasting, will also explore the growing importance of new media to their relevant fields.

The Advertisers Forum will focus on Global Trends in Audience Delivery. Featuring here are: Dan Isiekpe who will speak on Audience Sophistication and New Media; Reality TV and African Audience, Myths and Realities by Charles Odibo, Bank PHB; The Rising Profile of Sports TV Properties by Rotimi Pedro, OSMI; Interactive TV, Game Shows and Nigerian Audience by Femi Ayeni, Ultima Communications, and Tajudeen Adepetu of Consolidated Media, among others.

Igwe pointed out that other features of the programe like the Programes Market and Exhibition, and the University Challenge will still feature, but this time more robust. She informed there is provision for participants in the programme to shoot a film in a day, edit before evening of that same day and send the film for screening in the evening.

(Vanguard (Lagos), 9 January 2008)

Liberia: Ledgerhood Rennie Resigns

The Station Manager of Radio VERITAS, Ledgerhood Rennie has resigned. institution. Rennie, who has gone into history as one of the youngest Liberian to head a radio station, is credited for moving VERITAS from a community facility to a national broadcast medium. Over the years as manager Rennie maintained the reputation and credibility of the station; thus making it one of the nation's most respected and reliable.

(The Inquirer (Monrovia), 14 January 2008)

Feature Film Production Grants : Call for Submissions

In its continuing effort to promote original filmmaking by individuals from around the world, The Global Film Initiative has again announced a Call for Applications for the Spring cycle of its feature-film Production Grants programme. This year, The Global Film Initiative will award Production Grants of up to $10,000 each, to select applicants during its Spring granting cycle.



29 Jan – 1 Feb 2008, Sandton, Johannesburg, South Africa

Covering National Switchover Frameworks and Planning, the Digital Dividend, the Results of WRC 07, Dual Illumination, the Broadcasting Skills Shortage, African Content Production as well as a host of other critical issues that were raised in the 2007 event.


- 29th Durban International Film Festival

23rd July-3rd August 2008 – Durban, South Africa