TopTV still scoping ad sales, HD
TopTV has denied reports that it is coming to market with an advertising offering by July 2011. Elouise Kelly, VP: marketing at TopTV, says the group is still in the process of looking at costs and setting budgets etc. No timeline has yet been approved by the board and no rate card has been issued as yet. A contingent of sales staff has also yet to be appointed.
News of TopTV’s supposed sales offering was first published in a newsletter (Media ShopTalk – 24 March 2011) published by media-buying group The MediaShop.
The newsletter noted that: “We have received communication from Top TV to advise that they are aiming to start selling advertising space from July 2011. They announced mid-January that they have 200 000 subscribers. 50 000 new subscribers were signed up in December and they are estimating that they have a viewership of 800 000 (average of 4 people per household). They also advised that during the course of 2011 they will be including a sports channel (by Q3), new HD Channels (Q1 2012) and an HD PVR.”
Kelly says a sales drive will be launched much later in the year to ready the market for advertising opportunities on TopTV during the next financial year (most ad budgets have already been committed for the current financial year).
Asked if TopTV is communicating sufficiently clearly with the broader media industry and advertisers, Kelly insisted that TopTV had been clear that it would publicise news when it had any and that, until they had all the required elements in place, there was nothing to communicate.
Kelly did acknowledge that TopTV should have had their sales plan in place for the current financial year but said as a start-up business, TopTV faced numerous challenges and that it has chosen to invest in improving its customer service offerings first. Supply chain and billing issues had to be resolved as a priority and the management team is working hard at rectifying early errors.
TopTV is also buying new content to bump up its current offering, says Kelly, with a focus on content not yet available in the local market (ie already carried by DStv).
Trish Guilford, associate media director at The MediaShop, was critical of TopTV’s communication and education efforts with media buyers, saying she has seen little information filtering towards advertisers.
Asked on what Media ShopTalk based its original report to the industry, Guilford pointed to an email from Kelly to another MediaShop associate media director, Sean Sullivan, and sent on 11 March 2011, indicating July as a possible launch date for commercial sales. Kelly did point out in the same email that the target date of July could not yet be confirmed.
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