Media release

Government responds to Mail & Guardian "adspend" speculation

30 October 2010

30 October 2010

Government Communications (GCIS) is duty-bound to respond to the highly speculative Mail &Guardian (M&G) (October 29) feature "Govt to apply ideology to adspend".

The M&G suggests that in view of The New Age's entry into the media market, Government will redirect its spending on advertising to ensure that 60 percent of this expenditure will go to the SABC and 30 percent to The New Age, both branded as "patriotic media" by the M&G and its - once again - unnamed sources.

GCIS is concerned that the M&G has relied on unnamed sources to treat speculation and misinformation as fact.

What is true is that as a Government serving 50million citizens and residents, we have an obligation to communicate a broad range of information to a diverse range of audiences across our society as well as internationally.

Government provides information to South Africans of all backgrounds and persuasions, and therefore assesses the media market continuously to ensure that it is able to reach audiences in places and in ways where people prefer to get information about Government.

We also know that media consumption is not static, because people's information needs and interests change as their social or material status evolves, and because new media products and outlets are constantly being developed.

This, in a large country with nine distinct provinces, 11 official languages and a range of other characteristics that demand carefully targeted communication.

In this dynamic environment, Government as to ensure that its media selection is able to deliver the best possible reach and impact.

It is therefore ludicrous to suggest, as the M&G has done, that directing 90 percent of Government's adspend to the public broadcaster and The New Age will take care of Government's advertising needs.

Government's communication strategy is informed by a broad range of trends in our society, which is tracked through ongoing research conducted in different ways and for purposes adopted by institutions in the private and public sectors around the world.

These trends and other forms of market intelligence - not ideology - form the basis of our decision making, a point neatly borne out by the appearance of a National Treasury advertisement on the page facing the M&G "adspend" story in question.

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)


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