As far as tent-pole television events go, there is only one that can compare globally with the U.S. market's Super Bowl. That's the FIFA World Cup, of course. Now imagine a marketplace with an audience as big as the U.S., but with no -- or at best a crude surrogate for -- TV ratings to base advertising rates on. That's what most of sub-Saharan Africa has historically represented with the international soccer tournament that took place, but this year a new, ingenious audience measurement system will be measuring what had previously been a humongous audience -- more than 300 million Africans residing in five countries -- all in real-time.
The company, GeoPoll, has essentially turned the mobile phones of African TV viewers into an electronic TV viewing "diary," enabling fans to provide key demographic and viewing data, which while still crude by the standards of TV ratings in more developed markets, represents a potential breakthrough for measuring the audience value in rapidly growing markets, including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.
All data is accessed through an easy-to-use interface that updates data overnight, 365 days a year, and reported to advertisers, agencies and TV operators in half-hour time blocks. (A companion audience ratings service for radio reports it in two-hour increments).
“Because we connect ot people, rather than households, we’re about to blow up the media measurement market in Africa,” boasts Steve Gutterman, CEO of GeoPoll, adding: “We’re about to dramatically change the media measurement market in Africa,” which he claims had previously relied on methods that were latent, slow, and had limited coverage.