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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 – https://brcsa.org.za/tams-universe-update-2023-19-january-2024/

To view the full TV ES presentation, visit https://brcsa.org.za/tv-establishment-survey-release/.

Please follow the BRC on:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/broadcast-research-council-of-south-africa

https://www.facebook.com/Broadcast.Research.Council.of.South.Africa/

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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 https://brcsa.org.za/tv-establishment-survey-release/.

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 https://brcsa.org.za/tv-establishment-survey-release/.

Please follow the BRC on:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/broadcast-research-council-of-south-africa

https://www.facebook.com/Broadcast.Research.Council.of.South.Africa/

 

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BRC releases RAMS AMPLIFY™ Reach & Frequency data

The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC) has confirmed that the RAMS (Radio Audience Measurement) AMPLIFY™ Reach & Frequency data has been released to the media and advertising industry with immediate effect.

The BRC’s CEO, Gary Whitaker says, “We are pleased and excited to announce that the new innovative Reach and Frequency radio data model, based on P7D (Past Seven Days) listenership for the South African market, is now available from the software bureaux Telmar and Nielsen.”

The new RAMS AMPLIFY™ Reach & Frequency data 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. Each respondent is weighted and adjusted to match the entire South African population aged 15 and above.

The creation of the Radio R&F model is similar to regular data fusion methods. The main goal is to find donors who match a recipient. These donors’ listening habits represent the combined listening behaviour of an individual across all seven days of the week, radio station, time of day and day of week.

Evaluation of the model focused on comparing the Radio R&F data with the original ‘Day After Recall Data’. This involved specific tests at the station level to ensure similarity between the source data and the modelled data in terms of:

  1. The number of people reached weekly, and the average hours listened per person by station.

  2. How often people listen to each station (e.g., the proportion listening 1-4 days or 5-7 days a week).

  3. Detailed listening frequency (from 1 to 7 days a week) for each station.

  4. The demographic makeup of station audiences, considering factors such as:

  • Age and gender
  • Province
  • Population group
  • Urban, suburban, or rural location (within the province)
  • Socio-economic model

       5. Comparing schedules (Radio R&F vs historic data) in terms of:

  • Reach in thousands and as a percentage of the population.
  • Number of impacts (advertisements heard by the audience in thousands).
  • Gross Rating Points (GRPs).
  • Average frequency of listening per person.

The result

The Day After Recall and Radio R&F metrics closely match the essential demographics, and there’s a strong agreement on behavioural metrics, especially for total audience reach and characteristics.

“We understand the importance of this data to the industry and did not wish to delay the release of this data. We will be hosting a session, with Ian Garland, at a later date to present the intrinsic nature of the model,” concludes Whitaker. “We look forward to your immediate assessment of this dataset and any feedback you provide.”

For more information on the BRC visit https://brcsa.org.za/

Please follow the BRC on:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/broadcast-research-council-of-south-africa

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BRC August 2023 industry update

Television Universe Update

In order 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 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.

With a sample of 8 000, comprising of 5 000 face-to-face and 3 000 online interviews, the results of the new Television ES have already been validated and have passed scrutiny. The dataset will be made available to the industry on the 11th of September. The BRC is aiming to engage with the industry at the end of September 2023 regarding the TAMS universe update. All media agencies will be granted six weeks for scrutiny and planning prior to the universe update taking effect.

Future Proofing Video Measurement

The new ES data results indicate that there is definite movement within the realm of video viewing. Because of this, new entrants into the marketplace and loadshedding, the BRC are currently reviewing an SDK (Software Development Kit) implementation, which will allow for measurement of streaming, OTT, alternative devices and out of home viewing.

The SDK will be incorporated at a publisher level, resulting in a census output – all traffic across all opted-in publishers. A panel in excess 10 000 respondents will serve as the source of demographic profiling for the census data, a cookie match approach, with the weighting based on the BRC’s latest Television ES. Setup will commence in Q4 2023.

RAMS Amplify™

Regarding RAMS Amplify™ Reach and Frequency, the BRC’s CEO, Gary Whitaker says that the final validations are being carried out by external auditors. The Radio Research Technical Committee will get a first look at the data before it is released to the industry. The BRC confirms that it will happen before the end of August.

Fusion

Additionally, as part of the BRC update, they have confirmed that they will be using the new TV ES as the base survey for the next data Fusion project. Fusion matches respondents from different surveys and combines them into a single dataset. The intention, in the future, is to make use of the Marketing Research Foundation’s (MRF), MAPS (Marketing All Product Survey) data as the base survey. The next iteration of Fusion is expected to be available at the end of January 2024.

In Summary

“It makes sense to use MAPS as the base survey in any fused data project as the survey’s underlying processes, procedures, and protocols have recently been audited and the data it provides is stable and accurate,” says Whitaker. “There is a lot happening in the background at the BRC and in partnership with various stakeholders we’re happy to be delivering South African broadcasting’s single source of truth when it comes to television and radio media currencies – crucial for media audience research.”

For more information on the BRC visit https://brcsa.org.za/

Please follow the BRC on:

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Radio in SA is still in good shape the latest RAMS reveals

Recently the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC) released and presented the latest RAMS AmplifyTM for the first quarter of 2023 where it emerged that Radio in SA, as a medium, is still dominant and resilient.

“Radio holds a position of dominance within the media environment that is buoyant in an array of media formats,” says the BRC’s CEO, Gary Whitaker. “However, the emergence of this array of media formats is changing the dynamics of the media environment.”

In terms of overall collective media consumption, the act of “viewing” takes the lead with 86%, encompassing various forms such as free-to-air and satellite/subscription channels, video streaming, and TV streaming services. Following closely behind is the “listening” collective, which includes radio, music streaming, and podcasts, accounting for 83% of media consumption. The “internet” collective, consisting of social messaging and social media, takes the third spot with 81% with “reading” occupying the fourth position with 51%, including online newspaper or news sites, print newspapers, and magazines.

Historically, the 35 to 49 year old demographic, comprising of 11.7 million people, are ardent radio listeners but are now increasing their video streaming. Younger listeners, in the 24 to 34 year age group, are increasing engagement with music streaming and podcasts within the listening cluster. Radio listening amongst male audiences is strong at an almost 80% P7D (Past 7 Days) reach with a slight decline in female listeners.

In the middle- and upper-income brackets/ economically active population, radio is stronger, while there is a slightly lower reach for lower income individuals. What is interesting to note is that those segmentations that have a broader media repertoire tend to have a higher radio reach. This highlights and demonstrates radio’s popularity amongst a wide variety of media types.

Music still rates highly in the shows that people like to listen to. Local news, weather, advice and traffic at 65.9%, 64.8%, 59.4% and 55.9 respectively indicates that localised content is still driving radio listenership.

Some interesting radio in SA RAMS Amplify facts:

  • More than 26.4 million South Africans, listen to the radio several times a week.
  • Almost a third of waking hours is spent listening to the radio.
  • Tuesdays and Wednesdays have the highest listening reach.
  • Listening only peaks once a day, on weekday mornings from 6:00 to 9:00, drive time.
  • At home remains the primary radio setting while listening in the car continues to grow.

Top Commercial Radio in SA Stations for Q1 2023 (P7D):

  • Ukhozi FM – 7 597 000 listeners
  • Metro FM – 4 535 000 listeners
  • Umhlobo Wenene FM – 4 090 000 listeners
  • Lesedi FM – 3 597 000 listeners
  • Motsweding FM – 3 077 listeners

Top Community Radio Stations for Q1 2023 (P7D):

  • Gauteng: Jozi FM – 395 000 listeners
  • Eastern Cape: Alfred Nzo Community – 130 000 listeners
  • Free State: Motheo FM – 116 000 listeners
  • Kwazulu-Natal: Izwi LoMzansi 98.0 FM – 316 000 listeners
  • Limpopo: Vhembe 102.4/89.1 – 135 000 listeners
  • Mpumalanga: Nkomazi FM – 91 000 listeners
  • Northern Cape: Kurara FM – 93 000 listeners
  • Northwest: Mahikeng Community – 131 000 listeners
  • Western Cape: Voice of the Cape – 211 000 listeners

“Radio, and the RAMS data confirms, holds its strength as an information source, but the listening cluster as a whole is changing because of technology,” concludes Whitaker. “Across the entire income and demographic spectrum, digital listening is on the rise but listening via terrestrial sources remains prevalent. Radio remains dominant and resilient.”

For more information on the BRC visit https://brcsa.org.za/

Please follow the BRC on:

https://www.linkedin.com/company/broadcast-research-council-of-south-africa

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The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa DNA

The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC), established in 2015, chief role is to commission and oversee the delivery of radio and television audience measurement research for broadcasters and the advertising and marketing industry.

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BRC announces interim results to the TAMS audit

In the beginning of 2021, The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC) announced its intention to commission a more comprehensive TAMS (TV Audience Measurement Survey) audit due to rapid changes in the video viewing landscape, a rise in zero ratings, loadshedding and greater challenges faced by technicians servicing the TAMS panel due to COVID-19. While the audit is currently being conducted, the first interim report has already been received.

“While we will not be sharing the minutiae of the interim reports, we will rather make the broader analysis of further interim reports available, covering separate areas, as we receive them,” says BRC’s CEO, Gary Whitaker. “The consolidated final TAMS audit report will be accessible to the industry towards the beginning of October 2021.”

The TAMS panel itself has been placed in the spotlight recently, particularly as there has been limited panel management over the past 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions surrounding the various Lockdown levels.

While the full audit is still being conducted, the current interim report covers, firstly, environmental review, a qualitative survey of factors including power supply, viewing on other platforms and devices and secondly, a deep analysis of the market landscape and its changes from recent years.

The interim report shows that there are multiple drivers impacting measured viewing performance with four main areas contributing overall. These are:

  1. Changes in the structure of TV households. As the market moves more to digital services like DStv, OpenView, DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) etc, the choice of channels increase to the consumer. This means less time spent watching the larger Free to Air (FTA) channels, resulting in more fragmented audiences. The decline in analogue homes has accelerated in the past couple of months and will continue as the government rolls out their plans to switch off analogue altogether.
  2. Performance within platform and a channel’s ability to maintain or grow share of broadcast TV within a platform. For instance, SABC has seen a decline in performance across all platforms. As the structure of the market has changed the make-up of FTA channel viewing has evolved. Analogue only homes made up two thirds of SABC average monthly audiences in 2019. By May 2021 the platform contribution of analogue only dropped to 52%, with DStv, OpenView and DTT contributing more.
  3. The share of broadcast TV as a proportion of total measured TV. There are strong indications that analogue and DTT homes are supplementing their viewing with non-broadcast content as more streaming media channels become available to South Africans. The stay-at-home lockdown that the country has been under over the past 18 months has accelerated this trend as families seek more home entertainment.
  4. The impact of Loadshedding/load reduction is more unpredictable and can result in significant declines in overall viewing in the short term. While the other factors investigated are more gradual and can be considered in planning, loadshedding and load reduction cannot be predicted - particularly weeks or months in advance. The impact on reporting samples is greater than the impact on ratings although the weighting process makes some corrections for the lower samples.

According to the report, all these factors can and do impact performance and reporting samples and increase the likelihood of zero-rated spots. As we know, loadshedding is the most unpredictable and most severe of these factors.

In the meantime, certain recommendations have been made based on the current findings.

  1. Minute-by-minute data. Consideration should be given to moving the currency to minute-by-minute data as opposed to the current second by second data as it will marginally stabilize the data at the most granular spot by spot level, whilst having no impact at a program and channel level.
  2. Consider the timing and narrative around universe updates. Timing should allow for plans to be adjusted which should encourage planners to confirm their schedules and projections. Possibly more trading target markets should be included in the comparative tables.
  3. Source data for planning. More recent weeks of source data would be the best source for planning as opposed to the same time a year ago.
  4. Analogue Switch off. For Free to Air (FTA) channels, the impact of the analogue switchover should be factored in. This is more relevant for middle to lower income target markets.
  5. Loadshedding. While loadshedding cannot be planned, from a post campaign perspective the performance should also be run using “loadshedding No” included in the target market definition for a particular day. This will give the performance against the fully available target market. However, the software systems do not currently support PCAs over multiple days being run in this manner.

“The BRC is and will always strive to ensure that all of our data is correct, in good health, reflective of the situation and representative of the universe,” concludes Whitaker.

For more information on the BRC visit https://brcsa.org.za/

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BRC announces next Infinite Dial study

The Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC) will be overseeing the next iteration of Infinite Dial, the leading study on digital audio from Edison Research. The South African edition of the study, set to go infield in August 2021, is sponsored by Triton Digital®, the global technology and services leader to the digital audio and podcast industry, in association with the National Association Of Broadcasters' (NAB) Commercial Radio Committee.

“The Infinite Dial study, which debuted in 2019, explores the consumption of audio among South Africans living within the major metro commercial areas, covering the upper two of the three SEM Supergroups (or upper three of the five SEM Clusters),” says BRC’s CEO, Gary Whitaker.

This year, due to Covid, the research will be accomplished by Computer Aided Telephonic Interviews (CATI) as opposed to the face-to-face interviews completed in 2019. A total of (at least) 1500 consumers, aged 15+, will be interviewed with the data weighted to reflect the gender, age, and race of the metropolitan population.

“We are pleased to support the return of The Infinite Dial study in South Africa,” said John Rosso, President of Market Development at Triton Digital.  “The study will provide broadcasters, online audio publishers, podcasters, advertisers and the financial community with insightful data around South African consumption of streaming radio, online music and podcasts, as well as the usage of smart speakers and more.”

As demonstrated in the 2019 study, the continued power of broadcast media remains clear thanks mainly to its ability to keep up with and to navigate the digital world. Considering that the previous study was conducted before Covid, consumers demand and appetite for entertainment and news has grown significantly, especially through technologies and platforms that enable easier and more accessible content.

For example, United Stations’ audio streaming grew by 100% to one million streams per month across its network of radio stations and websites since the start of the pandemic* and Jacaranda FM, held the record for the most podcast downloads in a single day towards the end of 2019**.

Some of the highlights from the 2019 survey indicate that 44% of radio listening at home by the South African major metro commercial population was on a non-radio device, 39% listened to online audio in the past month and, while still in its infancy in South Africa, 22% are aware of podcasting, and 19% of the population have ever listened to a podcast.

“Technology is permanently evolving! In South Africa, the cost of data is coming down and broadband is becoming more and more accessible to the average person. Broadcast media is perfectly positioned to take advantage of these positive changes, especially in a post-Covid world,” concludes Whitaker.

“We are anticipating huge growth in these areas and we’re looking forward to viewing the shifts in digital use and how we (South Africans) now compare to international consumers when it comes to digital audio, radio, mobile, smart speaker, podcast consumption and social media.”

For more information on the BRC visit https://brcsa.org.za/

* https://www.bizcommunity.com/Article/196/12/217393.html

** https://www.mediaupdate.co.za/media/147751/jacaranda-fm-2019-podcast-downloads-soar-despite-lack-of-awareness

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RAMS update from the BRC

To keep the marketing, media and advertising industry abreast of information, the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC), has released a short update on the progress of the new RAMS (Radio Audience Measurement Survey).

“The CATI (Computer Aided Telephonic Interviews) portion of RAMS is currently in field and by the end of June, we will have secured 9 000 interviews which equates to three months’ worth of data representing Q2,” says BRC’s CEO, Gary Whitaker.

“As this does not constitute the full sample size of 36 000 the BRC’s Radio Research Committee will scrutinize the data before its release to ensure that we achieve an adequate sample size per station. Subject to this scrutiny session we will be able to release the RAMS data at the end of July or beginning of August 2021.”

The methodology will be structured into two parts - firstly, 3 000 CATI (Computer Aided Telephonic Interviews) will be conducted monthly (36 000 per year and nationally representative) providing audience measurement in 15-minute segments, along with audience tracking on radio events and roadshows. The programme will cover 280 stations (commercial, African language and community).

Secondly, still to come and to track both linear and non-linear listening, a MediaCell Passive Listening Panel will measure linear broadcast and digital consumption of 4 000 panelists daily, with minute-by-minute tracking of activities.

For more information on the BRC visit https://brcsa.org.za/

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The BRC releases Interim Radio Data

Given the previous lack of available RAMS data due to Covid, the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC), has now released an interim radio dataset (surveyed by Ask Afrika) to the industry. The need for human connection has never been greater and radio, in part, fulfils that need!

“We’re extremely pleased to report that radio listening in South Africa is still healthy after reviewing the first wave of the interim radio data,” says BRC’s CEO, Gary Whitaker. “Since Q1 2020 and our last data release, although media consumption and listening habits have fluctuated and changed, it remains important to alleviate the pressure of radio data being unavailable to the industry.”

It does however need to be stressed that comparisons between RAMS and the Interim data is not advised as the design between the two measurements differ as is the comparison of a radio currency (diary) to a non-currency methodology.

The interim data indicates that 95% of the population claim that they have ever listened to the radio and 91% of those that have ever listened, claim to have listened in the past 7 days. 92% of radio listeners claim that they listen at home, which aligns with our nation’s past and present lockdown regulations.

The average amount of radio listening time per day (Monday to Sunday) is three hours and 51 minutes, but Sundays are however the most listened to day in the week averaging out at to just under four hours. Core listening during a work week occurs between 6AM and 12PM. On a Saturday, listening extends to 6PM while on a Sunday listening is condensed between 9AM and 3PM.

Proving that radio is a trusted source of information as well as entertaining, news and music remain the content genres of choice for radio listeners while most still use radio for companionship, keeping informed and listening to talk shows.

“As a trusted media source, radio is an essential asset in media campaigns, and I believe that this survey has once again proved the value, reach and effectiveness of radio as an advertising medium – even, if not more so, in a pandemic,” concludes Whitaker. “The research is available and can be freely accessed by Telmar and Nielsen license holders.”

For more information on the BRC visit https://brcsa.org.za/

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TAMS panel healthy and in full working order

According to the Broadcast Research Council of South Africa (BRC), the core of South African TV measurement, the TAMS (TV Audience Measurement Survey) panel, is in full working order with no reports of loss of signal on the back of the commencement of the phased switch-off of analogue television transmitters in the Free State.

“The TAMS panel continues to form the cornerstone of video audience measurement in South Africa and no irregularities have been picked up after the analogue TV signal was switched off in certain areas of the Free State a couple of months ago,” says BRC’s CEO Gary Whitaker. “The standard Nielsen quality check process evaluates every TAMS panel household daily and flags any unusual viewing behaviour.”

It is estimated that there are more than three million South African households still on the analogue television platform which has caused speculation in the marketing, media and advertising industries that the switch-off and implementation of DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) will negatively impact the TAMS panel as panel households possibly lose access to a TV signal. However, procedures are in place to preserve the continuity and integrity of the panel.

In the case of any households losing access to TV signal due to the DTT switchover or any other any unusual viewing behaviour for that matter, Nielsen (charged with maintaining and recording of TV audience measurement) waits for three days for the anomaly to correct and then calls the household to assess the cause of change.

In tandem with the DTT rollout schedule (as indicated below), Nielsen’s call centre will communicate with Free-To-Air Households to enquire if they have received and installed the DTT decoder. Government has committed to subsidise households with a combined household income of less than R3 200 per month. Households that do not qualify for fully subsidised government decoders have an option of buying new integrated digital television (IDTV) sets that have the DTT decoding capability built in.

Whitaker confirms, “Should a TAMS panel household lose access to TV signal due to the switch off and no DTT box or decoder is installed thereafter, the household will be replaced with a lookalike household, ensuring a balanced representative panel.”

“To date, the TAMS Panel has remained in full working order with no reports of loss of signal, but to reiterate, we have continuous monitoring and procedures in place for any unusual viewing behaviour,” concludes Whitaker.

*Project timeline estimations for the phased switch-off of analogue TV transmitters by province:

  • Free State: March 2021
  • Northern Cape: April 2021
  • North West: May 2021
  • Mpumalanga: May 2021
  • Eastern Cape: May 2021
  • Kwa-Zulu Natal: July 2021
  • Western Cape: November 2021
  • Limpopo: December 2021
  • Gauteng: January 2022

Call centre number for aftercare service: 086 736 832

For more information on the BRC visit https://brcsa.org.za/

*https://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/phased-analogue-switch-underway-free-state

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