The Environment For Digital Media Management In South Africa

The Environment For Digital Media Management In South Africa

Media and entertainment industries are expected to exceed growth expectations globally well into 2017 driven by the ongoing proliferation of digital platforms, according to a report posted on The Economic Times. Digital media management in South Africa is following this trend.

The ability to manage and control digital content remotely throughout the world has forced leaders in the industry to keep up with the latest trends in technology.

Wayne Scholes is CEO of Red Touch Media, a U.S.-based technology company with offices in Africa that deals with digital media content management in the entertainment industry. He decided to expand his company in South Africa because of the strong ethical business experiences he said he has had with other industry leaders there.

“In South Africa, if a business decides they are going to get into a deal with you, it’s because they think it’s the right deal to do and they are absolutely convinced that this is the direction to go in,” Scholes told AFKInsider. “They are absolutely saturated internally in their business decisions so they are confident that this is exactly the right to do – once you shake hands it’s a done deal.”

Scholes grew up in England and has done business in Africa, Europe and North America.

He developed a passion for South Africa years ago when he was working for a TV station in Nigeria.

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“I was working on setting up a marketing team there and training local staff and we were living in South Africa at the time and I absolutely fell in love with it,” said Scholes. “My kids loved it, the schools were great and the education standard was high.”

Scholes said he feels Africa is one of the top continents right now for digital media businesses to expand.

“There is just so much growth potential there,” he said. “When you look at some of the reports that have come out in the media recently about Africa – it’s really astounding.”

People often get a skewed view of Africa and forget that there are massive numbers of consumers waiting to get a hold of the latest entertainment and technology.

“This is a continent of people who are eager and hungry for the latest content,” Scholes said.

A legal infrastructure favorable for businesses is another reason Scholes said he feels South Africa is an optimal place to do business.

“They have very good case laws because it’s based on British case law so for us that was a good solid legal system with minimal corruption,” Scholes said. “It’s a very stable and trustworthy legal system.”

In other ways, South Africa is one of the most frustrating places to do business.

“They don’t just do things in triplicate, they triplicate the triplicates,” he said. “For example, to get a contract signed in the U.S. it could take about three months whereas that same contract cycle in South Africa could take up to 13 months.”

Scholes moved the headquarters of his company from South Africa to Utah several years ago because of growing U.S. business clients, but still keeps an office in Cape Town and works there every six weeks.

“We acquired some new American businesses and because the revenue was higher and we had more established clients in the U.S., it just made sense to move the main office to Utah,” Scholes said.

The company is planning to expand in South Africa this year, possibly to Durban.

Hennie Theron works in field operations and has been with Red Touch Media for four years. He works in the company’s Johannesburg office managing sales, local content and operations for South Africa and Africa.

When asked about some of the challenges he has experienced working with international companies, he said it’s difficult to get the decision makers to come to grips with the different laws, taxes, and their views on what needs to be done to get the business moving forward.

“It’s often a challenge to find a solution that works for both parties,” Theron told AFKInsider. “One learns a lot when you have two or more people working on a project and they are from different countries and have different ways of looking at the business opportunity.”

Economic growth may be a bit slower than expected, but South Africa is still the biggest economy in Africa, Theron said.

“Twenty-five percent of goods manufactured in South Africa get exported to the rest of Africa,” Theron said. “South Africa’s infrastructure makes it easy for companies to reach the rest of Africa.”

South Africa’s legal system — its laws on copyright, patents, trademarks — and its competition policies make it easier for investors to trust in what South Africa’s economy has to offer, he said.

One of the fastest-growing markets in South Africa is the telecoms segment, Theron said.

“This market allows us to provide a service to these operators where they can use digital content to increase sales and loyalty,” Theron said. “Education is one of the highest priorities of the government. They encourage entrepreneurship and innovation through their small-, medium- and micro-enterprise policies to ensure that there is an ongoing growth in the economy and to combat the high unemployment rate. This leaves an opportunity for businesses to target this market with a plan that is supported by government.”

Natalie Ashoory, a communications strategist for Definition 6, a unified marketing agency, said Red Touch Media laid the framework for continued relationships with companies based in South Africa.

“In the last three years Wayne (Scholes) helped set up a CNN affiliate news channel in Africa and founded the Red Touch Media Group with operations in Africa, Europe and North America,” she said.