Tony Vieira's Comments
18 October 2017


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(Aired 15 January 2002)

   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 this comment.

   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 advertising.

     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 per viewer.

  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 PM.

    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.