Rapid advances in technology and digitization have made consumers of media indecisive and erratic. Media institutions that can easily adapt to these changes in consumer engagement will more likely be able to respond to the needs of their audiences, thus increasing their ability to sustain and develop their organisations during changes in the digital age.
Unfortunately, not many media institutions have been able to adapt quickly in West Africa. According to a research conducted by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), there is little evidence to show that the media in West Africa can deliver "inclusive, participatory, and sustainable development outcomes" during times of change.
The report also indicates that, the fundamental economic and operational models of the media in West Africa have been affected by evolving technological changes and have caused unpredictability and swayed media behaviours.
As the fourth estate, the media is to serve the public interest. To be able to do this, it is crucial to identify and utilize audience mapping data to measure user engagements in order to develop customised content for target audience. It would appear to be an effective fix in enhancing media sustainability. However, according to the report, lack of skills and resources have barred media houses from making an impact across the media landscape in West Africa.
About the Research
The research on media audience mapping and targeting techniques in West Africa is one of three research conducted by the Media Foundation for West Africa to address the challenges and gaps in effective audience mapping and targeting. It is also to respond to the inadequate contextually relevant data/information on critical media development issues in the region. The findings are expected to inform evidence-driven advocacy and action on media development and sustainability in West Africa.