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Driverless cars and OOH

Driverless Cars: The Death Knell for Roadside Billboards?

Craig Wallis, Business Unit Director at The MediaShop


I was recently provided with an interesting report by the US law firm, Venable LLP, entitled “The Future of OOH in a Self-Driving America“.

Being in the OOH industry, I thought it would make for an interesting read, and it has! I’ve taken the liberty of including a few excerpts from the report to summarise its findings:


In the US, 94% of vehicle crashes can be attributed to a human choice error. This has resulted in many motor manufacturers installing crash avoidance technologies and now we even have trials being conducted with driverless/fully automated vehicles (“AVs”).


In addition to safety advancements, AVs are poised to change the way consumers and businesses experience mobility and transportation. All vehicle occupants will be free to engage with stimuli both in and outside the vehicle. Some research indicates that this increased efficiency could reduce the time consumers spend in traffic.


Other research shows that AVs may increase time spent in vehicles as ‘drivers’ or passengers find longer commutes more tolerable, convenient, and more consumers may choose to use AVs over non-automotive transportation options. As AVs are able to drop off or pick up passengers on demand at precise locations, this efficiency and convenience could result in increased ridership of public transportation.

AVs can provide tremendous opportunities for communities with limited mobility options, such as those facing low income earnings, aging populations, or people with disabilities that are currently prevented from operating a motor vehicle.


So what does this disruptive technology mean to the OOH Industry?


Since drivers will no longer be focused on managing the multiple tasks needed while operating a vehicle, some commentators believe that AVs could allow a driver to engage more fully with their surrounding environments. Other researchers theorise that occupants would carry out more activities, such as work, conversation, using mobile devices, reading or watching videos. These activities will allow OOH and mobile app advertisers to co-ordinate messages across digital billboards and smart phone screens.


There is an opportunity here for OOH providers to leverage existing assets and technology to deliver an improved advertising experience, wireless connectivity, and public service messaging. In Los Angeles, companies are partnering with the city to offer “smart benches” across the city. These benches represent new opportunities for the OOH advertising industry in that they provide pedestrians and public transit users with Wi-Fi and mobile device charging stations, and the opportunity to interact with advertising on the benches.


Built-in displays in public transportation vehicles could provide OOH companies with access across public transport fleets, allowing more engaging, dynamic, and relevant advertising to find consumers in new ways.


The IEEE predicts that by 2040, 75% of all cars on the road in the US will be AVs. That is just 23 years away. So, until a significant number of AVs are on the road, drivers will continue to focus on the road (and on OOH) in much the same way they are doing today.


So it’s business as usual… for now. But what happens in 30 years time and how will our SA out of home media owners secure their existence and relevance over the next two decades?

Have You Got Talent?

Prove it! Join SPARK Media on 6 June 2017 for their “You’ve got Talent” games day at Bryanston Country Club.

“Bring your skills, whether it’s your balls or your brains, and put them to the challenge,” says Gill Randall, Joint CEO of SPARK Media. “We’ve catered to both the sporty and the brainy by including an option of an 18 hole round of golf, a couple of hours dedicated to the art of lawn bowling or a fun filled, interactive, general knowledge quiz.

Our clients, friends and partners are invited to a fun day out, networking, making new friends, showing off to colleagues and impressing the boss.”

There are amazing prizes up for grabs including electrical gadgets and accessories, getaways to Graceland Hotel, Tsogo Sun Hotels and Big 5 game reserves and much, much more!

Of course, in true SPARK Media style, no challenge day is ever complete without a brilliant dinner and prize giving event where all those balls and brains will be rewarded. The evening will end with a party which will take place after all the activities have been completed at 18h00.

Places are limited! Enter a team or play as an individual. Get in touch with any of the SPARK Media representatives to take part, if you haven’t already. 010 492 8341 /

To find out more, connect, discuss or engage with SPARK Media, call 010 492 8390, visit, follow us on Twitter – or find ‘SPARK Media’ (sparkmediasa) on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Spark Media DNA

Established in 2015, SPARK Media, a division of CTP Ltd, are experts in retail and location based marketing solutions. The company owns and represents a myriad of print and digital products that deliver locally relevant, effective audiences for advertising clients. SPARK Media are Strategic Partners in Audience Research and Knowledge and offer ‘Insights that Ignite’.

Marc du Plessis appointed Head of Publisher Council at IAB

Joint CEO of SPARK Media, Marc du Plessis has been announced as Head of the Publisher Council of the IAB. The Publisher Council represents its IAB publisher members in a wide range of interests including regulatory and audience measurement issues.

 “I’m really excited to get stuck into my new role within the IAB where I’ve been a member for the past two years,” he says. “My duties will be to drive the agendas of the publisher members, with special focus in the areas of fake news and upholding journalist standards; cross platform publishing; developing an entry strategy for publishers within the Bookmark awards; brand safety for advertisers on IAB member sites and driving publisher involvement in improving overall measurement.”

 Marc has spent many years honing his digital marketing skills within the digital publishing, media, marketing services and advertising industries. He works very closely with most of South Africa’s major retailers specifically within the spheres of digital retail marketing and advertising strategy space, and is well set to take on his new role as Head of the Publisher Council for the IAB.

He first joined the company in 2006 (when it was still known as NAB) and has since then rapidly proved himself a very worthy company asset, gaining valuable marketing and sales experience in the world of localised digital and print advertising.

Marc obtained his BCom in Commercial Accounting from the University of Stellenbosch in 2001, before studying further at the AAA School of Advertising and obtaining a Diploma in Integrated Marketing Communications in 2003.

To find out more, connect, discuss or engage with SPARK Media, call 010 492 8390, visit, follow us on Twitter – or find ‘SPARK Media’ (sparkmediasa) on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Spark Media DNA

Established in 2015, SPARK Media, a division of CTP Ltd, are experts in retail and location based marketing solutions. The company owns and represents a myriad of print and digital products that deliver locally relevant, effective audiences for advertising clients. SPARK Media are Strategic Partners in Audience Research and Knowledge and offer ‘Insights that Ignite’.


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It’s Squeaky Bum Time for South Africa

Jedd Cokayne, Business Unit Manager for The MediaShop

Junk Status. Two words that evoke a generally negative emotional response in every adult South African, but what can brands do to stay ahead?

It’s landed, just like that irritating aunt at family gatherings! You’ve tried your best to ignore it in the hope that she wouldn’t notice you but Junk Status has placed the proverbial kiss right on our cheek with bright red lipstick made from some pungent oil.

Although we are still reeling from the announcement, we don’t yet have any idea what the long terms effects are going to be on the economy and more importantly, the man on the street. From personal research, it seems that countries can take up to seven years before any significant changes to their status can be seen. I suppose only time will tell.

Consumers are not going to stop spending, that’s a given. But spending will become more conservative and discerning. With South Africa having one of the highest ratios of debt relative to income in the world, coupled with higher inflation rates, people will be forced to spend more money on the essentials like food, transport and paying back interest which will no doubt eat into their very limited disposable income. Luxury items or services may become a thing of the past, or will it?

Savvy brands are going to have to raise the bar in terms of how they operate and, more than likely have to rejuvenate the segment they trade in to stay ahead. For the general consumer this often has a positive spin off and benefit for them in the long run.

After compiling a bit of information around the topic of brands that have not only combatted a downturn in their economy but have changed the way they trade, have shown that changing a few simple rules with the consumer in mind will have a big impact.

  • Refine your product offering (create value for money in everything you do.)
  • Give customers what they want, when they want it and how they want it. (Customers are spoilt for choice, ensure they chose your brand above all others. Exceed all expectations.)
  • Quality and excellent service offering are key.
  • Make sure every customer feels like they are your only customer.
  • Keep the brand agile and ensure you make changes when required.

One benefit of the downgrade, as brands relook their operating models, redefine their offerings and ultimately deliver a better service, is that the consumer on the street will benefit and hopefully not feel the financial burden as badly.

Junk status is like an iceberg, you can either make the necessary adjustments to avoid it and sail past, or hit it and go down.

I know what choice I would make.

The fitness industry in South Africa is bigger than you think

According to Statiska (The Statistics Portal)1 and The Economist2 South Africa has the world’s highest fitness club revenue, generating over $900 million annually. What this translates to is that a lot of South African consumers are using gyms in various sizes, shapes and formats to get fit, stay active and be healthy, but some brands are missing the boat.  

“The health and fitness industry is thriving and vibrant consisting of a clientele that spends long periods of time training in a closed environment,” says Greg Bruwer, TLC’s Managing Director. “Being able to target this audience and communicate to this large, affluent segment of the population in a captive environment is priceless.”

As part of the innovative advertising solutions that Primedia Unlimited’s TLC offers in lifestyle environments, the gym environment has certainly become a great space to target these active, image-conscious consumers.

 “Our focus has always been to attain the spot as one of the most progressive media suppliers in the out-of-home advertising space and gym advertising offers the opportunity to brand various elements within the gym space and create ownership,” explains Bruwer. “We have exclusive access to 21 Planet Fitness gyms across the country which equates to over 150 000 monthly gym goers.

We are growing the ad space outside of the washroom, for example, internal billboards in the common areas which have in fact been sold out by the same advertisers for the last 18 months.

It’s not only the traditional brands that utilise this advertising space. Ford, for example, created an exceptionally innovative campaign for its ‘Eco Boost’ campaign, while SlowMag achieved great success through activations by offering effervescent samples.”

Additional advertising properties include traditional A4 washroom frames, branded water cooler stations and treadmills, in-gym activations and the various sized internal billboards around the gym. Advertisers are offered multiple options to own the environment with specific gender targeting to a captive audience through innovative and cost effective communication including social media interaction.

Active research into the Planet Fitness market offers key insights. 76.6% of these gym members classify themselves as the ‘main shopper’ while 61% have confirmed that ‘advertising helps me choose what to buy’. 60% have children, 60% are married and six out of ten are permanently employed. 54% are early adopters and like to try new products. “Membership is slightly skewed towards women which probably explains the 51% that ‘enjoy shopping’,” jokes Bruwer.

“Shedding the kilos, growing muscles and getting fitter has become a daily routine for many South Africans. The numbers prove it. It’s time for more brands to become part of this almost billion dollar a year industry,” concludes Bruwer.

For more information on TLC offerings contact or visit

Experience an evening out for two at Emerald Resort & Casino

Money is tight so it’s not often that couples get an opportunity to experience a midweek date night anymore. Emerald Resort & Casino’s Vaal Night Out, is designed to give couples exactly that – time together – alone and cost effectively.

“We all know what it’s like in today’s world and economy, so we’ve put together this package to encourage ‘each-other’ time.” says Emerald Resort & Casino’s Marketing Executive, Tanuja Gangabishun. “Enjoy an evening out at Emerald Resort & Casino with great food, drinks and entertainment.”

Emerald Resort & Casino’s Vaal Night Out offers guests R500.00 worth of food, beverage and entertainment for R250.00. The purchased booklet includes vouchers to the following:

  • Meal for two at either Breeze or High Stakes Restaurant
  • A game of Ten Pin Bowling for two
  • Two drinks on the gaming floor
  • Slots FreePlay

Emerald Rewards cards are required for this promotion. This card is also the entry point to all large scale casino promotions as a gateway to exceptional food offers, access to the Emerald Rewards Store and leisure rewards.

“This offer is not just limited to couples, it’s a great girls or guys night out too! Invite someone you’d like to enjoy this midweek spoil with,” concludes Gangabishun. “Simply purchase your Vaal Night Out For 2 Deal at the Rewards Desk and you’re good to go.”

Positive identification in a form of ID book/card or valid driver’s licence is required to redeem any offers at Emerald Resort & Casino. The offer can only be taken up on Mondays through Thursdays.

Emerald Resort & Casino is a licensed gambling venue. Winners know when to stop. Only persons over 18 are permitted to gamble. National Problem Gambling Counselling Toll Free Helpline 0800 006 008.

Emerald Resort & Casino.

Tel:                              016 982 8000



Twitter:                        @emerald_resort



Greg Bruwer appointed sole Managing Director at TLC

Greg Bruwer, previously Joint Managing Director with Steven Stuart of Targeted Lifestyle Communication (TLC), a Primedia Unlimited company, has taken over the role of sole MD.

“After 15 years of incredible service, Steve has decided to throw all his energy into one of his greatest loves – IT,” says Greg. “We thank him whole heartedly for the time he’s dedicated to growing TLC into the successful business it is today.”

With almost two decades in the outdoor and alternative media sales business, Greg is well placed to take TLC forward. “After an initial two year stint in the printing industry I joined the then GMR Transit Media and TLC which would later become known as Altmedia. During those glory days we were known as the Men in Black, and were always in suits,” he reminisces.

Greg left Altmedia after six years just before it was bought by Primedia Unlimited, choosing instead to join Graffiti at that time to start up their transit advertising business. From there he became one of the founding partners of Massiv TV, where he worked for a period of six years before being re-approached by TLC to join the team once again, which he did in July 2013 as Sales Director.

“It’s quite fitting that I joined TLC right at the beginning of my career and went full circle to join the company again,” he says. “TLC has always been known as a sales incubator for growing great sales talent within the industry and I’m really proud to have been part of that process.”

Greg has extensive experience in the transit and alternative media field and is passionate about the industry. He is encouraged by his heavy work load rather than overwhelmed by it.

“As the Managing Director of TLC I’m intricately involved in all the sales and marketing functions of TLC, and will now be adding the operations and commercial duties of the company too. These include managing the sales team, ensuring that our targets are met, maintaining solid relationships with our landlords etc.”

Greg also ensures that contracts are in place and new areas of growth for the business are identified and rolled out. “Relationships with our clients and agencies is a number one priority, that goes without saying, we have always had amazing relationships with our advertisers and we will continue to build on these.”

“I consider myself a specialist in the perceived ‘hard to sell’ media types, but success is not without consistent hard work,” he says. “A hands-on approach is crucial, I do believe in leading by example and leading from the front, and importantly, without a good team a business can really suffer.”

Empowering his staff has always been high on Greg’s list and the results are evident. “I love the challenge this job offers both me and my team, there’s no better feeling than closing that deal.

I’m driven more by the business doing well than by any other benefit – when the business succeeds, we all succeed. I’m really excited about taking TLC to even greater heights. We have fantastic niched advertising platforms available for our advertisers and we have some very exciting new offerings on the cards.”

Brands need to catch up with their influencers

Does advertising need to catch up with the internet?

Do brands need to understand their influencers? Avtaar Mohanlall, Digital Media Strategist at The MediaShop says “Hell Yes!”

Word of Mouth is probably one of the oldest and most trusted methods of marketing because there’s nothing like a good recommendation of a product from someone you know.

This has evolved over the years and has led to the growth of influencers, brand ambassadors, spokespeople and celebrity endorsers. These are all used by many brands in many different ways in order to increase engagement and gain the age old favourite objective of ‘virality’ on their chosen campaign.

According to Forbes 5 Influencer Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2017 more and more brands are increasing their influencer strategies and relying on them to perform more than just an endorsement job, but rather relying on them to be a lot more creative within their own circles.

Despite not having an actual measurement of ROI, this forces influencers to think out of the box in order to get their content to gain traction within their subscription base, however this is where I see brands still lagging behind.

Brands choose specific influencers because of their audience and in order for a piece of content to resonate with the consumer it has to have a sense of who the person they are following is all about, their look and feel, tone of voice etc.…Yet we still find brands sending influencers dictated scripts or stock images and really limiting the creativity that made the influencer attractive to the brand in the first place.

Our personal social media feeds are updated with endless amounts of content. According to Facebook content is updated every couple of seconds so it takes something a little extra special in order to stand out. In my opinion, consumers will be able to see straight through a scripted endorsement and if poorly executed you might find it going viral for all the wrong reasons.

Brands do have a tendency to retrofit influencers into their brand positioning instead of allowing them creative freedom – granted they need to be guided to some extent but not fully controlled. As a media nerd there’s nothing worse than a receiving a message that was written by someone who has no idea why I follow a specific person but still thinks that standard messaging will convince me to use their product.

So I guess my next question is, how far is too far? Brands still have an element of fear when executing influencer marketing. In order to create thumb stopping creative it has to be unique, never seen before and dare I say slightly edgy. Brands tend to stay clear of the ‘edge’ or the slightly controversial in fear of upsetting their followers but staying closer to the middle of the island isn’t always the right strategy.

Looking at 10 Impressive Examples of Influencer Marketing Campaigns by HubSpot the common successes seem to be a series of content that drives the power of storytelling, utilising high quality images and video. Finally, they all allow the influencer to communicate the brand to their subscriber base the way they ordinarily would any other piece of content – by being original and entertaining. We need to give users a reason to engage with our content other than the fact that a popular person is endorsing it.

With marketers predicting an increase in budgets allocated to influencer marketing more thought needs to go into who is selected rather than what they’re saying. The right influencers know exactly what content gets their followers ticking so let’s leave it to the pro’s to unleash their creativity and inject their own flavour of originality into the brand.

To put it into perspective, brands have approximately one second before someone scrolls past your content so you need to catch them quickly! But what makes that thumb stopping content? An interesting headline? A video title? Is it the image?

The bottom line is that brand’s need to know what makes their consumers, and more so their influencers, tick in order to get more products off the shelf.

The act of Reading delivers a focused and engaged consumer

The Publisher Research Council’s (PRC) latest South African research – Media View shows that although consumers may not be spending as much time reading as engaging with broadcast media, the time spent reading is more focused and far less distracted. #ReadToRemember

Conducted independently by Kantar TNS, the Media View survey, commissioned and funded by the PRC, is an evaluation of written word media engagement and research to determine the attitudes and perceptions that consumers have of media.

“In keeping with the PRC ethos, we conduct audience and efficacy research on behalf of our members. The Media View survey proves that print media creates quality engagement with consumers and can be used as an effective channel to deliver a return on investment,” says Peter Langschmidt, consultant to the PRC.

This robust random quantitative study included a sample of 2 000 consumers, aged 15+, in the seven major urban areas of Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein.

According to Alison Rice, Head of Brand & Communication at Kantar TNS, “The survey covered ‘engagement’ by including both behavioural (media consumption and attention, quality of attention and information source) and attitudinal variables like satisfaction, depth of information, media and advertising associations.”

Questions included were largely derived from a comprehensive study conducted by Kantar Media overseas.  In this work, they identified six clear strands of engagement and these formed the architecture of the framework for the Media View survey: relevance, trust in the specific media vehicle, mindset and attention given to the medium, perception by consumers that advertising is an integral part of the media experience, the medium prompts action and that the medium fulfils a need state.

Consumers that read are less distracted when reading newspapers or magazines. In fact, over 50% of newspaper readers, and a similarly high number of magazine readers, say they are focused when reading and aren’t doing any other activity simultaneously. “This ‘Quality of Attention’ is an important statistic for advertisers as there is more chance that consumers will pay attention to advertising and remember more as they’re less distracted,” explains Langschmidt. Data shows that consumers are least focused when listening to the radio and seeing outdoor, in fact less than 1 in 5 are concentrating solely on each of these media types.

Metro consumers are “cross-consuming” over five media types on average, with 3 in 10 claiming to consume all the listed media (newspapers, magazines, TV, radio, OOH, internet and social media) on a monthly basis.  Magazine readers however, claim the highest repertoire overall. The data also indicates high cross-usage between print media and internet/social media.

Consumers use newspapers (ranked in importance) for sales and deals, everyday item price comparisons, news, when looking for the best prices on electronics, cellphones and furniture, sport, information about expensive items to purchase and lifestyle information. Magazines on the other hand, are used primarily for lifestyle information, prices on electronics, cellphones and furniture, information about expensive items to purchase, sales and deals, and everyday item price comparisons.

Attitudinal perceptions show us that consumers feel that newspapers are known for (in order of ranking) providing information that is believable, being trusted to provide reliable information, being able to remember things from them, making one better informed and being the best way to learn and remember. Consumers also perceive that magazines are a medium that enables them to remember things from them, provides an environment for learning and remembering, offers information that is believable, provides a good variety of content, gives an opportunity to engage on one’s own time and pace and makes them think and be inspired.

According to Langschmidt, “print media’s relative differentiation sits in a territory related to reliable information, learning and recall. Aligned with this, advertising in print media, including inserts, uniquely occupies the territory of specific information provision and call to action benefits.”

In both perceptual batteries of the Media View research, print media and broadcast media fall into opposing territories, as they are fulfilling different need states. This lends itself to complementary and synergistic media planning with TV filling the entertainment and awareness need and Print providing the requisite decision making information. This has proven to increase advertising recall and hence increase ROI.

This fact was proved by BrandScience and their analysis of 500 European cases studies. When it came to FMCG, TV’s Return on Investment (ROI) increased by 61% when used in combination with print advertising.

“Newspapers are the second media source behind TV for many topics of information, particularly for pricing and store locations; similarly, inserts and pamphlets are seen as the top media (behind TV’s halo) for price comparisons and are differentiated by prompting a call to action,” concludes Langschmidt. “Consumers have come to rely on these information vehicles as critically important sources for purchase decisions.”

For additional information and research on reading visit

Walk a mile in your consumer’s shoes to discover the pot of gold!

Louise Hefer, The MediaShop

I’ve been in a few meetings over the years where it became very evident that a lot of teams, whether public relations, creative agencies, media agencies or even in marketing, are just not familiar with the mindset of the very consumer they are trying to reach.

It’s not always necessary to work through piles of paperwork and do in-depth research to achieve this, however there is a need to put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. A little bit of understanding, compassion and awareness will go a long way to delivering a wealth of insights.

For that reason alone, mapping the consumer’s journey from the moment they open their eyes in the morning to when they close it at night should be a prerequisite when developing communication and media strategies! Within this, certain touch points will become evident which provides multiple opportunities to connect with the consumer on a deeper level within a specific mindset, offering a natural fit for a specific brand.

Take a minute and quickly run through your routine on an average day, think of certain touch points that brands can use to connect with you. Then take another minute and go through the same process with the petrol attendant that filled up your car this morning, or the cashier at your local supermarket. By doing this, I’m sure you’ve already noticed that there’s one touch point that remains constant throughout, no matter who or where you are. Mobile – it’s the last thing you look at night, and the first thing in the morning.

So let’s think of the different moments we use our mobile devices. The first thing that comes to mind is phoning, Whatsapping or texting, then we move onto social media, photos, emails, listening to music/radio and perhaps playing games (there are definitely some closet Candy Crush addicts out there). Then there’s the even more functional use for mobile, and that’s where the ‘Google it’ phrase comes to life.

Find the moments where consumers are looking for information to help them make decisions – whether that’s finding a dinner recipe or helping with a child’s 3rd Grade maths problem. Google has coined these as ‘micro-moments’ where consumers are more open to interacting with brands as well as looking for help in making decisions. Micro-moments are the new battleground for brands according to Google, these are the I-want-to-know, I-want-to-go, I-want-to-buy and I-want-to-do moments.

It’s all about relevancy in these moments, consumers today are less brand loyal but more open to brands that address a specific need at a specific moment in time. Google highlights three strategies that can help brands win micro-moments.

 Be there: This is especially important on mobile. Brands need to be there throughout the consumer journey, not only when they’re ready to buy. So how can brands ensure that they are ever present in micro-moments that really matter to consumers? One exercise that Google recommends is to think about the most searched for topics that relate to your brand or category. Search these topics on your mobile device. Is your brand there and do you like what you see?

 Be useful: This relates to being relevant and satisfy a consumer’s need in a specific micro-moment. To check whether your brand scores high on usefulness and relevancy, Google recommends you answer these questions. What do consumers want to learn about the brand’s category, product or service? Does your brand have ‘snackable’ or bite sized content that answers the consumer’s question?

 Be quick: It’s all about instant gratification and consumers are making decisions faster than ever before – especially on mobile. If your site takes 5 seconds to load it’s already 3 seconds too long. What are the key actions you want consumers to take on your mobile site? If this takes longer than a few minutes, Google recommends that the interaction be more streamlined.

By mapping the consumer’s journey and identifying different touch points that brands use to connect with consumers will lead to insights as to what mindset or moment consumers find themselves in. Utilising the above example and recognising micro-moments within a certain touch point will add an additional layer of richness to strategies that might be lacking.

So let’s get out of our boardroom mind-sets and walk a mile in our consumer’s shoes to gain an understanding of those micro-moments ­‑ whether on mobile or any other medium. It’s an exciting time for brands to leverage micro-moments and create truly memorable experiences with your target markets.

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