Traditional Media Landscape in Jamaica 

Our little island boasts a variety of strong contenders in the traditional media space, several of which have been documenting Jamaica’s journey since pre-independence.

Traditional Media is dead!” some may say, but let’s take this conversation one step at a time.

Firstly, for those who are still unsure of the meaning:

Now that we know what it is, what’s the tea?

Well, some marketers are concerned that as most audiences have shifted to digital media consumption, the increasing demand for digital marketing is diminishing the value of traditional media.

Let’s take a look at some of Jamaica’s popular traditional media sources. Some readers may have grown up with them. Whether you’re heading to work, school, or even toiling away at home, you’ll encounter some form of local traditional media content.   

Irie FM, RJR94 FM, Mello FM, Kool FM, Zip 103, Love FM, Gospel JA, Nationwide, Fame FM and FYAH 105, are the top ten radio stations in Jamaica. Irie FM is the leading radio station in Jamaica and saw a 5.9% increase in listenership between 2020-2023. It was noted in the early results of the 2023 Jamaica All Media Survey conducted by Market Research Limited (MRSL), that total radio listenership is down by 10% or a total loss of 89,000 listeners between the periods 2018– 2023.

Jamaica’s top television stations are Television Jamaica (TVJ), Community Television Systems Limited, Videomax Limited and Mediamix Limited (CVM TV) and Love TV. 

The 2023 Jamaica All Media Survey showed that, when comparing viewership between the periods 2020– 2023, with a total number of Free-To-Air TV viewership being 763,000, TVJ, though the leading television station in Jamaica, saw a 1.5% decrease in viewership. Meanwhile, CVM TV saw a slight increase at 0.8%, and Love TV saw a 0.7% increase.

In addition, within the same survey, it was revealed that the total potential readership of local newspapers stood at 350,000. Jamaica’s top newspapers are The Gleaner, The Jamaica Observer and The Star, with readership standing at 43.2%, 35.7%, and 21.1% respectively. 

With various ways to distribute ads to the Jamaican public, how do we as advertisers identify which stream is ideal for our brands? 

The diversification of news and entertainment media consumption from traditional to digital raises the question of whether brands should prioritize one format over the other.

The local digital space has seen exponential growth in users over the years. As of February 2022, Jamaica’s total internet users were estimated at 2.03 million, with 68.2% of the total population being internet users. Additionally, the number of active social media users increased by 16.7%. These increases have led various stakeholders in the local ad industry to see greater value in creating and publishing digital content. They now weigh whether digital is more accessible and cost-effective than traditional media. Ted Shelton, the COO of Inflect AI, a digital marketer with over 20 years of experience, points to the vast digital advertising opportunities available for small and medium size companies. He further advises that companies should be prepared to move a substantial amount of their total media spend to digital. Similarly, PQ Media’s 11th annual Global Advertising & Marketing Spending Forecast 2024-2028, reported that global digital & alternative media spending increased by 10.4% to $824.46 billion in 2023, while traditional media spend fell 1.9% to $806.12 billion. 

Digital spending provides real-time analytics and targeted reach, allowing hyper-personalized campaigns. This enables advertisers and marketers to analyze their targets on a greater scale. In contrast, although traditional media is seen as a more credible source of news and information, placement in the traditional space does not guarantee that your target will see the ad. Additionally, it doesn’t allow for immediate consumer feedback and offers limited interactivity.

Hold on…All these numbers and percentages are not to undermine the value of traditional media.

Jamaica’s traditional media have been ingrained in our culture. Most, if not all, Jamaicans grew up watching and listening to these media stations, whether willingly or not.

In an article published by OUR Today in 2023, Desmond Allen, a veteran journalist and former president of the Press Association of Jamaica (PAJ) urged advertisers not to abandon traditional media as it is a credible source of information. Though an immediate source of information, Allen admitted that he doesn’t rely on everything he gets from social media, calling it an information jungle. “Until we reach the point where we can be confident in the information served on social media, we need to protect traditional media,” he stated.

Traditional media also has a wide reach among older audiences who may not be as tech-savvy as their younger counterparts.  The older demographic is also viewed as the ideal group to target with traditional media, as they tend to have greater spending power.  Additionally, traditional media sources offer real-time viewing experience. The 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris will provide an opportunity for traditional media platforms to display their true value through event coverage. Traditional media also offers a long-lasting and tangible presence for brands; newspapers, magazines, brochures and flyers provide a physical form that can be kept over time. Furthermore, traditional media supports strong PR executions that elevate a brand’s image.

We recommend a 360- degree marketing and advertising approach for our clients. This includes both traditional and digital marketing methods, such as television, radio, newspaper, billboards, posters, brochures, social media, email marketing, content marketing, digital display advertising, public relations, events and more. We acknowledge the rapid growth of the digital landscape, but we also believe that we have to understand the brand, who they are targeting and their budgets to recommend the right advertising mix. mPlus readily uses research and data to determine the best traditional and digital strategy needed for each of our clients and we are not afraid to test and make changes mid-execution to improve our strategies to deliver the best advertising experience for our clients’ audience.