South Africa opens up audience measurement

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JOHANNESBURG -- The South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) has invited tenders for the country's biggest research contract, the five-year, $17 million to $21 million All-Media and Product Survey (AMPS) which is combined with the Radio Audience Measurement Survey.

Tenders must be submitted by January and the contract will be awarded in May for the 1999-2003 period. Early next year, SAARF will also be calling for tenders for the Television Audience Measurement Survey using electronic peoplemeters. That contract will be worth $5 million over five years.

This is the first time SAARF has gone to open tender with these contracts. In the past this has led to accusations that the contracts have been awarded only to a cozy "old boys' club". The current chief contractor is Market Research Africa, owned by AC Nielsen, which has sub-contracted part of the work to DSI. Now other leading firms, including Research International, Research Surveys and Markinor, are expected to bid. The local firms have working associations with international research companies: Markinor with Gallup and Research Surveys with Taylor Nelson AGB. Taylor Nelson, Telecontrol of Switzerland and AC Nielsen are among international firms likely to be interested in the TV contract.

Between them these surveys give the most complete picture of media and product consumption available to advertisers, and they are slated to become even more comprehensive and more frequent. AMPS will sample 16,500 people twice a year. A single source of data on all major media and products, AMPS is funded through a levy, currently 0.65% but due to be increased to 1%, on all media advertising.

Copyright November 1997, Crain Communications Inc.

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