After months of pressure
by my staff, I have finally yielded to doing a commentary on advertising.
The reason we advertise is
so self evident that it hardly needs definition. I will nevertheless define it
for you, since it will play an important role in what I will outline for you in
Advertising is defined as
the expenditure of money to tell the population that the companies existing in
the marketplace have goods and services which are available to them and what
those goods and services cost.
So we advertise to tell
the population what we have. Ladies and gentlemen, this means that our
advertising must be placed where it will be seen by the largest amount of
people at the LOWEST COST PER VIEWER.
This cost per viewer is
very important and it is what defines if we are spending our hard earned money wisely.....
or wasting it.
What is this cost per
viewer? It is the price we pay for each viewer to see our advertising and is
the most important determining factor in where and WHEN we place our
First of all let us look
at the WHEN.
In this country it has
been determined, through the various surveys that have been done over the past
7 years that television viewer ship follows the following pattern, from 5 PM to 11 PM, more than 57%
of the people who watch television watch the tube during this period..... and
listen to this carefully ladies and gentlemen MORE people watch television
AFTER 11 PM to 1 AM some 17 %, than watch television all day from 9 AM to 3 PM. We Guyanese it
seems are night owls like me, I hardly go to bed before 12 Mid-night and I get
up at 6 am everyday, by the time the Evening news and the VCT staff arrive at the
office in Quamina Street I have already addressed all of the problems they
identified the previous day.
The next highest period
of viewer ship is 3 PM to 5 PM, and accounts for over 14% but that audience is
mostly children and the youngsters who watch television cartoons etc.
In this country ladies
and gentlemen 3 out of every four houses have television sets. The surveys
tells us that for every three adult persons who watch Television, one does not,
which it is a funny way of putting it, but that is how they did it.
So if your advertising is
being aired between 9 AM to 3 PM only around 12% of the total amount of people who
watch television daily, will see it. But if you played it between 5-8 PM, 57% of the
people who watch television will see it.
Now we come to the how
much per viewer: if you go into to VCT and you tell them that you want to play
a 30 second AD., they will tell you that it will be aired between 5 PM to 11 PM
and it will cost your company 1500 Guyana dollars.
Now we have not had a
credible survey done for television viewership in this country in over 4 years
so we don't know definitively who is watching what station but the pattern of
viwereship has certainly not changed in so far as who is watching and when they
are watching, what is in question is who is watching what station, so let us
use the number that between 5 PM to 10 PM 50,000 people [determined by the
systems associates of Barbados survey done in 1997] watch VCT, then your
advertising is costing YOU 1500 dollars divided by 50,000 viewers i.e. 3 cents
Now assume that you go to
some other channel, funnily enough advertisers know that neither they or their
family watch this channel, but they are charging 500 guyana dollars for a 30
second Advertisement, you decide that cheaper is better, so you buy that ad
space for 500 Guyana dollars, but only 4000 people see it when it is aired,
your company has just spent 12 1/2 cents per viewer to air that advertisement,
instead of 3 cents per viewer offered by VCT. So cheaper is not better, it is
very important this matter of what it costs per viewer to see your
advertisement ladies and gentlemen I cannot stress this enough THAT is what
really counts!!! For 50,000 people to see that advertisement for 500 dollars
you would have to play it 4 times, that is $2000.
The absolutely worst thing
that you can do, as an advertiser is to take a package deal for playing 50 ads
per month for X dollars, the station that plays your advertising does so at the
most inappropriate times or not at all since you don't have someone monitoring
that station 24 hours a day and you don't watch it anyway so it is a complete
waste of your advertising money. All surveys I have ever seen regarding
broadcasting in Guyana shows that during the period 9 am to 3 PM you are far
better off advertising on RADIO than on TV but the radio audience falls off
rapidly after 5 pm, whilst everyone tunes into television and the
television audience rises rapidly after 5
I firmly hold the opinion
that in this country it is a waste of money to advertise anything during 9 am to 3 PM and that
is why I stopped transmitting during that time for over 4 years. I only decided
to start back because circumstances dictated that I man the Versailles
transmission site 24 hours per day anyway, so all that it costs is the
electricity bill, but if I was not setting up to broadcast Radio and TBN, VCT
would stay off the air all day. In terms of advertising it is a wasted period
in terms of viewership, except in cases of disaster, the trade tower bombings
etc. but how often does that happen?
It really is very simple
isn't it? You know which station YOU watch so why would you expect that anyone
is watching anything else in substantial numbers. Do you think that because
they charge 500 dollars per 30 second advertising people automatically watch
them? Think again. They charge $500 because they would not dare to charge 1500
dollars since they just don't have the viewer ship, and I don't care which
survey you get VCT ALWAYS has the most viewers, ALWAYS, there has never been a survey
which even suggested otherwise. The VCT signal is visible from around Supernam
on the Essequibo coast to Crabwood creek in the Courentyne. This area
around 3500 square miles along the coast accounts for about 87% of where all
the people in this country live.
To establish this network
of stations VCT runs 5 transmitters. From 1100 ft. of towers along the coast.
Ladies and Gentlemen the transmission cables and these towers alone cost more
to build and maintain than most complete television stations located in Georgetown.
Almost 5 years ago GTV decided to follow Vieira and build a Network over the
years they spent more than 800 Million on this system and even though they were
given an unfair advantage by being allowed to use the GT&T towers for 1 US
dollar per year, they built a system which is very poor and does not deliver a
viable signal to the Berbicians.
The Public is only now
becoming familiar with me personally, through these commentaries, they are
beginning to realize that Vieira is no fool, and he does not lie, some even
offer me the great compliment of saying that my knowledge and the research I do
is laudable, well let me tell you this, during the period 1989 to 1992 I spent
most of those four years building, modifying, troubleshooting and rebuilding
this Berbice system mostly by trial and error, it was the most difficult and
expensive thing I ever did, during those years I slept in my car and various
flea infested hotels from Mahaica to Skeldon, more times than I did at my home
at Versailles, but in the process I researched and learnt more about
transmitting, repeating and receiving signals over these long distances than
most people who have gone to university to study transmission line technology.
For example to set up The Evening News from conception to putting Tommy Rhodes
on the air with the first LIVE newscast from Georgetown to Versailles requiring
a transmitter link from Georgetown to Versailles, took less than 4 months. It
was a walk in the park compared to building the Berbice transmission system. In
the present licensing regulations VCT pays three times more than all other
stations except GTV because we are required to pay for each transmitter
operating in this network.
A lot of people who have
businesses and who advertise only in Georgetown believe that they do not have
to advertise on VCT because of our their High advertising rate since their
businesses are located in the city, they do not go and visit the Berbice car
park daily to see what is happening there, the hundreds if not thousands of
people who use mini buses daily to come from those remote areas to make
purchases in Georgetown. So let me tell the advertisers what is going on, there
are 8 or 9 TV stations transmitting in Georgetown but when citizen from
Mahaicony, Abary, Cane Grove, Bush Lot, Anns grove you name it, come to
Georgetown at least once per week to shop, where do you think that they are
going to make their purchases, they are going to the stores they saw something being
advertised on VCT which is the only viable television signal they can see in
all of the remote areas where they live.
The broadcasters should
not do their own survey, it would be questionable at the very least, so the
business community should come together at least once per year and pay the 1.5
million or so Guyana dollars required to do these surveys, before they go out
and waste the 200 million I estimate they spend per year on television
advertising by placing them where it is not helping them. That is what our
chamber of commerce should be doing for them organizing these important
services for the business community. I Sometimes ask myself what our chamber of
Commerce and our Private Sector Commission do for our business community in
this country. No one I have spoken to can give me an answer. Perhaps some
enterprising young journalist could find out and tell us.