Tell us briefly about yourself and the digital media property you represent.
Between 10and5 has been showcasing South Africa's creative industry for over 8 years now. In that time we've grown to become the industry's ear-piece on who's doing what, what's going to be cool in a few months time and what creatives are going to be making waves in the future. I'm the publisher and founder of the site, and have a long history of working with brands myself - having been a strategist on Nike, Nokia, Red Bull and Cell C. This industry knowledge has helped us create great value for clients using the 10and5 platform.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge for digital media in South Africa? Content, advertising contextual relevance etc.
For the smaller, niche players like ourselves, digital media will never really be a viable business model so we've had to experiment with other ways in how to deliver value to our clients while keeping a business afloat. This echoes to other niche publications too and has meant that smaller sites, where highly relevant contextual audiences are sitting, close off their display inventory, making it even more difficult for brands to reach those audiences through digital mediums.
Secondly, there is a massive misconception about digital spend growth in SA. Most of the spend in digital is going to direct response or programmatic type of buying. Publishers and brands who rely on doing brand-building work suffer under this - our results will always be worse than a Paid Search campaign. We need to look at what that means for publishers and how we can move away from that type of business.
What is your media property doing to deal with and combat these above challenges?
We've developed some other interesting formats - we see our audience really as a community of people. That's meant that we've launched some initiatives that target our audience offline - if it's through our series of physical talks, our Lawn Games event or other offline activity that helps bring this audience together. We've taken a 360-degree view on the South African creative person's life and developed properties that speak to that. So while we still do the media, we also have a wide range of offline events and activity too.
I think this speaks to the direct response issue too. Physical, sensory experiences will always trump engagement online. I'd much rather have 100 people at my event for a whole day than 1,000 likes on a piece of content. That type of brand building and engagement is what niche publishers will move to.
If you had to pick one do you see your property as being:
A. a value for money - great reach
B. niche but extremely relevant
C. contextualised for the user
Definitely Niche - we offer brands access to a highly influential audience. This market is tricky to get to, but they trust the 10and5 brand through the work that we've been engaging them on.
What is going to be your focus for the next 12 months to ensure you are able to offer advertisers A,B or C?
We're developing our conference series as well as expanding our video formats. Our Webshow has been getting some good traction so far, and we're launching a few other video properties like that. Our business model follows the VICE media template quite a bit, so if you have a look at what they are doing, and where we are headed...
What is your greatest concern when it comes to the digital industry in South Africa?
As digital is growing as a channel to reach people, it's becoming more pigeonholed. 10and5 doesn't see people living only online lives. We want to connect with them offline too. When campaigns become focused only on digital execution then that's where we'll keep seeing non-impactful results. We must use digital to make a lasting impact on people's lives, but be smart about it.
What do you believe is done to address this concern?
I like seeing more campaigns have a 360 view on their intended target market. The better we engage with people on offline platforms and use digital as the glue to bring the whole experience together the better. It might sound like I'm making a case for less digital, but it's actually the opposite. We need to stop seeing digital as this silo in people's lives and realise that it's part of the fabric of the way we live.
What are your plans in the next 12 months to “Make Digital Awesome”?
We're connecting more of South Africa's creative audience with each other. Our primary platform, the website, will still be the main way we do that.
Photographer: Darren Gwynn