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PAMRO's lakeside conference looks to the future

The recent PAMRO 2007 conference held on the shores of Lake Malawi achieved a number of successes, not least of which – thanks to a great deal of input from delegates – was a critical look back at nine years of achievement. The opportunity was also taken to pinpoint a number of challenges for the organisation in the future.
PAMRO's lakeside conference looks to the futureTelmar/SPC attended the recent Pan-African Media Research Organisation All Africa Media Research Conference for 2007 at Club Makokola on the shores of Lake Malawi and reported on the conference proceedings – during which conference goers were reminded why PAMRO was established.

What does PAMRO aim to achieve?

* To create a forum for industry organisations, media research providers, media owners, marketers and advertising agencies in different African countries to exchange knowledge and learn from one another's successes and failures
* To ensure the highest quality of media research, in the process harmonising research methodologies so that we will eventually have a continental media research database
* To make Africa a world leader in providing a research database for the growing number of global media owners, marketers and agencies.

PAMRO's progress so far

George Waititu, President of PAMRO, outlined some of the organisation's achievements to date:
* Harmonising media research methodology
* Producing a core media research questionnaire for harmonisation
* Establishing media research user guidelines
* Forming Joint Industry Committees
* Sharing knowledge of media research through annual conferences
* Establishing a network of media research and software providers in Africa
* Formulating a concept on how media research can be conducted sustainably in Africa, i.e. through the formation of JICs
* Helping to get off the ground AMPS type surveys across the continent
* Centralising access to available media research databases in Africa.

What was learned at the 2007 Conference?

As in previous years, delegates to the PAMRO conference came from all corners of our continent and were keen to contribute to improving the quality of media research across Africa.
They had this to say about what they learned at the conference…

“Continued harmonisation of questionnaires and methodology is critical for pan-African comparison and easier validation, and thus credibility.” - Ginny Cawdron, Unilever CCM

“It's great to know there is a research body within Africa that's striving to achieve consistent best practice research methodologies to assist organisations make informed decisions.” - Strini Naicker, SABC TV Marketing

“Comparison, variation and similarities from country to country and the bigger picture in terms of media research methodology, standard and usage in Sub-Saharan African region.” - Mary Dlezi, eTV

“The fragmenting and diversification of electronic audiences in Africa, aided by the cell phone, has been much faster than anticipated.” - Brian McMillan, Oracle

“Greater participation only affirms the key role PAMRO plays in shaping media research in Africa.” - Tshifhiwa Mulaudzi, SAARF

“Much research is available in the various countries and there is now one common system which clients may utilise to access this information once bought.” - Celia Collins, Starcom Worldwide

“The desire and willingness of all in Africa media to work together in trying to achieve harmony in the area of media research and the results that are produced.” - Mike Thomas, Primedia Outdoor

“PAMRO is a one stop shop for invaluable contacts and networking opportunities in Africa.” - Jennifer Daniel, eTV

“Market research has much value but needs to be more systematically communicated.” - Craig Schwabe, HSRC

“Never forget PAMRO is about the collective and not one individual or company.” - Michelle Boehme, SAARF

“The PAMRO conference is invaluable in the networking of growing markets, the sharing of knowledge and addressing the needs of marketers for comparable data. Remembering that PAMRO is a non-profit organisation, our heartfelt thanks and congratulations go to those PAMRO members who contribute their time and energy to PAMRO over and above their normal jobs. In future we would very much like to see increased involvement and commitment from other stakeholders.” - Sharon Penhallrick, Telmar SPC Media Systems and Consulting

Conference highlights

The conference featured a number of very interesting and exciting speakers and topics, to name a few: Refer to for more information.
* Amandou Mather Ba, President, All Africa Global Media, USA, presented the keynote address on “Internet Penetration in Africa: Impact on Social Behaviour and Business Practice”
* Prof Carel van Aardt, Bureau of Market Research, Unisa: “How much at risk are our people?” and “Income and expenditure trends in Different African Countries”
* Craig Schwabe, HRSC “Collecting Information from citizens and conveying that to the population on opinions”.

Challenges for the future

Delegates highlighted the following future expectations of PAMRO:
* More support should be forthcoming from countries that are not already members
* More marketers should become members of PAMRO
* Regular workshops where people can learn more about the various media planning and research products and programs that are out there in the African market
* Workshops for South Africans not familiar with doing business in Africa
* More on the role of outdoor advertising in Africa from a planning and research perspective
* Upweight PAMRO's presence throughout the year, not just around the conference
* Conference to remain focused on technical papers for research/data suppliers but build in business meeting time
* Training should be customised for maximum benefit
* PAMRO is a critical networking opportunity and all advertisers, media agencies, media owners and research/data suppliers involved in Africa should be encouraged to interact via web portal and email and attend the annual conference
* Continue the format of the existing conference, keeping it a bit exotic in terms of the venue and who attends
* Begin to solidify what has been done so far and undertake activities that the members need from a network organization like PAMRO
* The branding of PAMRO and other interest shown by organisations like the SABC in funding PAMRO are good initiatives going forward.
* When PAMRO meets in Lagos next year we need to do a 10-year review of its achievements.
* PAMRO needs to be seen playing a key role in assisting countries such as Swaziland, Lesotho and many others to establish a media research body, particularly a Joint Industry Committee.
* Increased participation from the audience.
* More depth about the presented figures from other countries.
* See PAMRO taking a further step towards realising its stated objectives.
* PAMRO will accelerate harmonisation, taking into account the anticipated fragmentation of electronic audiences which will lead to new measures of electronic audiences.

Closing comments

Paul Haupt, Chairman of SAARF, wrapped up the conference with the following remarks: “After nine years of amazing progress, PAMRO is now becoming a mature organisation and it is time for a re-evaluation of where we are and whether an adjustment of direction is required. The original objectives were straightforward, namely to create a forum where Africans could meet and learn about audience measurement, discuss problems and in general improve the state of audience measurement in Africa. The long term objective is to establish harmonised data across Africa and enormous progress in this direction has also been made in that AMPS type studies have been conducted in Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Mauritius, Uganda, Tanzania and others. This is more than satisfactory progress and everyone involved in PAMRO can be justifiably proud of its achievements.”

Further information

For more details on PAMRO and media research in Africa, please contact Sharon Penhallrick or your Telmar SPC account executive, or visit the PAMRO website
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