NEWS28 June 2013

Broadcasters body threatens withdrawal from Saarf board

Middle East and Africa

SOUTH AFRICA — The National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) has said it will resign from the South African Advertising Research Foundation (Saarf) – a move that’s been linked to a row over the accuracy of TV ratings data.


NAB announced its intention to resign after losing a vote at Saarf’s AGM this week. NAB was seeking greater representation for broadcasters on Saarf’s board.

The association’s demand for more board seats followed the publication of an audit of Saarf’s TV audience measurement survey (TAMS).

According to a press statement, put out by the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) and in support of NAB’s decision, the audit showed “serious shortcomings in the conduct of the TAMS Panel research”.

SABC and claim that: “The essential effect of the findings was that upper income television households were over-represented on the TAMS Panel as compared to middle-to-lower income television households that were significantly under-represented.”

“In the South African context,” they said, “this effectively translates into an over-representation of white television viewership and a serious under-representation of black television viewership.”

SABC and were among those who called for the ratings audit after experiencing a fall in viewing numbers among certain demographic groups, particularly those corresponding to lower and middle income households.

However, Saarf has disputed SABC and’s “interpretation of the audit findings”, calling it “inaccurate”. It plans to respond in full at a later date.

With regards to NAB’s resignation, Saarf said: “Saarf wants to state unequivocally that it was not the Saarf board that refused the NAB proposal for greater representation of broadcast media on the Saarf board. Saarf members asked NAB for extra time to consult their constituencies and to evaluate other options before meeting again with the NAB to try and resolve the issue amicably and to get a consensus decision from all Saarf stakeholders.

“The NAB refused and insisted that the matter be put to the vote knowing well that they could not get the 75% majority required for the approval of a special resolution to change the Saarf Memorandum of Incorporation. At no stage did the other Saarf stakeholders indicate that they were not prepared to consider the request with an open mind – in fact they stated the opposite more than once during the discussions.”