As from 1 June Oracle Airtime Sales (OATS) will rebrand to DStv Media Sales. Established in 1996, Oracle has been a key driving force behind the growth of DStv in South Africa and the brand’s expansion into the rest of the continent.
Recently-appointed DStv Media Sales CEO Chris Hitchings explains that the company felt the time was right to make the switch in the interests of maximally leveraging the DStv brand’s powerful continental reputation.
“When OATS was launched back in 1996, DStv was not yet an established brand. Now, DStv is available in more than four million homes across the continent and is a highly-recognised and regarded brand across Africa,’ he says. “With MultiChoice now our sole shareholder, we believe it is time to align ourselves more closely with DStv to avoid any confusion about who we are and what we represent and to leverage the power of the DStv brand.’
DStv Media Sales will be adding online and mobile opportunities to its product range and to this end, has taken a 50% share in digital sales house, The SpaceStation. Says Hitchings: “The word “Airtime’ in our current name has become restrictive as we look to expand our sales proposition into new areas. As consumer needs and media trends evolve, it’s important that we provide advertisers the opportunity to reach DStv subscribers across multiple platforms and devices.’
The SpaceStation is an innovative partnership between DStv Media Sales & 24.com providing advertisers and media planners with an enhanced, single point of access through which to increase the reach and effectiveness of their online and mobile marketing.
Another important development about to be introduced by DStv Media Sales is “guaranteed trading’ – the ability to offer advertisers guaranteed audience delivery against an agreed set of parameters. Sales Director, Fahmeeda Cassim-Surtee says that the development of DStv-i (a robust and accurate audience measurement tool) has added another string to the company’s bow. “Media buying in South Africa seems to be following international trends with clients requiring increased accountability of their media partners. DStv-i gives us the chance to introduce guaranteed audience models into the market place to meet this growing demand,’ she says. “Our inventory management system (Landmark) will automatically plan and schedule campaigns against an agreed price and target market. Clients will still have the ability to “cherry pick’ specific channels & shows, with guaranteed trading set to become the most cost-effective way to reach DStv viewers.’
DStv-i is a revolutionary audience measurement system introduced by OATS & MultiChoice towards the end of 2010. Viewing data is collected via the DStv decoder itself and later converted into ratings. The key is that sample sizes are significantly more robust than those currently offered by the available TAMS data. Brenda Wortley (Director Research & Strategy) says that the company is pleased to see the correlation between the TAMS data and that delivered by DStv-i, proving the accuracy of the new system. “The increased sample size, however, provides a richness and granularity to the data and means that that DStv-i can be used with confidence by planners. The next step will be to include PVR homes into the DStv-i panel so that we can accurately measure time-shifted viewing trends. We will also be rolling DStv-i out into key African markets within the coming year,’ she says.
Hitchings says that DStv’s continued subscription expansion across the continent is an increasingly important component of the company’s business going forward. “We have a growing office in Lagos (Nigeria) and a host of sales agents elsewhere across the continent. We’ll be looking to expand our network of agents and our client base across the continent’.
DStv Media Sales represents advertising and sponsorship sales on over 40 local & international channels and will be adding a number of exciting channels to the commercial mix during 2011. Trace TV was added earlier this year. Food Network, Sony Max, Disney XD and Studio Universal will all be taken commercial in the coming months.