Wednesday, December 2, 2015

So, Viacom International Media Networks Africa is having a Media Day today - but not for everyone. And OgilvyPR invited the press to it less than a day before.

Viacom International Media Networks Africa (VIMN Africa) is having a Media Day today for press and TV critics - but its not for everyone.

VIMN Africa's Media Education Day ironically comes just as VIMN Africa cut BET International from StarSat's channel line-up yesterday without saying a single word about it to any media, and with the very incompetent-looking OgilvyPR inviting media to the "Day" less than 24 hours before the time to this media educational.

Yesterday, literally less than 24 hours before VIMN Africa's Media Day, OgilvyPR invited "a few key media - including yourself!" to its Media Day taking place today at its Viacom Headquarters in Hyde Park, Johannesburg.

I was perplexed.

Who in the world and what PR company or broadcaster invites media at such terrible short notice to something like a "Media Day"?

Only the struggling SABC sends out urgent notifications to the press for press conferences and when it happens its always as part of crisis communication and trying to deflect and minimise some or other scandal type news like astronomical salaries of Generations or some other management drama.

Keep in mind that this isn't public television channels. This is supposed premium TV channels made available on premium pay-TV platforms like MultiChoice's DStv service.

It's perhaps just my (very wrong) perception, but I have this attitude and perception that a TV content supplier like Viacom and its channels like MTV and BET and Nickelodeon should be better and know better and communicate better than what a small community TV channel knows and does.

When I told OgilvyPR's Ashveer Kewalpershad that of course I'm in Cape Town as OgilvyPR knows very well since its their job to know the media and what journalists and publications are about, I was told that, no, its only for Johannesburg press - no Cape Town or Durban or any other journalists covering television nationally.

Uhm. so why the very lame invitation, less than 24 hours before to "key media - including yourself!" when it's not really true or meant for me?

Laziness? Incompetence? Cluelessness? Or a combination of that or just a silly little mistake?

It's really shocking how media companies like VIMN Africa headed up by boss Alex Okosi who runs its operations in South Africa would actually spend money to not build relationships and trust and have a real media connection with press, but actively damage and worsen it.

I don't feel better about Viacom International Media Networks Africa and have more respect for them today. 

Thanks to VIMN Africa and OgilvyPR and the shoddy and unprofessional way they deal with the press what I think today has actively been made worse.

I think less of Viacom in Africa and their level of professionalism that what I thought yesterday before 09:36 in the morning.

So does several other TV critics and journalists covering VIMN Africa, their channels and their content, who all know, all spoke, and all rolled their eyes about today's "Media Day".  

Forget that TV critics and media covering Viacom's channels and programming from MTV Base, BET, MTV, Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and a range of other channels and who are not in Johannesburg are not attending.

It's that I can basically take a big bet that the information shared won't even be distributed to press afterwards who are not there and can't be there.

Last year VIMN Africa did do a similar "upfront" and did do it in Johannesburg and Cape Town (that I did attended). This year ... nothing outside of the Johannesburg educational day.

And to "invite" press but not really "inviting" them is hilariously pathetic.

If that's how a company does business and thinks press management and public relations is going to "improve" its standing with the media, continue on in blissful ignorance.

OgilvyPR said yesterday Alex Okosi "and his team will share their journey of the past 10 years and their vision for the next decade" and give "exclusive insights into behaviour patterns and how the Super Consumer" consumes TV.

Well, maybe this Super Consumer of TV can give some insight to OgilvyPR and VIMN Africa. It is after all apparently an Education Day at Viacom Africa.

It would be this: Perhaps more can be done by VIMN Africa and its PR to improve and properly develop, maintain and grow true media relationships with "key media - including yourself!" in the next 10 years. 

All the brand campaigns and niceties VIMN Africa and any other broadcaster can do or comes up with pales in comparison to actually knowing the media and journalists and TV critics who have an interest in and cover your brands and content and building real relationships with them instead of "one size fits all" fake invitations and emails.

To tell TV critics and media that "you are cordially invited to attend an exclusive Media Education Day" that is totally bogus, does more damage and long-term destruction to Viacom International Media Networks Africa's reputation under the press that what VIMN Africa and OgilvyPR probably even realise.

Over the past 16 years I've covered television and the TV industry in South Africa and I've seen VIMN Africa arrive and expand.

I've seen OgilvyPR arrive and wanting to do "public relations" for television brands like MultiChoice and Viacom (and heaven help us even Domestos whose totally irrelevant media invitations are also sent to me and other TV critics although its not what I'm covering or interested in at all).

TV brands and their PR teams can unlock a greater win-win solution for everybody if they actually care a bit more and bother to actually engage with stakeholders and relevant media and truly get to know them, what they do, and who they are.

Perhaps Viacom Headquarters in Hyde Park and OgilvyPR over the course of the next 10 years ahead can improve a bit on this crucial aspect. 

The "future of television" isn't just a presentation for an Education Day. It also includes building, maintaining and shaping real media relationships in a real world. 

Every day.