Tell us briefly about yourself and the digital media property you represent.
My name is Joseph Pilate Ngwenya, I have been in the media/advertising sales space for a period spanning almost 20 years. Having started my career in print publishing, then moving to radio/TV and subsequently joining Sharenet (Pty) Ltd, a full-fledged digital platform. This is my 26th month at Sharenet and I have thus far enjoyed every single moment. Currently in its 28th year, Sharenet (Pty) Ltd is SA’s leading provider of information relating to finance and investments. As a premium digital publisher, our audience has a general interest in finance and investments. The majority of our clients work in corporate management and are decision makers.
What do you believe is the biggest challenge for digital media in South Africa? Content, advertising contextual relevance etc.
Significant inroads have been made within the digital media space in SA, although a lot of work still needs to be done, particularly in areas of access (bandwidth speed etc.) Recent industry reports clearly show that online media platforms are growing rapidly, more so than traditional ones. Yet are still not being taken seriously by advertisers and media buying agencies.
Some of the challenges faced by online platforms are that advertisers are spending even more than before on print advertising while using unsubstantiated measurements to determine the value of online. Online publishers have subsequently under-priced their inventory and advertisers are still not effectively leveraging online display as a brand-building platform.
What is your media property doing to deal with and combat these above challenges?
Credit must be given to organisations such as Effective Measure for their concerted efforts in narrowing the communication gap between online publishers and advertisers. It is an ongoing educational process that we at Sharenet have embraced!
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
Sharenet is definitely a niche platform that remains extremely relevant to its audience. It offers great value for money to its clients.
What is going to be your focus for the next 12 months to ensure you are able to offer advertisers A,B or C?
Our aim for the next 12 months is among other pertinent things, to come up with innovative products on our platform. We would like to see ourselves in a position where we are able to offer our advertisers opportunities that allow them to engage more with our audience. This will entail giving them more than just banner advertising opportunities.
What is your greatest concern when it comes to the digital industry in South Africa?
My biggest concern remains access to the digital media machinery. This is compounded by the cost of data, which is coming down at a snail pace compared to our 1st world compatriots and other countries on the continent. Internet usage in South Africa has more than doubled in the last four years. According to a recent State of the Newsroom SA study conducted by Wits Journalism, one in three adults in South Africa last year - 12.3-million people - was on the Internet and the figure will double by 2017.
What do you believe is done to address this concern?
The government needs to come to party. Allowing a wide range of players into the arena will undoubtedly see data prices going down thereby increasing access to the remotest areas of our populace.
What are your plans in the next 12 months to “Make Digital Awesome”?
As already impressed above we have in the pipeline a number of exciting projects …all I can I say at this juncture is “watch the space!”