FAQs about the NAB's exit from SAARF

Q: When does the NAB’s resignation from the South African Audience research Foundation (SAARF) become effective?

A: The resignation from SAARF comes into effect on 1 January 2015 and the NAB remains an active member of SAARF until 31 December 2014.

Q: What is going to happen after the NAB’s resignation from SAARF?

A: The NAB will assume direct responsibility for commissioning broadcast research and further information on the establishment of structures to manage broadcast research once the resignation from SAARF has become effective will be shared. This includes wide-ranging measures to ensure the integrity and credibility of the research, the imposition of rigorous obligations on the service provider and a process of on-going and independent audits.

Q: Will the NAB still give funds to the Media and Marketing Collection Agency (MAMCA)?

A: No, the funding agreement between the NAB and MAMCA will expire at the end of December 2013. The NAB took the decision in early 2012 not to renew the current funding agreement on the same terms. This agreement, which expires on December 31, 2013, required the NAB to give notice of such an intention not to renew 18 months before the expiry date. Consequently, the NAB formally advised the MAMCA board of this decision in June 2012. The NAB decision resulted from the fact that the NAB members were the only remaining media owners supporting the levy system. In the interim, the NAB remains a member of MAMCA.

Q: How will future research be funded?

A: Post the decision to withdraw from the MAMCA funding model, the NAB have committed to funding appropriate industry research directly mirroring the decision made by Print Media South Africa (PMSA) in 2003.

Q: Will the NAB continue to support the Advertising Standards Association (ASA)?

A: The NAB will continue to make its contribution toward funding the ASA on current terms, subject to the approval by the NAB of ASA budgets - the budgeting process is underway. Due to the expiry of the funding agreement between the NAB and MAMCA, the NAB will give funds directly to the ASA from 2014. The ASA has been funded directly by PDMSA since their resignation in 2003 from the levy collection agency (MAMCA) and the NAB will follow suit and continue to engage with the self-regulatory body in the future.

Q: What will happen to the 1% levy currently included in broadcasters advertising rates?

A: The NAB can confirm that, with the expiration of the current MAMCA funding agreement on 31 December 2013, the levy model will become redundant as NAB members will be directly funding broadcast research.

Q: What are the NAB’s plans for future audience measurement research?

A: The NAB supports the recommendations of the ‘Future Proofing SAARF’ project team (FPS) for there to be a common industry establishment survey. It is envisaged that the establishment survey will provide the means to link all industry research through data fusion, ultimately offering a holistic solution to marketers and media agencies.

In other words, the media industry establishment survey allows for a common point of departure and comparison of inter-media audience measurement. The audience research is conducted independently by each media sector Joint Industry Committee (JIC) and the establishment survey ensures that all industry research uses the same population numbers, demographics, etc., as determined through the establishment survey. The currency surveys (eg. television’s TAMS, radio’s RAMS, print’s PAMS etc.) use the establishment survey to draw samples which then get weighted correctly to the population.

Q: What is the establishment survey and how does it fit in with the Joint Industry Committee (JIC) structures recommended by the Future Proofing SAARF (FPS) project report?

A: The best way to picture the FPS’s recommendation for audience measurement in South Africa (SA) is to imagine a car. The chassis is a media industry establishment survey and the wheels are currency surveys conducted by JIC structures. The wheels are television, radio, print and out-of- home (OOH) currency surveys and when properly aligned to the chassis, South African media research can drive industry into the future with confidence.

Q: What is a JIC structure?

A: A JIC is any structure, organisation or association responsible for the commissioning of industry audience research. Such entities, chiefly comprising media-owners, advertisers and agencies, operate in a myriad of different ways across the assessed markets. The FPS international investigation did not set out to recommend one preferred model, as in each case, the JIC structure has evolved to accommodate local markets and requirements.

Q: Who conducted the FPS project?

A: The FPS project was undertaken by Jos Kuper and a task team, who were commissioned by industry through the auspices of SAARF (South African Audience Research Foundation) to look

into the best way forward for SA media audience measurement. As part of the five phase research project, they evaluated the best international JIC structures and operations during April and May 2013 and then gave their recommendations for a model that could work in the SA media research landscape. This was established prior to the withdrawal of the NAB from SAARF.

Q: Who will conduct research for the broadcasters?

A: The broadcasters will commission future audience measurement research directly, the FPS project’s findings will assist the NAB to establish the necessary structures and research framework based on recognised international best practice. This structure closely mirrors that of the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB)and Radio Audience Research (RAJAR) in the UK, The NAB is committed to continued engagement and discussion with industry stakeholders on developing best practice on broadcasting research toward 2015 that is independent and credible. The broadcasters remain open and committed to on-going collaboration and debate on the inter-media establishment survey and to this end has established an internal working group of television and radio members.

Internationally, different elements of the audience research measurement process are often contracted to different suppliers. Relationships between JICs and with contractors must be well defined and carefully monitored. There are often strong interrelationships between different JICs in sharing components of the survey mix, to ensure a common point of departure, whatever the media type, as well as to lower costs.

Q: What is the status of the TAMS contract?

A: The TAMS contract is currently in negotiation between the NAB, SAARF and the service provider, Nielsen Media Research. The new multi-year contract will provide for the urgent increase in the number of panel households to 2500 and this increase is currently underway.

During the resignation period until 31 December 2014, the NAB has proposed a tri-partite contractual agreement between the NAB, SAARF and Nielsen Media Research to manage the operation of the TAMS panel. Once the NAB resignation become effective, SAARF will cease to be a party to this agreement. NAB members are of the opinion that this proposal will ensure that the broader industry has uninterrupted access to audience research data during this transitional period.

Important concerns relating to fluctuations, inconsistencies and anomalies in the television audience measurement survey (TAMS) were raised by members of the NAB and the Advertising Media Forum (AMF). In response, the SAARF Board called for a formal, end-to-end audit and appointed independent firm CESP to manage the process. On completion of their comprehensive audit, CESP alerted the SAARF executive and its board to a number of flaws and inaccuracies. It was agreed that SAARF’s NAB appointed members, the SAARF executive and the TAMS service provider Nielsen Media Research, work together on the corrective

recommendations made by the TAMS auditors. This process and the final outcome will ensure that the broader industry has access to reliable audience research data on which to base advertising decisions.

Q: Will the number of TAMS panel households be increased to address industry concerns?

A: Yes SAARF in conjunction with the NAB and Nielsen Media Research will proceed with the urgent expansion of the TAMS panel to 2500 homes. The NAB has appointed a number of expert international consultants to advise on the weighting and sampling issues surrounding the expansion of the panel.

Q: What the status of the RAMS contract?

A: The current RAMS contract (under the auspices of SAARF) comes to an end in December 2014. The NAB radio members called for a radio audit and this process is currently underway through SAARF. Radio research will be done through a new structure when the NAB exits SAARF.

The NAB intends designing and developing a new radio survey for South Africa and therefore found it appropriate to call for proposals to ensure maximum input and a smooth transition come January 2015, when the current radio tender expires. The deadline for the Request for Proposals (RFP) was 11 November 2013. The information gathered through the RFP process will be used to inform the process of developing tender specifications, which the NAB hopes to publish in the first quarter of 2014.

The NAB will be calling for input from a wide array of stakeholders including their members, marketers and media agencies. This will ensure full transparency and participation in the development of the tender specifications. The NAB will be appointing a procurement service provider to manage the tender processes.

With increased fragmentation in the radio sector and rapid advances in new technology, it is vital that NAB remain abreast of global trends and that data is credible and trusted by radio broadcasters, advertisers and their agents.

Q: What will it take for the establishment survey to function optimally in the SA media landscape?

A: All media types need to participate in the establishment survey for it to be beneficial to the agencies for inter-media comparison. Those that don’t participate may well be prejudiced, as the agencies will be unlikely to use a multitude of sources. It will be essential to have extensive consultation with all stakeholders and users of the research when setting up the new JIC structure paradigm. In other words, the end user will need to be part of the new audience research frame.

This collaborative approach provides the means, at a macro level, for inter-media comparisons and budget allocation, bringing other media stakeholders, the marketers and industry associations, together. It is the most cost effective approach, providing for bigger sample sizes or greater frequency.

Q: Who will decide on the questions used in the establishment survey?

A: Experienced fusion experts in the audience field should be consulted to find out exactly what is required for fusion links. The industry needs an intensive examination of the kinds of questions that are required on the inter-media front if we are to avoid one medium receiving a disproportionate advantage over another.

Q: Why an industry-wide establishment survey is critical?

A: The proposal for the development of an industry-wide establishment survey was developed after examining best practice in many other markets and, specifically on a model from the Netherlands as presented by the FPS committee of SAARF, where all the JICs collaborate to commission a joint establishment survey. The survey is used as a source of census information on demographics and to monitor changes in media equipment ownership and media usage. This allows for a common currency and weighting parameters for all media. It also simplifies the process for agencies when doing inter-media comparisons.

Q: Who commissioned the FPS project?

A: The project scope was agreed with the FPS committee of SAARF in 2012 and usage and perceptions of SAARF’s current products and processes across a wide ranging spectrum of stakeholders was assessed. In addition, perceptions of future needs in terms of the changing media landscape and technology developments were identified. Local and international precedent, trends, technical opportunities and industry research models were investigated. The pros and cons of each was explored and the extent to which they represent an opportunity in the South African context was articulated. Recommendations on potential solutions that could be developed into an implementation plan were then provided.

The Task Team consisted of Jos Kuper and Lauren Shapiro of Kuper Research and Peter McKenzie and Clive Corder. WEMF in Switzerland and AGMA in Germany were visited as well as the Broadcasters Audience Research Board (BARB), the UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM), ROUTE UK (the trade associations for the buyers and sellers of outdoor media), the National Readership Survey (NRS) and the Radio Joint Audience Research (RAJAR) in the UK.

Q: What are the NAB’s plans for the future?

A: The NAB’s future plans include developing and implementing three concurrent projects relating to structure; funding mechanisms; and internationally accepted best practice methodology. The NAB has resolved and is determined to ensure independent and credible research of television

and radio. Global technological developments have prompted researchers to apply increasingly focused and reliable sampling and weighting techniques coupled with corrective checks and balances, to measuring both television audiences and radio listenership. Commitment from the NAB, following input from a variety of stakeholder groups, will ensure a smooth transition from SAARF. Whilst being a highly regulated sector of media, the broadcast landscape has altered dramatically in the recent past with the issuing of additional licenses. This is set to continue over the next three years with the long anticipated launch of digital terrestrial technology (DTT).

The NAB will be well prepared as they enter an increasingly competitive, fragmented and exciting phase in broadcast media. 

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