The Advertising Media Forum (AMF) has proposed an approach and road map to secure independent, quality and unbiased media data, as part of its call for collaboration to create and fund a central Establishment Survey for the South African advertising, marketing and media industry.
South African media agencies, together with advertising and marketing professionals joined minds and mind-sets at an event hosted by the Forum in Johannesburg this week. The AMF Media Charter received unanimous support for collective action to undertake future media research.
In the face of change in the structure of local research bodies, the Forum advocated an approach through which research is managed and controlled by an industry body, which is directly funded by advertisers and marketers.
Gordon Patterson of the AMF said, "In the last two years, we have spoken to various research players. We are now at the point where we have brought all the parties together in one place at one time, to share a common position that we can take forward together."
A culmination of a two-year process in working together for a common vision, the AMF Media Charter marks a turning point for media research in South Africa. Pointing out how the organisation has worked with industry players to map out solutions, he explained, "Collectively, we have realised we have more in common than merely being in competition with one another."
Media agencies are heavy users of advertising and media research data. Responsible for investing hundreds of millions with media owners, they all require unrestricted access to media data, improved and more inclusive sampling, valid and reliable data, more transparency in the management of data-production, and more engagement from advertisers and media agencies in the process of data creation.
Patterson considers the AMF to be a 'remarkable initiative'. He said, "In my 25 years in industry, it is the first time that we, as an industry of marketers and media agencies, have come together. We have united to define our industry's future, and we are determined to work with media owners and research companies that share a common position."
Following this announcement and confirmation on its mandate, led by the principles outlined in the Media Charter, SAARF will formally reach out to industry stakeholders. At the meeting, Virginia Hollis, SAARF Chairperson confirmed that the organisation has approved the financing of a consultant to investigate potential funding models for industry research in the future.
"We believe in the importance of securing a consolidated industry position on research. We've got to move forward. To date, there has been a focus on history. It is important to take learnings from history but we need to be future focused. This chapter provides us with an opportunity to define the starting point that we all agree on," concluded Patterson.
The AMF is a collective of media agencies and individuals including media strategists, planners, buyers and consultants, through who over 80% of all media expenditure in South Africa is bought. The forum advises and represents relevant organisations, aiming to create open channels of communication and encourage and support transparent policies, strategies and transactions within the industry.