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BRC Announces Update to RAMS Data

The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC), the independent non-profit industry body providing objective and transparent audience data for the radio, television, marketing and advertising sectors, has announced an imminent major release updating their radio audience measurement data.

The Q4 2023 RAMS Amplify dataset will span a comprehensive 24-month period, from January 2022 to December 2023. As previously communicated through various updates and live sessions, the BRC is aligning the Crosstab dataset with the Reach & Frequency (R&F) dataset for consistency and enhanced analytical capability.

“Historically, the Crosstab dataset was a 12-month rolling, yesterday recall dataset, while the R&F dataset operated on a 24-month rolling, past-7-day (P7D) basis,” said Gary Whitaker, CEO of the BRC. “The Q4 2023 RAMS Amplify release will now standardize both the Crosstab and R&F datasets to a 24-month rolling, P7D view, ensuring coherence and uniformity.”

To reiterate:

  • The R&F component is designed for campaign planning, media buying and ad booking purposes.
  • The Crosstab component should be used for strategic audience insights and analysis.

In their commitment for timely data delivery, the BRC will not be reworking the Q1, Q2, and Q3 2023 Crosstab datasets at this stage. These datasets will remain available but will be updated to the 24-month rolling, P7D format in due course. Consequently, comparisons or trend analyses between the Q4 2023 Crosstab release and earlier Crosstab datasets should be avoided until the conversion is complete.

The BRC strongly cautions against making comparisons between the different dataset formats, as these comparisons would incorrectly be comparing a 12-month rolling, yesterday recall dataset with a 24-month rolling, P7D dataset. Any apparent increases or decreases when comparing the two datasets are not reflective of genuine audience shifts. Accurate insights into audience changes will only be possible once the Q1, Q2, and Q3 2023 Crosstab datasets have been converted to the new format.

“Please consider the January 2022 to December 2023 dataset as a starting point until the earlier 2023 datasets have been updated,” concludes Whitaker. “We appreciate the understanding and cooperation as we transition to this improved measurement framework. Should there be any questions or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact us.”

The Q4 2023 RAMS Amplify dataset spanning January 2022 to December 2023 is scheduled for release in the coming weeks.

For more information on the BRC visit

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New MRF MAPS™ Consumer Data Reveals Shifting South African Landscape

The Marketing Research Foundation (MRF) and Plus94 Research announced the successful unveiling of the latest comprehensive MAPS™ (Marketing All Product Survey) dataset through a global webinar presented in partnership with ESOMAR, the world’s leading voice for the data analytics profession.

The MAPS™ May 2024 release incorporated three full years of data from 2021 through 2023, providing brands, marketers and their agency partners with an unmatched opportunity to analyse emerging consumer trends and shifting product purchasing behaviours across South Africa.

“Our long-standing MAPS program exemplifies the cutting-edge market intelligence capabilities within the South African research community,” said Johann Koster, CEO of the Marketing Research Foundation. “By collaborating with renowned organisations like ESOMAR, we were able to highlight how the quality, integrity and thoroughness of MAPS aligns with the highest global standards for consumer analytics.”

With a robust annual sample size exceeding 20,000 respondents across metro, urban and rural areas, MAPS offers unprecedented visibility into media consumption habits and consumer goods purchasing patterns nationwide. The study’s rigorous methodology, covering over 3 000 brands across more than 150 media and product categories, ensures MAPS data maintains stringent quality thresholds.

Key findings from the MAPS May 2024 release painted a picture of South African households grappling with increasing financial strain amidst rising costs for basic goods and persistent issues like crippling electricity blackouts. Data showed significant declines in expenditures for discretionary purchases like dining out and cinema visits, however alcohol sales have remained fairly constant with beer and wine being increasing consumed. Media consumption remained stable overall, with streaming video and social platforms carving out their space in the video viewing universe while Television seems to have stabilised and is holding its own in terms of overall audience share.

The MAPS May 2024 webinar featured insights into wide-ranging topics such as:

  • Impact of escalating inflation on grocery and consumer goods purchasing power
  • Shifting habits around traditional and digital media consumption
  • Households’ reliance on mobile banking and money transfer services
  • Evolution of e-commerce and online shopping adoption across categories like clothing
  • Emerging trends in alcoholic beverage preferences and liquor retail channel choices

Koster further emphasised, “The insights derived from MAPS are invaluable for any entity looking to understand and engage with the South African market. Our data is a critical tool for developing strategies that resonate with consumers, drive growth, and adapt to the dynamic market environment.”

The webinar recording and presentation are freely available to all. For more information on accessing these assets, please visit

For additional information on MAPS –

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Delivering robust radio Audience Measurement for South Africa

Recently the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC) hosted Ian Garland of Milton Data, modeller of the new RAMS (Radio Audience Measurement) AMPLIFY™ Reach & Frequency data, to present the intrinsic nature of the model. RAMS AMPLIFY™ provides a comprehensive view into radio listening behaviours across the diverse South African market.

“South Africa’s radio landscape is incredibly vibrant with over 300 community and commercial stations broadcasting in 11 official languages across four distinct audience segments,” said the BRC’s CEO, Gary Whitaker. “Accurately measuring listening in this complex environment requires innovative methodologies and robust data integration.”

The RAMS AMPLIFY™ model combines a high-quality CATI (Computer Aided Telephonic Interview) day-after-recall (DAR) survey as the core currency measurement with supplemental data sources. This hybrid approach captures both basic listening metrics and deeper insights.

Key findings on radio in South Africa

Radio is in a good place! The latest RAMS data highlights radio’s continued strong reach and resonance in South Africa:

  • 75% of South Africans 15+ listen to radio weekly, with an average daily time spent listening of 5 hours and 12 minutes.
  • Radio scores well across all socio-economic groups.
  • Even as digital platforms grow, broadcast radio co-exists strongly, with 68% of social media users and 76% of music streamers being weekly radio listeners as well.
  • Commercial and public stations attract varied audiences, with many stations garnering over 1 million weekly listeners across languages like Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, and English.

“Radio’s intimacy and local cultural connections enable it to thrive alongside new media,” says Whitaker. “Stations like Ukhozi FM, Metro FM, and Umhlobo Wenene FM remain powerhouses with vast footprints even as digital behaviours advance.”

Fusing data for a complete view of audio

The plan – construct a 7-day listener from a CATI based DAR methodology by building a synthetic panel of listeners.

While the CATI survey is the core of RAMS AMPLIFY™, the BRC worked to incorporate other data sources to enrich insights. Their previously proposed MediaCell passive measurement panel was paused in October 2023 due to various challenges deploying the app in certain segments.

By skilfully fusing and modelling the CATI data, RAMS AMPLIFY™ data provides both robust ratings and rich insights. Advanced modelling starting with 73 920 respondents and a 24-month database creates a virtual panel of 400,000+ respondents to allow for reliable analysis of listening by municipality, socio-economic segment, age and more.

“We’ve created a best-in-class fused solution that combines the advantages of a high-quality phone survey with leading data science techniques,” confirms Whitaker. “This allows us to deliver a true single-source view of audio alongside robust planning data for radio.”

Looking ahead

Going forward, the BRC will further enhance RAMS AMPLIFY™ with improvements such as a streamlined questionnaire, a crosstab database that is aligned with the planning database in that it too is a 7-day dataset and 24-months rolling, potential incorporation of online and face-to-face elements when gathering data and the inclusion of streaming listeners into the planning data. They also aim to examine opportunities beyond audience measurement such as fusing RAMS AMPLIFY™ with audio need-states.

“With a solid core measurement now established, we can explore radio’s role in the full audio landscape, including streaming, podcasting and more,” concludes Whitaker. “Our goal is to provide an unparalleled understanding of how brands can best utilise audio to engage audiences across South Africa.”

For additional information, the full presentation and video can be found at

For more information on the BRC visit

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MRF’s latest MAPS consumer behaviour data is available

The Marketing Research Foundation (MRF) has announced the release of the latest MAPS™ (Marketing All Product Survey) data, now accessible to its subscribers and their designated agencies. Spanning October 2022 to September 2023, this dataset offers invaluable insights into consumer media habits and product consumption patterns.

Johann Koster, CEO of MRF, underscores the significance of these quarterly data releases, emphasising their role in providing users with the most current and comprehensive understanding of consumer behaviours. “The quarterly updates of MAPS data offer a nuanced perspective on consumer media engagement and spending habits, painting a detailed picture crucial for informed decision-making,” says Koster.

With a dataset spanning over three years, dating back to July 2020, MAPS provides an unparalleled depth of information for analysing shifts in consumer behaviour over time. Whether examining year-on-year changes, seasonal variations, or quarterly trends, MAPS serves as an indispensable strategic resource in navigating today’s dynamic marketing landscape.

Looking ahead, Koster highlights the upcoming release scheduled for May, which will encompass the entire 2023 calendar year. This presents a unique opportunity for subscribers to conduct a comprehensive comparison spanning three complete calendar years, facilitating deeper insights and informed strategies for the future.

For additional information on MAPS –

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RAMS (Radio Audience Measurement) AMPLIFY™ Reach & Frequency modelling update

Last year, The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC) released the new RAMS (Radio Audience Measurement) AMPLIFY™ Reach & Frequency data to the media and advertising industry. The data was modelled by Ian Garland of Milton Data, and this month, Ian will be visiting South Africa to present the intrinsic nature of the model.

The BRC’s CEO, Gary Whitaker says, “We are pleased and excited to be hosting Ian in Johannesburg and Cape Town as he discusses the new RAMS AMPLIFY™ Reach & Frequency background and data with the media and advertising industry. Diarise the 19th of March in Johannesburg and the 20th of March in Cape Town.”

This new innovative Reach and Frequency radio data model, based on P7D (Past Seven Days) listenership for the South African market has been modelled by Ian Garland of Milton Data who has pioneered ground-breaking work for the likes of Oztam, Commercial Radio Australia, Fox Sports, BBC, NBC Universal and IAB Australia.

The new data model relies on a 24-month version of the BRC’s/Ipsos’ day after recall survey. This dataset includes over 70 000 respondents. The data includes information about people’s listening habits claimed for yesterday and the last seven days and the standard categorisation details for these respondents such as province, age, gender, population group, metro/urban/rural status, and socio-economic measures.


When:  19 March 2024

Where: Bryanston County Club, (Bryanston Room)

Time:   10h00

Registration link:

Cape Town

When:  20 March 2024

Where: Two Oceans Aquarium, Dock Road, V&A Waterfront

Time:   10h00

Registration link:

BRC Contact Person 1: Anele Ntuli, +2774 554 0571 or

BRC Contact Person 2: Boitumelo Pooe, +2783 309 7193 or

“These sessions are open to everyone interested or involved in South African radio or in the measurement of thereof,” concludes Whitaker. “Ian will be available in a Q&A session afterwards and we look forward to welcoming him to South Africa.”

For more information on the BRC visit

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BRC announces updates to TAMS Universe based on 2023 Establishment Survey

The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC) has officially unveiled and enacted updates to the Television Audience Measurement Survey (TAMS) universe estimates, leveraging insights from the recently conducted 2023 TV Establishment Survey (ES).

According to Gary Whitaker, CEO of the BRC, “The 2023 ES reveals significant shifts in South Africa’s TV viewing landscape compared to our last universe update in 2019. Despite the continued prevalence of TV viewership, there has been a remarkable surge in streaming activities across all age groups. Additionally, we are observing the impacts of various factors such as the analogue switch-off, load shedding, and other environmental considerations.”

Key findings from the 2023 ES:

  • The number of households in South Africa have increased by 5% since the previous ES in 2019.
  • 91% of the total population engages in video viewing on TVs and/or streaming devices. Streaming accounts for 28% of video viewing with the majority using smartphones for streaming.
  • TAMS household universe (linear only) has reduced.
  • Streaming viewing has increased across age groups and socio-economic levels, especially among the youth.
  • Analogue switch-off, economic strain and load shedding have impacted linear TV viewership.
  • Internet access has enabled streaming, with 69% of households having smartphone access and 15% having fixed broadband.

Gary Whitaker further commented, “Aligned with international trends, individuals continue to consume a substantial amount of video content; however, the manner in which this consumption occurs has undergone significant transformation. TAMS needs to evolve to precisely mirror South Africa’s intricate viewing ecosystem.”

Last year’s TV ES, with a sample size of 8000, was conducted using a hybrid methodology combining face-to-face and online survey data to obtain a representative national SA sample. The BRC will adjust the TAMS panel composition over time to align with the new universe estimates.

Impact to TV ratings and audience sizes

Given the measurement changes, there will be impacts to TV ratings and audience sizes. The BRC recommends proper contextualization when analysing TAMS data during this transition period.

The TAMS Universe update was implemented and released on Monday, 29 January 2024.

Complete TAMS universe update details as well as profile changes of the TV population and TV panel which include Province, Area type, Population group, Pay/Non Pay TV can be found on the BRC website –

To view the full TV ES presentation, visit

Please follow the BRC on:

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The MRF hosts top-line data from the latest MAPS webinar

The Marketing Research Foundation’s (MRF) is looking forward to connecting with the marketing and advertising industry at their upcoming webinar on Thursday, 01 February 2024, to provide general top-line data from the latest MAPS™ (Marketing All Product Survey) data that was released in December 2023.

“The three continuous years of data, from July 2020 to June 2023 with over 60 000 respondents, has provided invaluable insights into consumer media and product consumption and spending patterns,” says the MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster.

The webinar will include MAPS demographics, the economic landscape that South Africa finds itself in, the current media landscape, and consumer product consumption and spending patterns.

Some interesting findings in the data include the continued upsurge in online activities and e-commerce. Social media and content streaming services continue to show strong growth, for example, TikTok growing by 531% over the past three years, while print media is showing some stability following sharp declines during the pandemic. Television has been severely affected by loadshedding and the Government’s digital migration programme and saw an overall decline of 22%. Some TV channels however bucked this trend and experienced growth during this challenging time.

The three-year period under review presented extraordinary challenges for consumers ranging from the pandemic, economic and cost-of-living challenges to loadshedding and water supply interruptions. These challenges forced consumers to adapt and change their behaviour and the MAPS data provides invaluable insights into these behavioural shifts. While the average monthly spend on groceries and toiletries have remained fairly stable throughout this period, it should be seen in the context of rising inflation which meant that the average grocery basket got smaller. Brand loyalty for groceries and toiletries have also declined while cosmetics saw the opposite trend.

MAPS December 2023 Release Industry Webinar

When:             Thursday, 01 February 2024

Time:              11:00

Where:            Webinar (

“MAPS provides vital marketing insights to help brands navigate the fast-changing marketing landscape. With extensive consumer data covering long-term trends, seasonal shifts, and quarterly changes in shopper behaviour and spending patterns, MAPS empowers marketers with the consumer intelligence needed to succeed,” said Koster. “We are excited to present MAPS most current findings on South African consumers to the industry this week.”

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Three years of trendable consumer data now available from the MRF

The Marketing Research Foundation’s (MRF) latest iteration of MAPS™ (Marketing All Product Survey), with fieldwork from July 2022 to June 2023, is now available to marketers and their designated agencies. The latest quarterly release marks three continuous years of insights into consumer behaviour and spending patterns.

“The data, now from over 60 000 unique respondents, over the last three-year period provides a clear view of the changes in product consumption and spending patterns,” says the MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster. “The recovery from recent global events and ongoing economic pressures on consumers are evident in the data.”

It is important to note that normally there would only be four releases of data per annum, but due to the audit conducted this year and the implementation of the findings there is an additional release. 2024 will see the releases return to the normal quarterly cadence.

The fieldwork data from July 2022 to June 2023 is currently available for use to the subscribed marketers and their agencies, there will be a general top-line data industry webinar late January 2024, once everyone is back from the holiday season.

“MAPS is an invaluable strategic marketing tool for today’s dynamic landscape delivering an incredible depth and breadth of data whether looking at year-on-year, seasonal or quarterly shifts in consumer behaviour,” said Koster. “We look forward to sharing the latest insights into the ever-evolving South African consumer with the industry next year.”

For additional information on MAPS –

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BRC’s new TV Establishment Survey 2023 released

To provide a much-needed 2023 television universe update, the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC) commissioned a new Television Establishment Survey (ES). The results of the new ES have been presented and are available via the relevant planning bureaux.

“The Television universe was updated in October 2020; however, much has happened over the past three years. It remains critical that all changes in South African viewership be reflected in the universe,” says BRC’s CEO, Gary Whitaker.

With a sample size of 8 000, comprising of 5 000 face-to-face (F2F) and 3 000 online/CAWI interviews, the new Television ES includes the fieldwork period of November 2022 to February 2023. The mixed methodology of F2F and online was essential to obtain a representative national SA sample. Whitaker confirms, “Nielsen has considerable experience, both internationally and locally, in the process of combining data sets, which ensures that the final ES is the best possible representation of the total market.”

The realm of TV household viewing has undergone a significant transformation, aligning itself with global trends. While individuals continue to consume video content at levels reminiscent of the past, the dynamics of this consumption have evolved considerably.

Despite a 5% surge in the number of households, the overall household viewing experience, encompassing both traditional TV and streaming platforms, has seen a modest dip from 92% to 90%. Nonetheless, this shift in proportionate viewing translates into an overall increase in the total count of viewing households, rising from 15.9 million to an impressive 16.5 million. A myriad of factors contributes to this nuanced change, including the analogue switch-off, the repercussions of lockdown measures, instances of load shedding, and the rise of budget-friendly streaming alternatives amid increased internet access (with 15% of households equipped with permanent/fixed internet). The ubiquity of smartphone access, reaching 69%, further underscores this trend. Additional contributing factors include economic implications, such as income loss due to lockdown measures and other economic factors, alongside a noticeable surge in households exclusively relying on streaming services.

Total video content viewing (total population of 43.6 million) can be segmented into TV set only (65.5%), TV and streaming (19.7%), streaming only (5.8%) and no TV viewing (9%). 86% of the video viewing population use a smartphone, 40% via laptop/computer and 20% on tablets.

It has been four years since the last implemented universe update and when assessing ratings, the following must be considered:

  1. The differences in ratings are reflective of a panel that has not been adjusted over a four-year period. Not just any four years, a period of Covid, viewing behaviour changes, greater fragmentation, analogue switch off, load shedding, etc.
  2. No adjustments to the panel could be made, according to changes in the environment and universes, as these changes were unknown.
  3. There are changes in the TV Universe size and this will have an impact on ratings and audiences.
  4. Adjustments to the panel according to the new universes will commence, however, changes need to be made at a pace that will not disrupt the panel too severely.

Considering all these factors, healthy weighting efficiencies are still being maintained when assessing the new TV universe, 82% household and 68% individual (which is very close to the statistically accepted level of 70%).

Profile changes of the TV population and TV panel which include Province, Area type, Population group, Pay/Non Pay TV can be viewed at

The new ES data indicates that 94% of the population have a cellphone with 69% having a smartphone and that 11.4 million own or use a motor vehicle. Top 5 South African banks are Capitec (50%), FNB (16%), ABSA (13%), with Standard Bank and Nedbank at 10% each. Top grocery store is Shoprite, beer is the most popular alcoholic beverage and dogs the most popular pets.

“The world of viewing has changed significantly over the past few years, and the new ES data reflects this,” concludes Whitaker. “Due to the complexities of the world of content viewing, the goal was to try and understand this world and to attempt to mitigate against over/underclaims, misunderstandings, lack of knowledge of equipment, and so on. This is a reality for all surveys in this arena.

Should there be any questions regarding the new ES data, please make contact us and we’ll answer these directly. We look forward to hosting everyone again at the Universe Update presentation.”

To view the full TV ES presentation, visit

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MAPS media, brand and consumer data to be released

The Marketing Research Foundation’s (MRF) announces that the latest iteration of MAPS (Marketing All Product Survey), with fieldwork from April 2022 to March 2023, will be available as from Monday, 02 October 2023.

The MRF’s CEO, Johann Koster says, “The upcoming latest iteration of MAPS will provide insights into consumer behaviour and spending patterns from the first quarter of 2023. It will be interesting to see data from this year coming through.”

The impacts of recent global events on consumers are evident in quarterly consumer data. Trends that emerged during COVID-19 and ongoing economic pressures continue to shape how consumer behaviour evolves in the face of uncertainty. The data reveals changes in product consumption and spending patterns.

“MAPS is an invaluable strategic marketing tool for today’s dynamic landscape,” said Koster. “With its wealth of insights into an ever-evolving consumer, MAPS empowers marketers and agencies to make smart, data-driven decisions. We eagerly anticipate the release of the newest MAPS data, which will reveal the latest shifts in consumer trends as the research continues to progress. These timely insights will allow us to identify and respond to changes in the market.”

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