South Africa slow to take up digital media

Despite growing demand for digital media in South Africa, there is still strong interest in traditional media in rural areas, where the high cost of data ensures that radio and community newspapers remain dominant.

This is according to research into digital media in South Africa conducted by Frost & Sullivan. The research shows that although South Africa has high mobile penetration and a year of uncapped data offerings under its belt, digital media is still growing at a slower pace than internationally.

Frost & Sullivan ICT research analyst Mogen Naidoo says cheaper data prices thanks to undersea cables and increased competition has made providing and accessing digital media easier, media houses are unsure of the new dynamics and related growth opportunities.

“Although the market is progressing at a steady pace, there are some aspects restraining its momentum. The digital media sector has also been undermined by the low penetration rate of the internet, which stands at about 10%,” he says.

Digital media is a new concept, and there are misgivings over the credibility of information online, such as on blogs, he adds. “Consumers do not necessarily trust what they read online.”

He says media companies need to be aware of the interests of their audience and develop specific platforms and provide content that meet those requirements. “Media houses need to create content that consumers will pay for. Content can be easily replicated online and this makes timeliness only a marginal selling point.”

He says research services or studies produced online may have a commercial value but this may not be a realistic option for news publications. “Most media houses are therefore not creating commercial value, but social value.”

The research shows that social capital is regarded as a powerful currency in the digital age and most newspapers offer the same type of revenue generating formats from classifieds to subscriptions.

“In order to benefit from them, it is important to identify what is valuable to users. Many companies are now moving into new areas of monetisation, where value-added services maximise revenue generation potential,” he says. — TechCentral

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