On the Cover
Don’t be quick to eliminate offline media
Wednesday, 24 October 2012 00:00
Written by Felix Erken
Felix Erken, Junk Mail
The debate over whether online media will replace print has been going for years, but South Africa’s media dynamics are unlike those anywhere else in the world. Online classifieds are definitely the way of the future, but there is a huge market for print publications – and it’s a lucrative one at that.
Discerning classifieds companies are not only not eliminating using their print publications, but leveraging them to fund future online development. Despite the fact that the majority of ads are now being placed online, there are still hundreds of thousands of classifi eds being sold in print form. And why not? Even at R20 a copy, it is still much cheaper than the Internet for millions of South Africans.
Companies which refuse to invest in print or are merely discontinuing their print publications should consider the needs and buying patterns of the South African market. Yes, there are a number of global competitors entering the market, but someone planning their company out of Seattle or London would never dream of publishing print classifieds, because that’s not how their world works.
What they are missing is that while print is no longer in its heyday, it has never declined at anything like the rate people predicted. Print publications are still a good, profi table business that delivers great value to buyers and sellers alike – the trick is to keep the online and the offl ine business separate. Optimise all the opportunities that remain in print, without diluting the focus of the online team. And most importantly, keep abreast of the latest trends – especially the move towards mobility.
Mobile is a completely different environment from the desktop, and people use it in a very particular way. In the classified space, for example, mobile ad placements have gone from zero three years ago to 17% now, and are expected to take off in the next few years.
But, whatever medium you choose, make sure it is the one preferred by your customer. Look after what works, even if it’s not trendy.
About the author: Felix Erken is MD and co-owner of Junk Mail.
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