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Collaborate, innovate, and adapt to the changing landscape: Chris Botha

By Rajiv Raghunath - March 18, 2024

Chris Botha, Group MD, Park Adv, South Africa drew parallels between the challenges facing the industry and a compelling narrative involving two shoe companies on a Pacific island, urging industry leaders to collaborate and innovate in the evolving landscape of South Africa's media industry.

Chris Botha

In providing an overview of the OOH market in South Africa at the WOO Africa Forum held in Cape Town, Chris Botha, Group MD, Park Adv delivered a thought-provoking session that drew parallels between the challenges faced by the industry and a captivating narrative involving two shoe companies on a Pacific island.

Chris's engaging storytelling began with the tale of two sales representatives navigating a local island where people's choice of footwear was a pivotal factor for their business. While one representative saw a total lack of opportunity as people on that island did not wear any footwear, the other representative saw in that a bountiful opportunity to introduce and sell footwear. The story served as a metaphor for the challenges and opportunities presented by the media landscape in South Africa.

Chris delved into the intricacies of the industry, emphasising the importance of understanding the broader context of economic challenges and societal issues impacting the nation. He highlighted the interconnectedness of various factors, likening them to the complex storyline of a dead fish on the beach – which is the outcome of poisoning of the sea by industry effluents let out by the manufacturer by a shoe brand, symbolising the consequences of a poisoned media ecosystem.

Drawing attention to the current economic state of South Africa, Chris provided a snapshot of key indicators, including GDP growth, interest rates, inflation, and unemployment rates. He underscored the importance of recognising the broader economic challenges that influence the media landscape.

The presentation shifted to AdExBets in Africa, where Chris presented data from AdEx, emphasising the decline in ad spend by 2% in 2023. He urged industry professionals to view the data in the context of media inflation, which stood at a concerning 10%. Chris emphasised the need for a comprehensive understanding of the economic environment and its impact on the media industry.

Television, radio, print, cinema, and digital media were all scrutinised in Chris's analysis. He highlighted the decline in television viewership, attributing it to factors such as consumer choice, streaming services, and the shift towards digital platforms. On the other hand, radio, despite audience declines, maintained its stronghold due to its adaptability and engagement with digital platforms.

Print media faced a stark reality, with declining circulation and economic challenges, while cinema experienced ups and downs, influenced by global events and audience preferences. The digital landscape, dominated by Facebook and Google, faced a potential disruptor in TikTok, with its rapid rise in active users.

Chris concluded his session by urging industry players to collaborate, innovate, and adapt to the changing landscape. He stressed the importance of keeping advertising money within South Africa, which is possible through OOH advertising, and finding solutions to the challenges posed by emerging digital platforms.


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